Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Orientin Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

The medicinal power of plants has played a significant role in human health for thousands of years. Many plants, including cannabis, get their antioxidant properties from flavonoids, which protect the plant from environmental elements like UV rays, bacteria, and insects. 

One flavonoid prevalent in cannabis, bamboo leaves, and various teas is orientin. Its impact as an antioxidant extends into numerous human therapeutic benefits, helping fight inflammation, viruses, infections, and even cancer. 

Here’s everything you need to know about orientin and what it brings to your favorite cannabis strains.

What Do Flavonoids Like Orientin Do for Plants and Humans?

Flavonoids affect many plant species' flavor, pigment, and aroma, including fruits, herbs, vegetables, and cannabis. 

The name “flavonoid” comes from the Latin word “flavus,” meaning yellow. It hints at how orientin and other flavonoids give flowers, plants, and cannabis strains their various hues, particularly shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and purples. 

In nature, the aroma, taste, and color effects from flavonoids serve essential purposes in the plant’s growth and development, such as:

  • Attracting pollinator insects
  • Capturing certain light wavelengths
  • Protection from UV rays, bacteria, and fungi
  • Regulating the cellular cycle
  • Defending against herbivores and insects

In cannabis, each strain has different ratios of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that lend unique characteristics and interactions with the body. Specifically, flavonoids play an essential role in the “entourage effect,” a term for how cannabis compounds work together with the body’s endocannabinoid system to give every cannabis strain its distinguishing qualities, such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, sleepiness, and euphoric effects.

While not essential for humans, flavonoids like orientin are potent antioxidants and antibacterial agents, and incorporating these compounds into our diets has antibiotic effects. Flavonoids can also reduce free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can damage cells, lowering disease risk.

What Is Orientin?

Orientin is a flavonoid commonly found in cannabis, tea plants, bamboo leaves, basil, and various flowers and shrubs. It has a sharp, bitter taste, like darker herbal teas. Although orientin doesn’t offer as much pigmentation as other flavonoids, it adds a slight brown color to plants. Orientin’s vaporizing point is 816 degrees C. 

Orientin is a potent antioxidant compound with antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Traditional Chinese medicine utilized bamboo leaves and yellow- and orange-hued Trollius flowers containing orientin for respiratory infections and bronchitis. Passion flowers containing orientin were also popular as calming agents that people used for stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Antioxidant and Anti-Aging Properties of Orientin

Orientin’s electron affinity for eliminating free radicals reduces oxidative stress, maintaining a healthy balance of antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants then inhibit further free radical formation, preventing premature aging and disease. 

  • In a mice study, a 40 mg dose of orientin had the same antioxidant capacity as vitamin E, giving it anti-aging effects.
  • An in vitro study showed orientin effectively reduced free radicals and protected cells from harmful agents. 

Anti-Cancer Properties of Orientin

As an extension of its antioxidant effects, orientin has cancer cell-fighting properties. 

  • A study on Trigonella hamosa, a wild ornamental plant known as an anti-cancer agent, showed that the plant’s orientin compounds suppressed the proliferation of cancer cells and controlled cell migration and invasive properties. 

Orientin and Inflammation

Orientin also shows promise to counteract inflammation, the immune system’s response to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, and toxic compounds. 

  • Studies in mice showed orientin could be a strong therapeutic agent for treating vascular inflammatory diseases.

Orientin as an Antibiotic

Orientin has noticeable antiviral and antibacterial benefits and shows promise in creating future antibiotics. 

  • A study investigating Trollius chinensis in treating upper respiratory infections showed that orientin isolated from the flowers had potent antiviral activity against parainfluenza. Scientists even looked at orientin as a potential drug to treat Covid-19
  • A mixture of orientin and other flavonoids inhibited a Herpes virus type, showing potential in developing new antiviral agents for drug-resistant diseases. 

‍Orientin and Heart Health

Animal studies indicate Orientin can boost heart health and protect from risk factors for congestive heart failure. 

  • A rabbit study on orientin isolated from bamboo leaves showed it relaxed vascular contractions and could clear vascular pathways.  
  • A study on rats with poor blood oxygen circulation showed orientin reduced heart cell death. 

What Foods Are High in Orientin?

‍Orientin is abundant in cannabis and other plants, including bamboo leaves, passion flower, Tulsi, and Bellyache Bush. Foods with higher orientin levels include:

  • Rooibos, green, black, and oolong teas
  • Açaí palm
  • Basil
  • Buckwheat sprouts

Orientin also occurs in smaller amounts in:

  • Flour
  • Wild rice
  • Corn
  • Quinoa

How to Consume Cannabis to Get the Most Orientin Absorbed into Your Body

Consuming raw cannabis or cold-pressed extract added to smoothies, salads, or juiced, is the best way to get the most flavonoids, which exist primarily in the leaves, flower, pollen, and stems.

Hemp and cannabis strains prominently featuring orientin are harder to come by. However, some studies show that CBD-dominant strains tend to have higher amounts of flavonoids such as orientin, vitexin, and isovitexin. 

How Often Should I Take Orientin?

Orientin and other flavonoids are non-toxic and natural. Research shows extracting orientin and applying it in higher doses displays powerful antibacterial, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, heart-boosting, and potential cancer-fighting effects. 

While there is no established optimal dose or daily limit for orientin and other flavonoids, getting potent antioxidants like orientin into the system via cannabis and teas can have many positive benefits. 

The Bottom Line

Orientin is a potent antioxidant in many plants used throughout history to fight bacteria and respiratory infections, such as bamboo leaves, rooibos tea, and cannabis. Modern research shows it can fight free radicals and help prevent disease, aging, inflammation, heart issues, and cancer. 

We test for 16 flavonoids at ACS Laboratory, including orientin. As a CLIA-licensed laboratory, we can perform human trials on the bioavailability of these flavonoids, which is an integral part of pharmacokinetics, the study of drug movement through the body. These studies allow us to draw conclusions based on actual science and not just anecdotal research.

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