Niacin is a naturally occurring nutrient known as vitamin B3.
This vitamin supports and protects the nervous system, regulates blood circulation, and is essential for metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates.
Receiving adequate amounts of niacin is crucial for overall health and wellness.
In this article, we’ll review a list of herbs high in niacin as well as the health benefits of niacin.
Table of Contents
Niacin is a water-soluble B vitamin found in plants, grains, animals, and dairy. It is essential for optimal human health.
As one of the eight B vitamins, niacin plays a critical role in energy production, neuron health, and DNA production and repair.
Niacin deficiency can lead to various health complications, like pellagra, skin and gastrointestinal issues, brain fog, headaches, and behavioral changes.
Since niacin is water-soluble, the body doesn’t store the molecule in the body. Given this information, it’s crucial to ingest plants, foods, and herbs high in niacin to prevent complications and benefit from its numerous properties.
Herbs High in Niacin:
Below is a list of herbs high in niacin. Add these to your diet to improve your daily niacin intake.
1. Chili Pepper (Capsicum frutescens)
Chili pepper is a revered fruit in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. This spicy, hot herb has a rich culinary history and is famous for its antioxidant and high vitamin C content.
The chili pepper thrives in tropical climates and often grows in various colors, like red, yellow, and orange. In addition to the intense flavor that chili peppers add to culinary cuisine, the fruit is known for its circulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.
Research shows that chili peppers contain various health benefits, like cardiovascular, digestive, and antimicrobial support.
It’s estimated that 1g of chili pepper powder contains 0.11mg of niacin. Given this information, consuming a well-rounded diet of niacin-rich herbs and foods is best to satisfy sufficient niacin levels.
Chili peppers are frequently powdered and used in the kitchen. However, they can also be infused in oil and enjoyed in various dishes or rubbed on the skin for potential pain relief.
Summary:Chili pepper, a niacin rich food, shows evidence of cardiovascular, digestive, and antimicrobial benefits.
2. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is an herb used heavily in the kitchen and for therapeutic purposes. It has a sweet and spicy flavor that’s well-loved all around the world.
Research suggests ginger may aid digestion, reduce nausea, improve circulation, and ease inflammation. It may also relieve pain for people managing joint issues and menstruation complications.
Ginger and the supportive herb turmeric are often included in the popular therapeutic beverage golden milk.
It’s estimated that 1g of ground ginger contains .09 mg of niacin, making ginger a great source of vitamin B3.
Popular ginger dishes include soup, stir-fries, candied ginger, and marinades. Ginger can be administered as a tea, tincture, or capsule supplement.
Summary:Beyond having a high niacin content, ginger may work to benefit digestion, decrease nausea, promote circulation, and have anti-inflammatory effects.
3. Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Tarragon is an herb in the Asteraceae, or daisy family that is known as the
“king of the herbs” because it can elevate any dish. This perennial, aromatic plant is high in minerals, like magnesium and calcium, and is known for its licorice smell.
Research shows that tarragon may have antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It is also known to support bone and cardiovascular health.
1g of dried tarragon is estimated to contain .08mg of niacin.
Tarragon is commonly used as a spice in culinary cuisine but can also be consumed as a tea.
Summary:Niacin rich tarragon is thought to possess benefits for depression, inflammation, and have antimicrobial effects.
4. Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel is highly-revered for its rich history of culinary and therapeutic use. It is a hardy perennial herb in the Apiaceae or carrot family.
The seeds are popular in various cuisines and for digestive issues, while the leaves are known for their high levels of antioxidants and may reduce inflammation and support the heart.
It’s estimated that 1g of fennel leaves contains .06 mg of niacin.
Fennel seed can be enjoyed in culinary dishes and also consumed as a tea. Chewing on a few seeds before or after a meal may support digestive health.
Summary:Besides being one of the best niacin rich foods, fennel seeds have also been found to aid the digestive system.
