Tartary buckwheat (Fagopyrum tartaricum) has beneficial effects on blood vessel relaxation. Buckwheat is the main food in one district of Nepal, people in that district have a 25% lower incidence of hypertension in spite of regularly using a salt tea.
Polyphenols are plant chemicals that include phenolic acids and flavonoids, which are antioxidant, antihyperglycemic and antihypertensive. Flavonoids reduce the risk of chronic disease. For example, the flavonoid quercitin has been shown to lower blood pressure in rats. Rutin, a flavonoid found in Tartary buckwheat, has been thought to be responsible for the beneficial effects of buckwheat, although rutin does not lower blood pressure in living animals. Tartary buckwheat is higher in rutin than is common buckwheat.
The goal of this study was to study the vascular effects of a hot water, rutin-free, extract of Tartary buckwheat. Basic, neutral and acidic fractions were studied on strips of rat aorta. To block the effect of nitric oxide (NO), a NO synthase enzyme inhibitor was used, which impaired the relaxation effect of buckwheat.
The acidic fraction of the hot water extract of Tartary buckwheat increased relaxation of the rat aorta blood vessel wall. The amount of relaxation depended on the dose of buckwheat extract. The vascular relaxation was not due to rutin or quercitin.
CONCLUSION: Tartary buckwheat was shown to regulate blood vessel relaxation in a NO pathway dependent manner. The acidic fraction of the hot water extract of Tartary buckwheat was shown to cause blood vessel relaxation. Rutin and quercitin were not found to be the components of buckwheat which have this relaxation effect.
NOTE: Buckwheat is not a grain or a cereal. It is composed of seeds from an herb and can be used as a treatment for hypertension. Flavonoids, including rutin and quercitin, come under the heading of polyphenols, which are ubiquitous in the plant world. Flavonoids are chemicals that are frequently beneficial to our health. Read more about rutin in buckwheat.
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