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Ashwagandha cure for Alzheimer’s?

March 4, 2012

The late US President Ronald Reagan had it, former Union minister George Fernandes is battling it, and actor Amitabh Bachchan made it a street word with his role in the 2005 movie B l a c k. But a cure for Alzheimer’s — a degenerative disorder of the brain — may be round the corner, going by the results achieved in studies by the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC).
The disorder, marked by memory and judgment loss, usually occurs in people older than 65, and has defied a cure so far. But the secret potion that can reverse memory loss may be lying in a powerful extract of the root of the Ashwagandha plant.
Known widely to be a useful Ayurvedic herb, now the NBRC has tested the Ashwagandha root extract and found that it may have the formula to create a potent drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The extraction was done at Delhi University’s chemistry lab.
Prominent neuroscientist Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath of NBRC tested the semi-purified sample extracted from Ashwagandha roots on genetically modified mice with Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists treated middleaged (9-10 months) and older (2 year old) mice for 30 days with oral doses of the extract from the root of the plant and monitored Alzheimer’s pathology.
They found that there was a reduction in amyloid plaques in the brain (a symptom typical of Alzheimer’s disease) and also that the cognitive abilities of the mice had improved. Their study has recently been published in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences and the Nature India Journal.

Categories: Public Health
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