There is ongoing research into the potential benefits of various herbs, fungi and natural compounds for Alzheimer's disease. While some herbs and medicinal mushrooms may show promise in improving certain symptoms or supporting brain health, it's important to note that there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer's disease, and any herbal treatments should be approached under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Here are a few herbs and fungi that have been studied in relation to Alzheimer's:
Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest living tree species and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It contains several compounds, including flavonoids and terpenoids, which are believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties may help protect brain cells from damage and improve blood flow to the brain.
Studies investigating the effects of ginkgo biloba on Alzheimer's disease have produced mixed results. Some research suggests that ginkgo biloba extract may modestly improve cognitive function and memory in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. However, other studies have failed to find significant benefits. More high-quality research is needed to better understand its potential effects and determine the appropriate dosage.
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in curry dishes, and it contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has shown potential neuroprotective properties, such as reducing inflammation and oxidative damage in the brain. These effects may be beneficial in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Several studies have explored the effects of curcumin in animal models and in vitro studies, and some have shown promising results in terms of reducing amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which are hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. However, the bioavailability of curcumin is relatively low, meaning that it may not be easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Enerhealth Botanicals produces a ‘Spagyric Turmeric’ that might improve bioavailability. Medical researchers are actively investigating ways to enhance its bioavailability and studying its effectiveness in human clinical trials.
Sage is an aromatic herb commonly used in cooking and traditional medicine. It contains compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as rosmarinic acid and salvianolic acid. These compounds have been studied for their potential cognitive-enhancing effects.
Some small-scale studies have suggested that sage extract may improve cognitive function and memory in individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. However, these studies have limitations in terms of sample size and study design, and more rigorous research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.
Huperzine A is a compound derived from the Chinese club moss plant (Huperzia serrata). It is known to inhibit an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. By inhibiting this enzyme, huperzine A increases the levels of acetylcholine in the brain, which is beneficial as acetylcholine plays a role in memory and cognitive function.
Some studies have suggested that huperzine A may improve cognitive function and behavioral symptoms in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. However, the quality of these studies varies, and more robust research is needed to confirm its efficacy and safety.
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of mushroom that has been studied for its potential benefits in various areas, including cognitive health. Some research suggests that Lion's Mane may have neuroprotective properties and could potentially support brain health, including in conditions like Alzheimer's disease. However, it's important to note that the research is still in its early stages, and further studies are needed to fully understand its effects and establish its efficacy for Alzheimer's disease.
The potential benefits of Lion's Mane for Alzheimer's disease are mainly attributed to its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factors (NGFs) in the brain. NGFs are proteins that play a vital role in the growth, maintenance, and survival of neurons. By promoting NGF production, Lion's Mane may support neuronal health and potentially aid in the prevention of cognitive decline.
Some studies, conducted mainly on animals and in vitro, have shown promising results. For example, research on mice has suggested that Lion's Mane extract could improve cognitive function and memory. However, it's important to highlight that these findings are preliminary, and the effects of Lion's Mane on humans, particularly those with Alzheimer's disease, require further investigation.
It's important to note that while these herbs and compounds show potential in preclinical and early clinical studies, their effects in treating Alzheimer's disease are still being investigated. They are not considered a substitute for standard medical care, and it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies, especially if you have a serious medical condition like Alzheimer's disease.