Nootropic and Anti-Alzheimer’s Actions of Medicinal Plants: Molecular Insight into Therapeutic Potential to Alleviate Alzheimer’s Neuropathology

Abstract

Medicinal plants are the backbone of modern medicine. In recent times, there is a great urge to discover nootropic medicinal plants to reverse cognitive dysfunction owing to their less adverse effects. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the inevitable loss of cognitive function, memory and language impairment, and behavioral disturbances, which turn into gradually more severe. Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but symptomatic treatments are available and research continues. The number of patients suffering from AD continues to rise and today, there is a worldwide effort under study to find better ways to alleviate Alzheimer’s pathogenesis. In this review, the nootropic and anti-Alzheimer’s potentials of 6 medicinal plants (i.e., Centella asiatica, Clitoria ternatea, Crocus sativus, Terminalia chebula, Withania somnifera, and Asparagus racemosus) were explored through literature review. This appraisal focused on available information about neuroprotective and anti-Alzheimer’s use of these plants and their respective bioactive compounds/metabolites and associated effects in animal models and consequences of its use in human as well as proposed molecular mechanisms. This review progresses our existing knowledge to reveal the promising linkage of traditional medicine to halt AD pathogenesis. This analysis also avowed a new insight to search the promising anti-Alzheimer’s drugs.

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Abbreviations

AD:

Alzheimer disease

Aβ:

amyloid β

SPs:

senile plaques

NFTs:

neurofibrillary tangles

OS:

oxidative stress

ACh:

acetylcholine

AChE:

acetylcholinesterase

BChE:

butyrylcholinesterase

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the Department of Pharmacy, Southeast University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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This work was carried out in collaboration between all authors. MSU and GMA designed the study, wrote the protocol, and managed the analyses of the study. MSU, AAM, and MTK prepared the draft of the manuscript. MSU prepared the figures for the manuscript. MJ and BM participated in literature searches. GEB reviewed the scientific contents of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final submitted version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Md. Sahab Uddin or Ghulam Md Ashraf.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Uddin, M.S., Al Mamun, A., Kabir, M.T. et al. Nootropic and Anti-Alzheimer’s Actions of Medicinal Plants: Molecular Insight into Therapeutic Potential to Alleviate Alzheimer’s Neuropathology. Mol Neurobiol 56, 4925–4944 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12035-018-1420-2

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Keywords

  • Medicinal plants
  • Nootropics
  • Cognitive enhancers
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Senile plaques
  • Neurofibrillary tangles