Brahmi herb shows promise in treating Alzheimer’sBy IANS
Sunday, December 6, 2009
SYDNEY - Researchers are coming by evidence that herbs like brahmi, associated with the ayurveda system of medicine, can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and preserve one’s mental faculties.
Although what exactly causes Alzheimer’s is not known, sufferers experience inflammation of the brain, deposits of beta amyloid, traces of heavy metals and signs of oxidative stress.
Brahmi, a semi-aquatic plant, acts on all of these, said Con Stough, director of the National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM) involved in trials underway at Swinburne University of Technology Brain Sciences Institute (BSI).
It has an anti-inflammatory effect, is an antioxidant and collates and removes heavy metals and beta amyloid, he said.
Two trials with a brahmi extract called CDRI08, conducted over 90 days, have shown improvements in working memory, particularly spatial memory accuracy.
Pine bark, lemon balm, American ginseng, rosemary and brahmi, are some of the herbs showing promise in fending off Alzheimer’s dementia, causing memory loss, depression and anxiety.
A 50-day trial of a particular pine bark extract supplement for men aged 50 to 65 years has also shown improved speed in spatial working memory and immediate recognition tasks, along with lowering blood pressure.
Another trial is investigating the short-term calmative effects of a special lemon balm product, because anxiety and agitation are major symptoms that Alzheimer sufferers experience.
Andrew Scholey, who heads BSI’s Herbal and Nutritional Medicine Research Unit, said that historically the field of alternative medicine has struggled to gain scientific credibility.
However, Swinburne’s trials are performed to standards that provide acceptance within the mainstream scientific community, added Scholey.
Consumer research indicates that more and more people are using some form of alternative health products as part of a proactive, preventative health strategy.