Chrysin is a naturally occurring flavonoid, found in certain plants, honey and bee propolis (a resin-like material made by bees) that was once thought to be effective in raising testosterone levels in males.
Chrysin has mainly been used by bodybuilders and athletes due to early claims that it increases the male hormone testosterone, thereby enhancing resistance training and improving results at the gym. Recent studies, however, have concluded that it is not an effective testosterone booster due to its poor absorbability.
Researchers have found that the amount of chrysin absorbed by humans is as low as one percent (1) and that little bit that is absorbed is quickly metabolized.
While this information is disappointing for those seeking a natural way to raise testosterone levels, researchers are investigating this bioflavonoid’s potential for treating other medical conditions. In fact, researchers are studying its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-diabetic, antibacterial and antitumor activities.
Chrysin has chemopreventive properties. A 2015 study published in Toxicology Letters gives researchers early insight into this bioflavonoid’s anticancer activity. In vitro and in vivo animal models have shown that chrysin inhibits cancer growth by promoting cancer cell death, inhibiting angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow) and inhibiting metastasis (the spread of cancer) without harming or causing undesirable side effects to normal cells (2).
This broad spectrum of antitumor activity in conjunction with low toxicity underscores the value of chrysin in cancer therapy.
The results of a 2016 study showed the great potential of chrysin in being able to specifically target colon cancer. Using in vivo and in vitro studies, researchers found that chrysin inhibited the spread of cancer cells and induced cell death. The in vivo test revealed a remarkable reduction in the colon tumor volume in treated mice (in doses of 8, 10 mg.kg -1) as compared to the untreated mice (3).
These findings put chrysin on the radar of researchers as a possible natural agent for the prevention and treatment of human colon cancer. Human clinical trials are necessary to make it clear whether this flavonoid could be proposed as a way to fight colon cancer.
The results of yet another study, published in 2017, also shed light on chrysin’s ability to inhibit the progression of prostate cancer cells (4).
Chrysin induces antidiabetic effects in mice. Experts in the medical community have long known about the dangers of living with diabetes and its complications. Researchers are dedicated to finding treatments to help better manage the disease. The results of a December 2017 study has researchers hopeful that they may be getting that much closer to fighting this disease with the help of chrysin.
A mice diabetic model was developed and used to establish the ability of chrysin to decrease the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (inflammatory chemicals that are higher in people with type 2 diabetes compared to people without diabetes).
At the end of the study it was discovered that not only did chrysin have significant acute antihyperglycemic (blood glucose lowering) and antidiabetic effects, it also reduced triglyceride blood levels in the mice (5).
The researchers concluded that chrysin could produce similar effects as metformin, a drug used for the treatment of diabetes, in being able to decrease glucose and triglycerides levels and impair the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines involved in the development of diabetes and its complications, such as atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases (6).
Chrysin has anti-inflammation properties. Chronic inflammation can cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers, inflammatory bowel diseases, pulmonary diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-inflammatory effect of the chrysin on both acute and chronic inflammation was tested using guinea pigs with carrageenan-induced paw edema.
The results published in the February 2015 issue of International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications revealed that the pigs administered chrysin at 40 mg/kg exhibited significant inhibition in acute and chronic inflammation models, which was comparable with treatment of the standard drug, indomethacin. (7).
Chrysin decreases allergic airway inflammation. In 2012, researchers gathered in the hopes of getting a better understanding of chrysin’s role on airway inflammation in allergic asthma using animal models. Mice were treated with chrysin at a dose of 50 mg/kg daily. Chrysin administration significantly inhibited the total inflammatory cell and total immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels (an increased total IgE level indicates the presence of one or more allegies).
In addition, microscope study of lung tissue demonstrated that chrysin significantly diminished allergen-induced lung eosinophilic inflammation and mucus-producing goblet cells in the airway (8). Mucus overproduction is a major cause of airway obstruction in allergic asthma as well as other lung diseases.
Chrysin may have anti-anxiety effects. In one study, the plant that chrysin comes from, passionflower, was shown to have great anti-anxiety effects. The study was performed on preoperative patients to assess the calming effects as well as any sedation effects. Sixty patients were separated into two groups with each group receiving either oral passiflora incarnata or placebo 90 minutes before surgery.
A numerical rating scale (NRS) was used for each patient to assess anxiety and sedation before, and 10, 30, 60 and 90 minutes after premedication.
The results reveal that the NRS anxiety scores were significantly lower in the passiflora group than in the placebo group. What’s more, there were no significant differences in psychological variables in post-op assessment and recovery of psychomotor function was comparable in both groups.
The researchers concluded that for outpatient surgery, administration of oral passiflora incarnata is an effective way to reduce anxiety without inducing sedation (9).
Chrysin is believed to be possibly safe for most adults when used short-term (up to eight weeks). There are limited human studies available (10).
Special precaution should be taken especially by those with bleeding disorders as chrysin might increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. Using chrysin with medications that slow blood clotting (anticoagulant /antiplatelet drugs) might increase the risk of bleeding.
There is also concern that chrysin might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.
Due to poor absorption, the standard supplemental dose of 400-3,000mg of chrysin is ineffective in raising testosterone levels according to studies. Using chrysin for this intended purpose is therefore not recommended.
Research for the other conditions has been limited to animal studies or very limited human studies, making recommended dosages premature.
Chrysin is a naturally occurring flavonoid obtained from various natural sources that was once thought to be an effective testosterone booster. While studies have shown it to be ineffective in raising testosterone, researchers have found it to be potentially effective in the treatment of a range of other conditions. It has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant and anti-allergic activities.