5. Sage (Sativa officinalis)
Sage is a common kitchen herb native to the Mediterranean region; however, it has also been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. It belongs to the Lamiaceae or mint family, along with herbs like rosemary and lavender.
This aromatic, hardy herb has soft leaves and an earthy fragrance and is often incorporated with rich foods to promote digestion. Research shows that sage has antimicrobial and brain-supportive properties.
Sage is rich in other minerals, like potassium.
1g of sage is estimated to contain .05 mg of niacin.
Sage can be enjoyed fresh or dried and sprinkled in with butter, root vegetables, and meat-heavy dishes. It can also be used therapeutically in tea, extracts, or mouthwash.
Summary:Sage, an herb with a high niacin content, also shows evidence of supporting digestion, promoting brain function, and possessing antimicrobial activity.
6. Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Often referred to as French parsley, chervil is a famous French cuisine herb used medicinally for thousands of years.
Chervil has a subtle anise taste. The leaves and roots are used in cooking, while the young, fresh leaves are used therapeutically.
Research shows that chervil may help to settle the stomach, alleviate skin conditions, reduce blood pressure, and act as an antioxidant. It is also rich in zinc.
It’s estimated that 1g of chervil contains .05 mg of niacin.
Chervil can be enjoyed in soups, poultry dishes, herbed butter, and salad. Therapeutically, chervil is best consumed as a tea or in extract form.
Summary:Niacin rich chervil has been found to benefit the stomach, the skin, circulation, and work as an antioxidant.
Health Benefits of Niacin:
Niacin, or vitamin B3, is naturally found in many plant and animal sources and can be created from the amino acid tryptophan. Humans are able to absorb this vitamin when we consume plants and herbs high in niacin and can produce niacin internally from tryptophan.
Other names for niacin incluse nicotinic acid or nicotinamide.
One of the primary niacin benefits is its ability to support the nervous system by protecting and supporting neurons through their life cycle (development, survival, and cell death).
Niacin is almost fully absorbed into the bloodstream by the small intestines and stomach, so niacin deficiency is rare in industrialized countries.
Food sources of niacin include red meat, poultry, fish, brown rice, nuts, legumes, seeds, and bananas. Since the body can also convert the amino acid tryptophan into niacin, foods like dairy, oats, and chocolate are also beneficial.
Research shows that niacin supports energy and DNA production, regulates cholesterol levels, has antioxidant effects, protect against neurodegenerative diseases, and reduces blood pressure.
Vitamin B3 deficiency may result in a health condition called pellagra, a systemic issue that causes mental confusion, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and skin sores, and may lead to death.
Since niacin is water-soluble, the body easily absorbs it into the bloodstream. However, high water solubility means niacin is easily excreted and not stored in the body. This makes it important to eat vitamin B3 rich foods and herbs on daily basis.
Your daily niacin requirements differ based on your gender, age, and whether or not you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Niacin is measured in milligrams (mg) and niacin equivalents (NE). 1mg equals 1NE.
Below is a helpful chart.
|Age Group||RDA (mg or NE/day)|
|Men (19+ years)||15 – 20 NE/mg|
|Women (19+ years)||13 – 15 NE/mg|
|Children||8 – 15 NE/mg|
|Pregnant Women||18 NE/mg|
|Breastfeeding Women||17 NE/mg|
It is important to note that these are the recommended daily allowances, which are the minimum amount of a nutrient a person needs to avoid a deficiency. Some individuals may need more or less depending on their needs and health conditions.
Supplementing with herbs high in niacin may prevent detrimental health issues and support the nervous and circulatory systems.
Since the body absorbs high amounts of ingested niacin, consuming plants, foods, and herbs rich in niacin will support numerous health functions.
While niacin supplements are available and sufficient, it will benefit the body to consume a well-rounded diet of natural niacin sources to receive a full spectrum of benefits.
Do you have a favorite niacin herb? Let us know!
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