· Africa). On cooking, red cabbage will normally turn

·         It is one of the richest sources of cyanidin which are known to have anticancer, wound healing and anti-allergic effects.







Part from plant source: Bilberry is a subshrub with coriaceous leaves.

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The cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton) :





·         It founds in the United States and Canada, is commonly consumed as juice cocktail, juice, and other product forms (capsules, tablets, etc.) to treat and prevent urinary tract infection.

·         It contains large amounts of cyanidin.


Part from plant source: fresh fruit of cranberry is rich in cyanidin.


European elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) :



European elder is a tree native to Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, and it also grows in the United States. The name “elder” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “aeld,” meaning fire. The terms “elder flower” and “elderberry” may refer to either European elder or a different herb called American elder. This fact sheet focuses only on European elder.
Various parts of the elder tree, including the bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots, have long been used in traditional medicine.
Currently, elderberry and elder flower are used as dietary supplements for flu, colds, constipation, and other conditions.
The dried flowers (elder flower) and the dried ripe or fresh berries (elderberry) of the European elder tree are used in teas, extracts, and capsules.

Part from plant source: Ripe fruit of cranberry is rich in cyanidin.


Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea):




·         It can be found in Northern Europe, throughout the Americas, and in China (and especially in Africa). On cooking, red cabbage will normally turn blue. To retain the red color it is necessary to add vinegar or acidic fruit to the pot.


Part from plant source: Red cabbage (reddish-purple in nature) is a source of novel cyanidin glycosides


Other dietary sources include chokeberries, boysenberries, purple vegetables (such as carrots and yams), black raspberries, and Hibiscus sabdariffa extract. Basically, dark blue to purple colored plants. Interestingly, the darker than normal color in blood oranges relative to normal oranges is due to cyanidin compounds.


N.B: The highest concentrations of cyanidin are found in the skin of the fruit.


1. Pharmacological activity:


1.1.  Antioxidant

Cyanidin and its glycosides are very strong antioxidants and are active at pharmacological concentrations. The antioxidant activity is stronger than that of vitamin E, vitamin C and resveratrol and similar to other commercial antioxidants. Cyanidin quickly neutralizes reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide, reactive oxygen and hydroxyl radical.


1.2.  Diabetes

Cyanidin may have benefits for the prevention of obesity and diabetes. Cyanidin rich extracts significantly reduced the boy weight gain of mice fed with a high fat diet. Cyanidin reduces blood glucose level and improves insulin sensitivity due to the reduction of retinol binding protein 4 expression in type 2 diabetic mice.




1.3.  Anti-toxic

Cyanidin has antitoxic effect against mycotoxins. Cyandin reduces DNA fragmentation and oxidative damage by aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A.


1.4.  Anti-inflammatory

Cyanidin from cherries alleviates arthritis in an animal model and reduces the serum level of malonaldehyde, which is a biomarker to measure the level of oxidative stress. It have important implications for the prevention of nitric oxide mediated inflammatory diseases.


1.5.  Anti-cancer

The anti-cancer and anti-mutagenic properties of this anthocyanin are directly linked to its antioxidant properties. In-vivo and in-vitro studies are linking cyanidin to a reduced risk of leukemia, lung cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer and prostate cancer. Cyanidin induces cancer cell apoptosis, reduces oxidative damage to DNA, inhibits cell growth and decreases cancer cell proliferation.


1.6.  Heart health

Endothelial dysfunction causes the development of atherosclerosis, which can result in heart health problems, including stroke and heart attacks. Cyanidin increases the levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and heme oxygenase in a dose-dependent manner and inhibits the formation of reactive oxygen species induced by platelet-derived growth factor, a protein which has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis.


1.7.  Skin protection

Cyanidin might successfully be employed for skin protection. Ultraviolet radiation of the skin tissue causes production of reactive oxygen species, resulting in oxidative stress, cell damage and eventual cell death or skin cancer.


1.8.  Ischemia-reperfusion protection

The strong antioxidant capacity of cyanidin can be beneficial in conditions of increased oxidative stress, such as during a myocardial ischemia, cerebral ischemia or liver ischemia. Myocardial ischemia is a disease characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle, usually due to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.













2.    Mechanism of action

Fig. 1 The mechanism of action of cyanidin


As shown in Fig. 1, cyanidin is acted by:


1.      It had a protective effect on DNA cleavage, a dose-dependent free radical scavenging activity and significant inhibition of xanthine oxidase activity.

2.      It has ability to reduce the production of ROS, and the inhibition of protein and DNA synthesis caused by aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin A in a human hepatoma cell line and a human colonic adenocarcinoma cell line.

