Herbs to fight Alzheimer's, claims AIIMS scientist

Herbs to fight Alzheimer's, claims AIIMS scientist

 The pharmacology department of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences has claimed — after a research — that shankhpushpi and aparajita, herbs found abundant in India can be used to fight Alzheimers.

Although the research has only crossed first stage, researchers claim that the day is not far when people will have drugs made out of extracts of these plants to fight the disease.
Shankhpushpi, also called ‘aloe weed’ or known by its botanical name as ‘convolvulus pluricaulis’, is mainly found in Bihar. It is traditionally known as a medicinal herb to deal with insomnia and fatigue.

Aparajita is found all over the country. Its botanical name is ‘clitoria ternatea’. Dr Y K Gupta, head of the department, said: “There are no two opinions that Ayurvedic plants have capacity to fight against diseases. They act like a tonic that is well-accepted in Ayurvedic literature of India. Now, AIIMS has identified these plants and is conducting research on them which has been successful.”

In the first stage, trials were conducted on rats. First, the condition of Alzheimer’s was created by giving chemicals to rats. This was followed by giving hydro-electrical extracts to the animals using the two herbs. “Sometimes, it has a positive effect on rats, other times negative. The effect is just by chance too. “After spending two years in research, we reached the conclusion that both plants have anti-oxidants and enzymes that are helpful in maintaining memory of a person,” Gupta said.

He said during old age ‘amyloid beta’ protein starts to accumulate in the brain reducing the capacity to think. It increases with age. It is a big challenge in a country like India where old-age population is at an all-time rise. Efforts are on to take the research to the next stage.

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