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Review: Can the danshen herb be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease?


In this article, researchers from the University of Macau summarized and explored the effects of bioactive components of danshen on the major characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease in preclinical studies. Their review appeared in the journal Chinese Medicine.

  • Alzheimer’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive memory loss and cognitive impairment.
  • It is difficult to develop effective drugs that can prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s because its etiology is still unknown.
  • The hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, such as the formation of amyloid B plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, and the occurrence of mitochondrial dysfunction and autophagy dysfunction, are often used as indicators when evaluating the effects of potential candidate drugs.
  • Danshen or the rhizome of Salvia miltiorrhiza is a popular traditional Chinese medicine used for the treatment of hyperlipidemia, stroke, cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease.
  • Animal studies have suggested that the bioactive components of danshen, particularly salvianolic acid B, can improve cognitive deficits, protect neuronal cells, reduce tau hyper-phosphorylation, and prevent amyloid B fiber formation and disaggregation.

Because of its ability to reduce four characteristics of Alzheimer’s in preclinical studies, the researchers believe that further development of salvianolic acid B from danshen as a potential neuroprotective drug should be supported.

Read the full review at this link.

Journal Reference:

Chong CM, Su H, Lu JJ, Wang Y. THE EFFECTS OF BIOACTIVE COMPONENTS FROM THE RHIZOME OF SALVIA MILTIORRHIZA (DANSHEN) ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. Chinese Medicine. 21 May 2019;14(1). DOI: 10.1186/s13020-019-0242-0



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