Herbs For Alzheimer's Disease

    Posted before Dec-31-2007

Alzheimer's disease is considered to be the most widespread variety of dementia or a condition typified by continuous decline of mental aptitudes. The ailment is an accelerating chaos distinguished by an extensive deficit of cerebral cells known as neurons, dumping of beta-amyloid in the blood vessels in the brain, growth of small flat patches on the inner lining of arterial walls as well as the existence of meshes of nerve cell fibers or neurofibrillary. In Alzheimer's disease, these transforms take place in the region linked with the cerebral cortex, the middle and temporal lobes of the cerebral and the hippocampus resulting to a decline in the intensity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Scientists are of the view that insufficiency of antioxidants in the system may hasten the development of Alzheimer's disease. Hence, any endeavor to enhance the presence of antioxidants in the body and make it sufficient to tackle the free radicals may lessen the hazards of the ailment. And this can possibly be achieved by ingesting appropriate and nourishing meals or dietary enhancements.

Alzheimer's disease may be cured as well as prevented by applying natural substances. There are numerous such natural options available, but one must consult a physician before applying any of them mentioned below.

  • If you are suffering from Alzheimer's disease, ensure that you consume sufficient fruit and vegetable juices, especially vegetable juices as they contain lower percentage of fructose. Fruit and vegetable juices are very useful in treating as well as preventing Alzheimer's disease as they enclose enough amounts of antioxidants that are helpful in neutralizing the harmful free radicals responsible for most of the disorders in our body.
  • Using antioxidants like vitamin E has also been found to be very useful in lessening the acuteness or harshness of Alzheimer's disease. However, presently physicians do not recommend using more than 100 units of vitamin E each day and suggest that if anyone is using vitamin E, they should ensure that the variety of the nutrient they are using encloses all the tocopherols and tocotrienols. Apart from vitamin E, lipoic acid is one more important antioxidant and it yields desired results in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease when they use the substance in dosage of 10 to 50 mg a number of times every week. Most importantly, many herbs such as acai, curcumin, mangosteen, goji and others too possess antioxidant properties and are helpful in curing as well as preventing Alzheimer's disease.
  • Even treatment using B vitamins like B6, B12 also known as methylcobalamin and folic acid that helps in reducing the intensity of homocysteine in the system have also been found to be useful in curing and preventing Alzheimer's disease. Experts are of the view that high intensity of homocysteine in the brain is responsible for neuronal damage and this in turn aggravates Alzheimer's disease in patients.
  • It is important for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease to be exposed to sunlight everyday morning and restore their sleeping arrangement. Findings of a recent research conducted on the issue suggest that exposure to sunlight every morning and taking melatonin (a type of hormone) enhancements during the nights on a regular basis facilitates restoring beneficial sleeping arrangements.
  • Using acetyl-L-carnitine is also helpful for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This is because acetyl-L-carnitine helps in safeguarding people against the harms of amyloid-beta neurotoxicity and has been found to be more effective when taken in mishmash with other drugs. However, physicians warn that the normal dosage of acetyl-L-carnitine should never exceed 100 mg to 300 mg taken in a day for a number of days every week.
  • Administering harbingers of acetylcholine like choline to Alzheimer's patients has also been found to be useful in reducing the acuteness of the ailment. For best results, a dosage of 100 mg to 500 mg of acetylcholine precursors should be given for a few days each week.
  • In addition, people enduring Alzheimer's disease and using acetylcholine precursors need to take additional chemical medications or enhancements derived from natural substances such as huperzine in order to obstruct the collapse of acetylcholine.
  • Using curcumin supplements available with the drug stores and pharmacies also prove to be beneficial for Alzheimer's patients. Curcumin, the yellow colors amalgam present in turmeric, is gradually becoming a popular spice as people are beginning to learn and appreciate the element's potential in effectively safeguarding the body from various disorders.
  • It has been found that people who consume around 180 mg of DHA on an average are less susceptible to having Alzheimer's disease and several other varieties of dementia than those who eat lesser amount of DHA or the fatty acid present in fish oils.
  • Patients who are in the initial stages of Alzheimer's disease and enduring a moderate disorder may benefit from taking omega-3 fatty acids as a nutritional enhancement since the substance effectively shields the cerebral utility in such people.
  • People enduring Alzheimer's disease need to be administered medications and dietary supplements that facilitate blood circulation to the brain cells.
  • Efforts should also be made to enhance the frame of mind of the patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease by providing them with adequate nourishments and herbs.
  • Researches have shown that ingesting herbal tea, even green tea, helps in improving the condition of the patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
  • It is interesting to note that experts are of the view that muira puama, a herb native to Brazil and used extensively for sexual enchantments, is likely to possess properties to slow down acetyl cholinesterase actions.