3.      Ant edema activity.

4.      It decreases capillary permeability and fragility so it participates the collage of vascular walls in the control of permeability of that wall and inhibits proteolytic collagen degradation enzymes (elastase and collagenase).

5.      It increases regeneration of (visual purple) or rhodopsin.

6.      It reduces body fat accumulation induced by fats. This effect was probably due to suppression of lipid synthesis in the liver and in white adipose tissue.

7.      It has anti diabetic effects. It inhibits elevation of blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity

8.      It delays the onset of decline of neural functions and improves cognitive and motor performance .The effects through inhibition of neuroinflammatory mediators. i












4. Methods of isolation and identification


  4.1. Isolation of cyanidin fraction


The preparative high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)

preparative column 10 mm, 250 mm ´ 20 mm; mobile phase: 0–260 min, 0–10 % B in A (A= 10 % formic acid in water, B = 10 % formic acid in MeOH, followed by 10 % B in A for 30 min; flow rate 20 mL min–1) of the methanolic extract of R. bierberstinii resulted in the isolation of five cyanidin glycosides, 3-O-sambubiosyl-5-O-glucosyl cyanidin (1, 50.6 mg, tR = 178.0 min), cyanidin 3-O-sambubioside (2, 5.1 mg, tR = 215.0 min), cyanidin 3-O- -glucoside (3, 10.8 mg, tR = 226.3 min), cyanidin 3-O-(2G-xylosyl)-rutinoside (4, 9.3 mg, tR = 238.6 min) and cyanidin 3-O-rutinoside (5, 5.7 mg, tR = 279.1 min).

Acidic hydrolysis

Purified anthocyanin mixture (3 mg) was dissolved in a minimum amount of acidified

MeOH (3 mol L–1 HCl). The test tube was placed in a boiling water bath for 1 h. The

cooled solution was divided into two parts and the solvent was evaporated with a rotary-evaporator. One of the solutions was treated with acidic MeOH for identification of

genins and the other with water for identification of glycones by thin layer chromatography (TLC). TLC analyses of genins and glycones were performed using the solvent system butanol/acetic acid/water (4:1:5) (BAW) and microcrystalline cellulose as a stationary phase. Detection of glycones was carried out using aniline-hydrogen phthalate reagent.

Alkaline hydrolysis

Ethanol (2 mL) was added to 2 mg of purified anthocyanins. The test tube was

flushed with nitrogen and capped. The solution was saponified with 10 mL, 2 mol L–1

NaOH for 2 h in the dark at r. t. After neutralization of the solution with 2 mL of 2 mol

L–1 HCl, it was decanted using diethyl ether (5 mL). For identification of probable acyls

linked to anthocyanin structure, the ether phase was examined. Aqueous phase was

used for identification of anthocyanins. The TLC of two phases was carried out using

Peroxide hydrolysis

This procedure is specific for sugars on the C-3 position of cyanidins. Approximately

2 mg of anthocyanin pigment was dissolved in MeOH and treated dropwise with

3 % peroxide solution until the pigment was bleached. After addition of conc. ammonia

solution (1 mL), the mixture was concentrated, spotted on a microcrystalline cellulose

TLC plate together with reference sugar solution and developed for sugars.Chromatography was carried out using BAW (4:1:5) and microcrystalline cellulose. Mono-, di- and tri-glycosides would be removed intact from C-3 and could be identified with appropriate reference sugars.


  4.2. Identification of cyanidin


·         It formed colored complexes with salts of many heavy metals.

·         Chromatography is valuable technique for detection of cyanidin, and paper chromatographic method s in quantities as small as 10ug gives elution of spots from chromatogram.

·         Gravimetric procedure spectrophotometric analysis of cyanidin has been also described.

·         Thin layer chromatography on silica gel for detection of cyanidin by UV spectrophotometric. It measured at 273 nm.

·         HPLC separation or identification of cyanidin has been developed utilizing reversed phase systems with either C-18 or C-8 columns and moving phases of combination of acetic acid, water, methanol and acetonitrile.  


5. Example of cyanidin in pharmacy:


1.         Bio-Cyanidins Tables.




Brand: Biotics Research

Uses: Bleeding, bruising, periodontal disease, bleeding gums, thin skin, loss of elasticity, weak capillaries.

   Dosage:   1 – 2 tabs, 2 – 3 times daily

   Side effects: It can cause some side effects including headache, flushing, rashes, or stomach      upset.

   Special Precautions & Warnings:

   Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of       taking cyanidin if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.



    Cyanidin in a nutrition rich in fruits and vegetables are linked with a reduce hazard of inflammation-related chronic diseases. However, guide that cyanidins are safe, multitargeted, effective , and affordable desire then investigations. It remains unknown what amount of it is necessary and for how long time and if it is greater to consume food with cyanidin or if supplements will suffice as well.