Author(s): Howes MJ, Houghton PJ
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Abstract In traditional practices of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, numerous plants have been used to treat cognitive disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). An ethnopharmacological approach has provided leads to identifying potential new drugs from plant sources, including those for cognitive disorders. Many drugs currently available in Western medicine were originally isolated from plants, or are derived from templates of compounds isolated from plants. Some anticholinesterase (anti-ChE) alkaloids isolated from plants have been investigated for their potential in the treatment of AD, and are now in clinical use. Galantamine, isolated from several plants including Lycoris radiata Herb., which was used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is licensed in the United Kingdom for the treatment of mild to moderate AD. Various other plant species have shown pharmacological activities relevant to the treatment of cognitive disorders, indicating potential for therapeutic use in disorders such as AD. This article reviews some of the plants and their active constituents that have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and TCM for their reputed cognitive-enhancing or antiageing effects. Plants and their constituents with pharmacological activities that may be relevant for the treatment of cognitive disorders, including enhancement of cholinergic function in the central nervous system (CNS), anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, are discussed.
This article was published in Pharmacol Biochem Behav
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics