Atherosclerosis inhibited by barley grass

Possible inhibition of atherosclerosis by a flavonoid isolated from young barley leaves.

Miyake, T., Hagiwara, Y., Hagiwara, H., Shibamoto, T. 1998. Am. Chem. Soc. Symp. Series 702.

Background:  While it has been known for a long time that young green barley leaves contained antioxidative, antiinflammatory, antimutagenic, and antiallergic activities, these activities were not very well characterized and scientists and doctors did not know which of the hundreds of plant chemicals were responsible for these activities.  This chapter describes the characterization of one of these natural substances, 2″-O-glycosylisovitexin (2″-O-CIV), a flavenoid extracted from young green barley leaves.

Laboratory Studies:  These researchers looked into the antioxidant properties of 2”-O-CIV because these are believed to be very important in preventing heart and vascular disease by preventing the oxidation of fats in the blood—these oxidized fats are involved in the development of atherosclerosis and other types of heart disease.  Antioxidants are also important in the prevention of cancer and other diseases as well.
The researchers compared how much 2”-O-CIV from young green barley leaves slowed down the process of oxidation and compared it to how much a drug used to treat atherosclerosis, Probucol, slowed down the oxidation process.   They also compared 2”-O-CIV to Vitamin C, another natural antioxidant.

Conclusions: These researchers concluded that 2”-O-CIV was comparable to the drug, Probucol inhibiting the oxidation process—that is, acting as antioxidants.  They also found that 2”-O-CIV worked with Vitamin C so that together, these two natural products were better antioxidants than either one alone.  The researchers also commented on the side effects of the Probucol and that these sorts of side effects were less likely with natural products like2”-O-CIV.