Development of herbal cure for Alzheimer’s claimed

August 11th, 2008 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

By Asit Srivastava
Lucknow, Aug 11 (IANS) India’s National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) here says it has invented a herbal tonic to treat Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to gradual loss of memory in the aged. Encouraged by the satisfactory results when the herbal formulation was tested on rats, the institute has filed for a US patent.

“The herbal formulation will act as a memory enhancer in treating Alzheimer’s,” C.V. Rao, a pharmacology scientist and a member of the team of scientists doing the research at the NBRI, told IANS.

“The scientists are led by Yogendra Kumar Gupta for the research on the herbal product and a process patent application has been filed,” Rao added.

The scientist said the tonic mainly comprises alcoholic extracts of several medicinal plants.

“A range of plants with therapeutic importance like Tinospora Cordifolia (guduchi in Hindi), Centella Asiatica (Indian Pennywort), Withania Somnifera (winter cherry), Mucuna Pruriens (velvet beans), Circuma Longa (turmeric) and others have been used for the formulation,” Rao said.

Chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, allow brain cells to communicate with each other. But in Alzheimer’s patients, the amounts of neurotransmitters get decreased. As a result, patients develop deposits of protein and fibre - or blood brain barrier - owing to which the cells cannot send the right signals to other parts of the brain.

“Unlike most of the other drugs used to treat brain disorders, this herbal tonic is potent enough to cross the blood brain barrier and activate the transmission of signals from the brain to nerve terminals,” said the scientist.

“Our herbal tonic targets and acts against the deposition in the brain so that normal flow of the transmission of signals from the brain can be revived.”

The herbal tonic can be either used as an emulsion or as a soft gelatin capsule.

According to Rao, studies have shown that one percent of the population aged between 65-74 have severe dementia, increasing to seven percent in those aged between 75-84 and nearly 25 percent of those aged 85 years or above.

The trials of the tonic are at the animal testing stage, and it would take one more phase before the trials can be conducted on humans, officials of the institute added.

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