Carnosic acid is a natural benzenediol abietane diterpene found in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and common sage (Salvia officinalis). Dried leaves of rosemary or sage contain 1.5 to 2.5% carnosic acid.
Carnosic acid is a phytochemical, sometimes referred to as benzenediol abietane diterpene, a natural, disease-fighting compound found in certain plants. The common herbs rosemary and sage contain it. Experts consider the substance as an antioxidant and believe it inhibits the activity of disease-causing free radicals, especially in the brain. It might also have other health benefits, such improving nerve function, helping with weight management, and increasing blood flow.In addition, it can increase the production of glutathione, another important antioxidant that protects cells in the brain and elsewhere in the body against free radical damage.
The protective effects of carnosic acid result primarily from a unique condition of the chemical that researchers are terming “pathological-activated therapeutic.” Carnosic acid does not randomly target free radicals in the brain until they start to cause damage, at which time carnosic acid becomes active to prevent and even reverse the damage to neurological cells. This feature is advantageous because the body actually needs a small number of free radicals to kill invading microbes and other dangerous substances, so it is not desirable to kill every free radical in the body. Consuming too many antioxidants may be detrimental, as it eliminates too many free radicals, and the body is left without a means to effectively destroy harmful microbes. Since carnosic acid waits until free radical damage activates its protective responses, it is the ideal defense against free radicals.
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