Dilip Ghosh, PhD, FACN
Dilip Ghosh, PhD, FACN, is director
of nutriConnect, based in Sydney, Australia. He
is also professionally involved with Soho Flordis
International, the University of Western Sydney,
Australia, and is an Honorary Ambassador with
the Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI). Dr.
Ghosh received his PhD in biomedical science
from University of Calcutta, India. He has been
involved in drug-development (both synthetic
and natural) and functional food research and
development both in academic and industry
domains. Dr. Ghosh has published more than
70 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and he
has authored three recent books: “Biotechnol-
ogy in Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals,”
“Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods,”
and “Clinical Perspective of Functional Foods
and Nutraceuticals” under CRC Press. His next
book, “Pharmaceuticals to Nutraceuticals: A
Shift in Disease Prevention,” is in press. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org;
Herbal medicines have been used in
many cultures over thousands of years
to boost memory function and manage
behavioral and psychological symptoms.
Specific herbs which have attracted the
most attention include Ginkgo biloba,
Bacopa monniera, Huperzia serrata, Panax
ginseng, Curcuma longa and Melissa offi-cinalis. Tea, especially green tea (Camellia
sinensis) is also considered beneficial for
cognitive function owing to its antioxidant effects.
The current conventional treatment of
early to mid-dementia offers only modest symptomatic relief, which is not satisfactory considering the magnitude of the
disease burden on patients and communities as a whole. Several classes of pharmaceutical agents are currently used for the
management of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
in particular, including cholinesterase inhibitors and glutamate receptor antagonists, which are suggested to produce the
best clinical outcomes (Farlow et al., 2008).
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has an extensive history of
use worldwide and several interventions
have been explored as therapeutic options
for the management or prevention of AD.
According to a recent U.S. national survey conducted by the National Center for
Complementary and Alternative Medicine, approximately 38% of U.S. adults
and approximately 12% of children use
some form of CAM (Barnes et al., 2008).
The World Health Organization (WHO)
estimated that almost 75% of the world’s
population has therapeutic experience
with herbal remedies (Dubey et al., 2004).
The use of CAM for treatment of age-
related disorders dates to 5,000 years ago
in ancient China where herbal remedies
were used to boost memory function and
increase longevity. The common forms of
CAM currently used in the management
of AD include herbal medicine (including
Western herbal medicine, Chinese herbal
medicine, Ayurvedic medicine), vitamins
and dietary supplements (e.g., fish oil),
acupuncture, aromatherapy, mind-body
therapy (e.g., meditation, qigong exercise),
physical therapies (e.g., chiropractic, re-
flexology, remedial massage, therapeutic
touch), music therapy and melatonin and
Dementia in the elderly is an epidemic
of unprecedented proportion and crisis
in modern medicine. Licensed drugs for
dementia are still few: cholinesterase inhibitors (four drugs developed to inhibit
acetylcholinesterase (AChE)), butyrylcho-linesterase (BuChE) and memantine (a
glutamate NMDA receptor antagonist).
A range of other drugs often prescribed
incidentally include antipsychotics, anti-depressants, tranquillizers and hypnotics.
Symptoms include a range of cognitive
impairments (notably memory—
particularly the ability to form new memories, attention and executive function).
Bacopa: An Herb to Watch
Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) is a medicinal
plant that occurs naturally in India and
has been mentioned in several ancient
Ayurvedic treatises including the
Chara-ka Samhita (sixth century AD) and the
Bravprakash Var-Prakarana (sixteenth century AD) for the management of a range
of mental conditions including anxiety,
poor cognition and lack of concentration.
Brahmi is marketed in Western countries
as a memory-enhancing agent. The major
constituents of Brahmi are two saponins:
bacosides A and B.
The exact mechanisms for these actions pharmacological/nootropic actions
of Brahmi are induced by antioxidant effects via metal chelation at the initiation
level and also as a lipid peroxidation chain
action breaker, and modulation of cholin-
Herbal Hopes for Brain Health
Complementary and alternative medicine has an extensive history of use for management of
age-related health issues.
By Dilip Ghosh, PhD, FACN