Herbal Medicine Improves Memory for Alzheimer’s Patients
Alzheimer’s disease and the loss of memory continues to perplex pharmaceutical research. This is because pharmaceuticals typically increase the body’s chemical load, requiring glutathione and other antioxidant energies of the liver and immune system to remove pharmaceutical chemical metabolites.
It is like a circular problem. Because Alzheimer’s has been shown to be the result of oxidative stress, increasing the oxidative burden on the body is a dubious solution. And most if not all synthesized chemicals increase oxidative burden on the body.
But Nature produces biochemicals that provide antioxidant effects upon the body. This decreases the oxidative burden, which in turn helps remove some of the oxidative elements that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
As a result, Nature’s medicines provide a more realistic (and more affordable) potential for finding the solution to Alzheimer’s disease.
A recent clinical study illustrates this.
Traditional medicine formula treats mild Alzheimer’s
Research published in the journal, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, has found that a traditional formula can indeed improve memory in mild Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers utilized an herbal formulation called Davaie Loban. This formula contains five herbs. These are:
• Nut Grass (Cyperus rotundus) – also called Java grass
• Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
• Calamus (Acorus calamus) – also called Sweet flag
• Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
• Boswellia (Boswellia carterii) – also called Frankincense
These are popular herbs used in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Middle Eastern Medicine, Greek herbal medicine and European herbal medicine.
This double-blind randomized clinical trial tested 44 Alzheimer’s patients over the age of 50 years old. The patients had been diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. This was established using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) along with the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB).
The medical researchers divided into two groups. They treated one group of 24 patients with the herbal medicine formula and the other group was given a placebo.
The researchers retested the patients at four weeks and after twelve weeks of treatment. At the four-week memory testing, the doctors found the patients taking the Davaie Loban formula had significantly improved in their ADAS-cog and CDR-SOB results.
After twelve weeks of treatment, the herbal medicine group had again significantly improved over the placebo group in the ADAS-cog and CDR-SOB memory tests.
The researchers concluded:
“Our findings suggest that DL may be effective in improvement of memory in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.”
Multiple memory mechanisms of the herbal medicine
The researchers of this clinical study found at least three effects with their patients. First they found the herbs had an antioxidant effect upon the patients. I mentioned this earlier – that most herbal medicines exert a significant antioxidant effect as part of their healing potential. This means they neutralize oxidative free radicals. It means herbal medicines help remove those oxidative free radicals from the body. This reduces the body’s oxidative burden, helping brain cells.
Another mechanism of the herbal combination according to the researchers was that it had a cholinergic effect. This means that it assisted with brain and nerve cell transmission. Brain and nerve cells utilize a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. When acetylcholine is increased or modulated within the neurotransmitter fluid of nerve and brain cells, the effect is called cholinergic. This could mean that the herbal formula supplies or increases the availability of choline. Or it could be simply that choline is freed up to act correctly.
The other potential effect the herbal formula had upon the patients is that it reduced amyloid toxicity. This can simply mean that the beta amyloid plaque buildup was slowed. Or it could be that the herbal formulation actually reduced the amyloid plaque.
Certainly, further research to understand the mechanisms of this important herbal formula would be nice. But significant increases in the memory of Alzheimer’s patients, with no adverse side effects, is important.
It should go without mention that several of these herbs have independently shown potential for improving cognitive health in one form or another. Combining these herbs into a unique formula is an illustration of an advancement of traditional medicine that is thousands of years old.
Tajadini H, Saifadini R, Choopani R, Mehrabani M, Kamalinejad M, Haghdoost AA. Herbal medicine Davaie Loban in Alzheimer’s disease: A 12-week randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Dec;23(6):767-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.06.009.
Strupp BJ, Powers BE, Velazquez R, Ash JA, Kelley CM, Alldred MJ, Strawderman
M, Caudill MA, Mufson EJ, Ginsberg SD. Maternal Choline Supplementation: A Potential Prenatal Treatment for Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2016;13(1):97-106.