All said and done, it needs to be mentioned here that it is still difficult to ascertain which of the above mentioned remedies, use of herbs and nutrients either used individually or in a combination will surely be effective as treatment to cure or prevent Alzheimer's disease. It is also difficult to tell whether any of these can serve as an alternative medication for the disease. In fact, as of now, it is only a 'trial and error' method which physicians and herbal medical practitioners are following now with the hope of finding the right medication and dosage to cure or prevent the disease. Another important thing to note is that experts are still unclear as to how these dietary enhancements intermingle with the drugs prescribed for Alzheimer's disease. However, Alzheimer's patients need to be cautioned regarding the use of supplements like galantamine and huperzine as they can be very strong. At the same time, if anyone is taking a number of medicines or supplements simultaneously, he or she needs to lessen the dosage of each drug or supplement as the potency of each one add up making the total intake very high. In such cases, the patients may suffer from lack of sleep or endure over excitement - both conditions are detrimental for anyone's health.

Chinese herbs to heal Alzheimer's disease

Lycorus radiata (shisuan)
Lycorus radiata also known as shisuan is a Chinese herb that encloses different alkaloids such as lycoramine, lycoine and galanthamine and has been found to be effective in treating patients enduring Alzheimer's disease. It has been found during researches that galanthamine and lycoramine are both changeable cholinesterase determents. Compared to galanthamine, lycoramine is a feeble alkaloid, but is equally potent as Nivalin. In fact, galanthamine can effortlessly cross over the barrier between the blood system and the brain and hence the alkaloid is capable of reducing the actions of the cerebral cortex or casing as well as the medulla oblongata. When galanthamine is taken in large measure, it depicts an activity opposed to cholinesterase in the thalamus or the central portion of the diencephalon by means of which sensory signals deliver messages to the cerebral cortex.
Macleaya cordata (boluohui)
Macleaya cordata or boluohui is another Chinese herb that also encloses a number of alkaloids comprising chelerythine, sanguinarine, allocryptopine and protopine and is said to be valuable in treating Alzheimer's disease patients. Compared to procaine, chelerythine, sanguinarine, allocryptopine and protopine sulfates are more strong and effective as local anesthetic or sedatives. Among these alkaloids, sanguinarine slows down the action of cholinesterase. Usually, people use the herb to treat contagions caused by bacteria and trichomonas (a protozoan from the Trichomonas family). It is also effective in eliminating worms from the body. In effect, the alkaloids act by bringing about excitement in the maggots and then cause paralysis among them before eliminating them eventually.
Coptis chinenses (huanglian)
This Chinese herb encloses alkaloids, primarily berberine that possesses a special property to hold back cholinesterase. In addition to berberine, coptis chinenses or huanglian also contains worenine, coptisine, columbamine and palmatine. Depending on the dosage, the consequences of using berberine appear in two phases on acetylcholine in animals and their separate organs. For instance, berberine provokes acetylcholine to stimulate slow heart beat rate (bradycardia) as well as ST segment depression when applied on rabbits. It is important to note here that tetrahydroberberine that is derived from berberine leads to analgesia or numbness, calms down the nervous system and unwinds the muscles. And the effect of tetrahydroberberine is said to be three times more powerful or strong compared to the action of meprobamate.
Securinega suffruticosa (yiyiqiu)
The Chinese herb securinega suffruticosa or yiyiqiu too encloses numerous alkaloids and has been found to be useful in treating patients enduring Alzheimer's disease. Although the herb contains a number of alkaloids, the primary alkaloid is securinine and its by-products. It may be mentioned here that securinine kindles the central nervous system (CNS) that upsets the slowing down action of meprobamate (a drug used to treat anxiety). Although securinine retards the actions of cholinesterase, it is considered to be much feeble compared to galantamine. The poisonous herb solanum nigrum encloses elements solanine, salasodine and associated alkaloids. In fact, when applied on mice, solanine significantly reduces the impulsive activities and extends the hibernation period stimulated by the use of pentobarbital. In fact, solanine possesses a potent action opposed to cholinesterare and this is said to be owing to the presence of aglycone solanidine.

