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Rutin

What Should I Know About It?

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Updated August 01, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Rutin is a natural substance found in a number of plants and foods, including buckwheat, black tea, apple peels, onion, citrus, and tobacco. Also available in supplement form, rutin contains quercetin (an antioxidant shown to reduce inflammation aand offer a range of health benefits). Proponents claim that rutin supplements can help treat certain health conditions by strengthening the blood vessels.

Health Benefits of Rutin:

To date, research on the health effects of rutin supplements is very limited and often dated. However, some studies suggest that rutin may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at some key study findings:

1) Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Rutin may be of some benefit to people with chronic venous insufficiency, according to a small study published in the journal Minerva Cardioangiologica in 2001. Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the legs to the heart, and is linked to health problems like varicose veins, ankle swelling, and nighttime leg cramping.

For the study, 30 patients with chronic venous insufficiency were assigned to either a control group or treatment with a combination of rutin, alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), sweet clover, and gotu kola. After 30 days, members of the treatment group showed significant improvement in symptoms (such as swelling and cramps). However, it's unknown whether rutin might be beneficial in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency when consumed on its own.

2) Varicose Veins in Pregnancy

Rutoside (a compound found in rutin) may help treat varicose veins in pregnant women, according to a 2007 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. In their analysis of three previously published clinical trials (including a total of 159 women), scientists determined that rutoside appears to help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins in late pregnancy. However, the review's authors note that there is not enough data to assess the safety of using rutoside during pregnancy.

Related: Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins.

3) Arthritis

Rutoside shows promise in the treatment of arthritis, suggests a 2008 study from Arthritis Research & Therapy. In tests on rats, researchers found that rutoside helped fight inflammation and, in turn, reduce clinical signs of arthritis.

See additional remedies for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis remedies.

4) Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Preliminary research indicates that rutin may help treat inflammatory bowel disease (such as colitis). In a study published in Life Sciences, tests on rats revealed that rutoside may help reduce colonic tissue damage caused by colitis.

Common Uses for Rutin

Rutin supplements are touted as a natural remedy for a number of health conditions that affect the blood vessels, including hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

In addition, rutin is purported to prevent stroke and heart disease. Some people also use rutin to treat arthritis.

Is Rutin Safe?

Rutin is generally considered safe when consumed in the amounts found naturally in foods like citrus, onions, and apples. However, rutin supplements may cause certain side effects, including headache, rashes, and upset stomach.

Little is known about the safety of long-term use of rutin supplements.

Where to Find Rutin Supplements:

Available for purchase online, rutin supplements are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Should You Use Rutin for Health Purposes?

If you're considering the use of rutin in treatment of a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician. It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with rutin and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Sources

Bamigboye AA, Smyth R. "Interventions for varicose veins and leg oedema in pregnancy." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Jan 24;(1):CD001066.

Cataldi A, Gasbarro V, Viaggi R, Soverini R, Gresta E, Mascoli F. "Effectiveness of the combination of alpha tocopherol, rutin, melilotus, and centella asiatica in the treatment of patients with chronic venous insufficiency." Minerva Cardioangiol. 2001 Apr;49(2):159-63.

Cruz T, Gálvez J, Ocete MA, Crespo ME, Sánchez de Medina L-H F, Zarzuelo A. "Oral administration of rutoside can ameliorate inflammatory bowel disease in rats." Life Sci. 1998;62(7):687-95.

Kauss T, Moynet D, Rambert J, Al-Kharrat A, Brajot S, Thiolat D, Ennemany R, Fawaz F, Mossalayi MD. "Rutoside decreases human macrophage-derived inflammatory mediators and improves clinical signs in adjuvant-induced arthritis." Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(1):R19.

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