How Can Palo Azul Help to Promote Healthy Blood Pressure?

Woman measuring blood pressure

"Palo azul reduced blood glucose, body weight and cholesterol" 

Palo azul tea has been used traditionally for maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure. Recent studies have found evidence to support palo azul's effectiveness for these traditional uses, and many of the studies attribute these beneficial properties to flavonoids. 

For example, a 2014 study on palo azul, mentioned that palo azul's antioxidant activity may be attributed to the presence of phenolic and flavonoid compounds." This study concluded that “palo azul reduced the blood glucose, body weight, glycogen, HDL, levels of triglyceride, and cholesterol.”

A 2021 study on palo azul tea similarly concluded that "mice treated with the palo azul extract showed significant decrease in fasting blood glucose level and lipid profile (cholesterol)."

What are flavonoids?

palo azul and fruits with flavonoids

Flavonoids are natural phytonutrients commonly found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and tea such as palo azul. Thousands of studies have found numerous health benefits in flavonoids and these are attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic properties. 

2021 study even found several phytochemicals (polyphenols) in palo azul such as flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, phenolic compounds, chalcones and dihydrochalcones” which have been linked to its health benefits, highlighting “diureticantidiabetic, antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial potential.”

 

1. Lower Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

blood pressure meter

According to the findings of two medical reviews (1) (2) composed of findings from 327 different studies, flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.”

They also found that "dietary flavonoids are associated with a lower risk of hypertension and CVD (cardiovascular disease).” The scientists also observed that “the blood pressure level was reduced in patients with hypertension” after greater consumption of flavonoids. 

Moreover, they found that "flavonoids have miscellaneous favourable biochemical and antioxidant effects associated with various diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and atherosclerosis."

A 2010 study which supports these results, found that "polyphenolic compounds (flavonoids) have demonstrated their inhibitory effects against chronic vascular inflammation associated with atherosclerosis."

palo azul vs cardiovascular disease

This is due to their ability to “inhibit LDL oxidation via a mechanism involving scavenging of free radicals.” The authors of this review established the importance of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by writing that the “oxidative modification of LDL cholesterol is thought to play a key role during atherosclerosis."

2009 study explains the biological mechanisms of flavonoids in atherosclerosis:

“Flavonoids have been reported to beneficially impact parameters associated with atherosclerosis, including lipoprotein oxidation, blood platelet aggregation, and vascular reactivity. Flavonoids inhibit LDL oxidation via a mechanism involving scavenging of free radicals.”

What is lipoprotein oxidation, blood platelet aggregation and vascular reactivity?

blood platelets

Lipoprotein oxidation triggers inflammation leading to the formation of plaque in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Oxidized LDL may also play a role in increasing the amount of triglycerides the body produces, as well as increasing the amount of fat deposited by the body.

Blood platelet aggregation measures how well platelets, a part of blood, clump together and cause blood to clot.

Vascular reactivity is broadly defined as the responsiveness of a blood vessel to a specific stimulus.

In other words...flavonoids can help to lower cholesterol, fat storage, decrease blood clots, and improve blood flow because of their ability to scavenge free radicals. 

oxidative stress

A medical review similarly concluded the following: “Flavonoids can prevent injury caused by free radicals in various ways and one way is the direct scavenging of free radicals. This action protects the LDL particles and, theoretically, flavonoids may have preventive action against atherosclerosis.”

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.

free radicals and oxidative stress formation

This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases. 

 

2. Improve Endothelial Function

heart blood pressure

A medical review which analyzed 161 studies found that “consumption of flavonoids is associated with improvement in endothelial function via vascular endothelial nitric oxide synthase and protein kinase B (Akt) activation.”

2012 study which found similar mechanisms as the 2009 study explains the following:
“Studies have indicated the protective effects of flavonoids in cardiovascular diseases and these chemicals possess the bioactivity to positively affect against cardiovascular risk factors such as lipoprotein oxidation, dyslipidemia and endothelial dysfunction.

Dyslipidemia is elevation of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. This essentially means that flavonoids can promote healthy cholesterol levels.

What is endothelial dysfunction?

palo azul vs endothelial dysfunction or clogged arteries

The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction, as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion.

Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to be important in predicting stroke and heart attacks due to the inability of the arteries to dilate completely. Dysfunction can result from high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking.

2020 study explains that "endothelial function is a metric that reflects the production of endothelium-derived messengers that control vascular tone, blood flow, immune cell activity and adhesion, all of which play a role in regulating blood pressure." In other words...Healthy endothelial function = Cardiovascular health.

blood pressure meter

In fact, the researchers mention that "most markers of inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular risk are connected to endothelial function." Interestingly, they also said that "endothelial dysfunction is the first diagnosable clinical correlate of atherosclerosis."

Moreover, they state that "endothelial dysfunction is an early predictor of cardiovascular events or mortality since most cardiovascular diseases are connected to atherosclerosis, which in turn is directly associated with endothelial dysfunction." 

palo azul and fruits flavonoids

Finally, a 2009 study concluded that “continued studies of the mechanisms underlying the biological effects of plant flavonoids may provide new strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.”

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, palo azul's flavonoids may help to promote healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, decrease fat storage, as well as improve endothelial function and vascular reactivity. This is due to its antioxidant activity, which allows it to inhibit oxidative stress and scavenge free radicals, thereby supporting cardiovascular health.


magiktea palo azul logo

Show your endothelium some love...
And stop lipoprotein oxidation! 😉
 

Clinical Studies

* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce

 

(October 2021) Minocycline-Derived Silver Nanoparticles for Assessment of Their Antidiabetic Potential against Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Mice

(August 2021) Screening Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Flavanones Solutions

(2013) (Medical review: 166 studies) Chemistry and Biological Activities of Flavonoids: An Overview

(2016) (Medical Review: 161 studies) Flavonoids: an overview 

(2014) Evaluation of antidiabetic, antioxidant and antiglycating activities of the Eysenhardtia polystachya

(2010) Polyphenols and Aging

(2009) Chapter 18 -  Flavonoids and Cardiovascular Health