Can herbs provide a new generation of drugs for treating Alzheimer's disease?

Thimmappa S. Anekonda, P. Hemachandra Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


The overall aim of this review is to discuss cellular mechanisms at work in the progression of AD and current therapeutic strategies for treating AD, with a focus on the potential efficacy of herbal treatments. Recent advances in molecular, cellular, and animal model studies have revealed that formation of the 4-kDa amyloid beta peptide is a key factor in the development and progression of AD. Several cellular changes have been identified that are related to amyloid beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles found in the autopsied brains of AD patients and in AD animal models. Several therapeutic strategies have been developed to treat AD, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-amyloid approaches. Recently, herbal treatments have been tested in animal and cellular models of AD and in clinical trials with AD subjects. In AD animal models and cell models, herbal extracts appear to have fewer adverse effects than beneficial effects on Aβ and cognitive functions. These extracts have multi-functional properties (pro-cholinergic, anti-oxidant, anti-amyloid, and anti-inflammatory), and their use in the treatment of AD patients looks promising. The chemical compositions of herbs and their potential for alleviating or reducing symptoms of AD or for affecting the disease mechanism need to be further studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 15 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Animal model
  • Bioavailability
  • Herbal drug
  • In vitro model
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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