Current Treatment Options in Neurology

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 520–528 | Cite as

Treatment of Memory Loss with Herbal Remedies

  • Michael J. SerbyEmail author
  • Sari J. Burns
  • David M. Roane
Psychiatric Manifestations of Neurologic Disease

Opinion statement

Increased rates of dementia throughout the world are creating an emergent need for successful preventive and treatment strategies. Despite a lack of any significant scientific basis, herbal remedies and other types of “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) are being aggressively marketed for both prophylactic and therapeutic effects in regard to memory disorders. In the past few years, a small number of controlled studies have explored the effectiveness of some of the more popular herbal and CAM remedies, including gingko biloba, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine, and omega-3 fatty acids. To date, the bulk of evidence suggests that such approaches are not successful in preventing or delaying cognitive decline or dementia, and there is little reason to prescribe these remedies for the treatment of established cognitive impairment. Some very preliminary evidence suggests that Gingko biloba may be useful in treating behavioral problems in demented people. It is likely that the absence of regulatory controls on the sale of herbal and CAM preparations will foster continued use of these agents and perhaps even accelerated use as the dementia epidemic increases, assuming no imminent breakthroughs in pharmacotherapy.


Dementia Phosphatidylcholine Phosphatidylserine Memantine Herbal Remedy 
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No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Serby
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sari J. Burns
    • 1
  • David M. Roane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral ScienceBeth Israel Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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