Dr Vijayalakshmi Ravindranath, chairperson at Centre for Neuro Sciences at IISc, is using an extract of the ashwagandha root (an ayurvedic plant) on mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Her preliminary finding is that it can reverse memory loss.
The Tatas have pledged Rs 75 crore grant for the research being done on the IISc campus.
Research worldwide both in pharmaceutical companies and academia have failed to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. There is far less optimism as most drugs have failed in clinical trials We need to leverage the knowledge base of the tradi tional system of medicine such as ayurveda, which has been practised for more than 2,000 years. Understanding the knowledge base of these systems of medicine and using it effectively in the mo dern context is essential as we are set to see a large increase in cases of disorders of the ageing brain.
Ashwagandha May Reverse Memory Loss’
We are now purifying the mixture and reducing the effective dose. What is interesting is the way the ashwagandha worked in the mice. The extract did not work directly on the brain. Instead it enhanced a protein in the liver that is broken down and released into the blood to act as a sink for the amyloid and helps pull out the amyloid from the brain.
The 2015 Nobel Prize for medicine was won by Chinese scientist Tu Youyou’s for her discovery of artemisinin, a drug based on traditional Chinese herbal medicine. The drug is now part of standard anti-malarial regimens.
Source: Times of India 28th Jan/2016