Can certain herbs stave off Alzheimer's disease?

November 15, 2013

Enhanced extracts made from special antioxidants in spearmint and rosemary improve learning and memory, a study in an animal model at Saint Louis University found.

"We found that these proprietary compounds reduce deficits caused by , which can be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease," said Susan Farr, Ph.D., research professor geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Farr added, "This probably means eating spearmint and rosemary is good for you. However, our experiments were in an and I don't know how much – or if any amount – of these herbs people would have to consume for learning and to improve. In other words, I'm not suggesting that people chew more gum at this point."

Farr presented the early findings at Neuroscience 2013, a meeting of 32,000 on Monday, Nov. 11. She tested a novel antioxidant-based ingredient made from spearmint extract and two different doses of a similar antioxidant made from rosemary extract on mice that have age-related cognitive decline.

She found that the higher dose rosemary extract compound was the most powerful in improving memory and learning in three tested behaviors. The lower dose rosemary extract improved memory in two of the behavioral tests, as did the compound made from spearmint extract.

Further, there were signs of reduced oxidative stress, which is considered a hallmark of age-related decline, in the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.

"Our research suggests these extracts made from herbs might have beneficial effects on altering the course of age-associated cognitive decline," Farr said. "It's worth additional study."

Explore further: New compound inhibits cognitive impairment in animal models of Alzheimer's disease

Related Stories

New compound inhibits cognitive impairment in animal models of Alzheimer's disease

November 13, 2013
The novel compound IRL-1620 may be useful in treating Alzheimer's disease (AD) as it has been shown to prevent cognitive impairment and oxidative stress in animal models. This research is being presented at the 2013 American ...

Rosemary aroma may help you remember to do things

April 9, 2013
The aroma of rosemary essential oil may improve prospective memory in healthy adults. This is the finding of a study conducted by Jemma McCready and Dr Mark Moss from the University of Northumbria. The findings presented ...

Postoperative pain may increase risk of temporary problems with learning, memory

November 6, 2013
The pain caused by a surgical incision may contribute to the risk of postoperative cognitive dysfunction, a sometimes transient impairment in learning and memory that affects a small but significant number of patients in ...

Intranasal insulin improves cognitive function in patients with type 2 diabetes

November 13, 2013
In recent years, the link between type 2 diabetes and dementia has become widely recognized. Older individuals with diabetes develop Alzheimer's disease at an earlier age, and are more likely to develop vascular dementia ...

Lower blood sugars may be good for the brain

October 23, 2013
Even for people who don't have diabetes or high blood sugar, those with higher blood sugar levels are more likely to have memory problems, according to a new study published in the October 23, 2013, online issue of Neurology, ...

Reduction of excess brain activity improves memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment

May 9, 2012
Research published in the May 10 issue of the journal Neuron, describes a potential new therapeutic approach for improving memory and modifying disease progression in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. The ...

Recommended for you

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

'Fat but fit' are at increased risk of heart disease

August 14, 2017
Carrying extra weight could raise your risk of heart attack by more than a quarter, even if you are otherwise healthy.

Air pollution linked to cardiovascular disease; air purifiers may lessen impact

August 14, 2017
Exposure to high levels of air pollution increased stress hormone levels and negative metabolic changes in otherwise healthy, young adults in a recent study conducted in China. Air purifiers appeared to lessen the negative ...

Study hints at experimental therapy for heart fibrosis

August 14, 2017
Researchers report encouraging preclinical results as they pursue elusive therapeutic strategies to repair scarred and poorly functioning heart tissues after cardiac injury—describing an experimental molecular treatment ...

Scientists identify mutations in venous valve disease

August 14, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered that mutations in the genes FOXC2 and GJC2 are associated with defects in venous valves, flaps within veins that help maintain proper blood flow.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.