Other herbs used in Alzheimer's disease

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
This herb has been extensively publicized as a 'brain herb' and for years has been used as an ingredient in fruit smoothies as well as nutrient bars with a view to enhance memory and improve psychological functioning. In fact, ginko, scientific name ginkgo biloba, is known to enhance blood circulation to the cerebral region and hence, extensively used in the European nations to take care of dementia. Chemical analysis of the herb has demonstrated that the leaves of the herb primarily enclose two kinds of compounds - flavonoids like quercetin and terpenoids such as ginkgolides. Both these chemicals are believed to possess strong antioxidant features and enhance the blood circulation by widening the blood vessels. Owing to its two prominent properties - capability to enhance the blood circulation to the cerebral region and its antioxidant properties, ginkgo is considered to be a useful herb in treating cerebral syndromes. It has been found that extracts from the herb enclose about 24 per cent flavonoids and approximately six per cent terpenoids. The extracts have been found to be extremely intense and potent. Normally, herbalists recommend daily ingestion of ginkgo in the measure ranging from 120 mg to 240 mg. Use of GBE for different cerebral maladies is considered to be harmless, practically with no complaints of aftereffects.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
This herb is also prevalently known as the 'miracle elixirs of life' owing to the fact that a Chinese herbalist who used gotu kola or Centella asiatica lived for over two centuries. The common belief among the people that gotu kola facilitates memory enhancement prompted several researchers to undertake a number of studies to examine the herb's impact on the central nervous system (CNS) and the blood circulation system. During such studies, researchers have found that an active compound found in gotu kola called triterpenoids was capable of calming down the nervous system as well as enhance the cerebral functioning in mice. Chemical analysis of the herb's extract has shown that it encloses approximately 40 per cent asiaticoside, around 29 per cent to 30 per cent asiatic acid, about 29 per cent to 30 per cent madecassic acid and almost one to two per cent madecassoside. The normal dosage of the herb varies from 20 mg to 180 mg. While 20 mg of the herb is recommended for scleroderma, herbalists prescribe 180 mg of the herb for venous deficiency. The herb is obtainable in different forms, including tea, dehydrated herb, capsules, tablets, tinctures and balms. It is important to store the medication in a cool and dry place for effective functioning.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Being a member of the mint family, lemon balm or Melissa officinalis has been used for ages to soothe the nerves. Known as a 'calming balm', this herb encloses flavonoids, polyphenols, volatile oil, bitter principle, tannins and rosmarinic acid. According to many herbal medicine practitioners, lemon balm is effective for treating a number of disorders, including the Alzheimer's disease. In addition, lemon balm is also prescribed for curing indigestion, hyperthyroidism and the attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) conditions. The herb is available in an assortment of forms, including dried leaf and even sold as tea. Capsules, tinctures, oils and extracts of lemon balm are also available in the market.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
This herb derives its name from the term rosmarinus, which is a Latin word literally denoting 'sea dew'. The herb is obtainable in a variety of forms - dehydrated whole herb, dried powdered extract as in capsules, liquid extract, infusions, tinctures, and also as rosemary wine. The herb encloses 1 per cent to 2 per cent of a volatile oil comprising borneol, camphor, camphene, cineole, flavonoids such as aspigenin and diosmin. Rosmaric acid, tannins, diterpenes like picrosalvin and also rosmaricine. Conventionally, herbal medical practitioners have used rosemary to enhance remembrance or memory, alleviate muscular pain and spasm, fuel growth of new hair, and also prop up the blood circulation and nervous systems. In addition, rosemary is considered to influence the menstrual cycle, function as a herbal medication to induce abortion (miscarriage), alleviate menstrual contractions, enhance urination and lessen kidney pain in cases such as kidney stones.


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