Cancer-Preventing Compounds in the Red Maple Leaves (Acer rubrum)

Disclaimer: The findings discussed are lab based and further studies need to be done.

There are currently many known benefits of sap inside of the maple tree, which is used to make maple syrup. But what about the health benefits of utilizing other parts of the maple tree? Several researchers at the University of Rhode Island looked for additional health benefits beyond just the sap by analyzing red maple leaves and flowers from maple trees right on the URI Kingston campus. 

With great success, 25 cancer-preventing compounds, called phenolics, were found from the red maple flowers and leaves. These findings hopefully can be a foundation for more food products to incorporate maple leaf and flower extracts. And, this is the first time that maple flowers have been analyzed so this discovery is cutting-edge in maple syrup research. Yet, detecting these health benefits in the flowers and leaves is no surprise. Historically, the Indigenous people in the North American region used these parts of the red maple tree as natural medicines. 

The maple tree seems to be full of hidden gems. The more we look, the more positive health benefits there are to find! What else could be in maple trees that we don’t know about yet?

Reference: Zhang, Y.; Ma, H.; Yuan, T.; Seeram, N.P. Natural Products Communications, 2015, 10, 1409-1412.