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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Herbal Alpinia galanga and Alzheimer's disease

Posted by Chantel Martiromo 

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder correlated with major reductions of neurons to the respective target areas and named after German physician Alois Alzheimer. Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing cognitive modalities severe enough to affect language communication, memory, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer's gets worse over time, and it is fatal. 
According to statistic, over 25 million people in the world today are affected by dementia and most are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It may be results of  cigarette smoking, midlife high blood pressure and obesity, diabetes, and cerebrovascular lesions) and the possible beneficial roles of psychosocial factors (eg, high education, active social engagement, physical exercise, and mentally stimulating activity)(1) Strong evidences emerged in epidemiological studies suggested that certain herbs(2) may have potential in reduced risk and treatments of Alzheimer's disease but geographic source of the plant material, climatation, and time of harvest may effect their effectiveness. It is understandable that commercially available herbal medicinal products with the same herbal ingredients vary in their content and concentration of chemical constituents when compared between manufacturers.
Alpinia galanga is the genus Alpinia, belonging to the family Zingiberaceae, native to Indonesia and South Asia. The herb has been used in folk medicine in treating arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, relieving discomfort caused due to inflammation of the abdomen and ulcers, etc.
On oxidative stress induced Alzheimer's type amnesia in mice, Alphinia galanga attenuated the elevated levels of acetylcholinesterase and monoamine oxidase enzymes in amnesia induced mic(38) and acted as Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors which are widely used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD)(39). The Lalitha College of Pharmacy study suggested that Alpinia galanga fractions increases habituation memory and decreased escape latency in Alzheimer's type of amnesia in mice induced by Aβ((25-35), through increment in Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase and antioxidant activity depicts brain membrane integrity improvement and free radical scavenging property(40). 


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References
(1) Epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease: occurrence, determinants, and strategies toward intervention. by Qiu C, Kivipelto M, von Strauss E.(PubMed)
(2) The Use of Herbal Medicine in Alzheimer's Disease—A Systematic Review by Leopoldo Luiz dos Santos-Neto,1 Maria Alice de Vilhena Toledo,2 Patrícia Medeiros-Souza,3 and Gustavo Almeida de Souza(PubMed)
(38) Neurotransmitter metabolic enzymes and antioxidant status on Alzheimer's disease induced mice treated with Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd by Hanish Singh JC, Alagarsamy V, Sathesh Kumar S, Narsimha Reddy Y.(PubMed)
(39) Galangin, a flavonol derived from Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum, inhibits acetylcholinesterase activity in vitro by Guo AJ, Xie HQ, Choi RC, Zheng KY, Bi CW, Xu SL, Dong TT, Tsim KW.(PubMed)
(40) Neuroprotective effect of Alpinia galanga (L.) fractions on Aβ(25-35) induced amnesia in mice by Hanish Singh JC, Alagarsamy V, Diwan PV, Sathesh Kumar S, Nisha JC, Narsimha Reddy Y.(PubMed)

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