Panax Ginseng: A Helping Hand in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease


Panax Ginseng: A Helping Hand in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

 

We’ve all experienced memory blips, like searching frantically for the car keys and then realizing that they are actually in your hands. Although occasional forgetfulness is a common occurrence, serious memory loss and a decline in cognitive functioning are major concerns for a significant number of older, as well as younger adults. As our population continues to age, the increasing likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease is a real possibility for many baby boomers.

The Wait is Over

We’ve been told repeatedly that there is not much we can do to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease and the cognitive symptoms that go along with it—memory loss, confusion, and problems with language and judgment. Instead, we are left to hope for the best and wait for a pharmaceutical cure. Thankfully, however, there are a number of natural ways to prevent, slow, or even perhaps reverse Alzheimer’s disease, including using Panax ginseng.

Nature’s Cure All

Dating back as early as 33 BC, Panax ginseng has been considered one of the world’s most powerful herbs for overall well-being, and has been well established as a “cure all” for a wide variety of human ailments. Central nervous system (CNS) disorders—such as Parkinson’s, depression, and Alzheimer’s—are the most studied diseases for ginseng research because ginseng contains a multitude of compounds that have been shown to help protect brain cells, stimulate the release of various brain chemicals, and decrease damaging inflammation.

The most commonly studied ginseng compounds are ginsenosides—of which there are several types. Ginsenoside Rd is just one of the types, and it has been demonstrated to help decrease a kind of damage to the brain (tau protein phosphorylation) that has been associated with Alzheimer’s.

In addition, Panax ginseng polysaccharides have also been found to protect the powerhouse of your body’s cells, mitochondria. One of the proposed mechanisms by which Alzheimer’s is thought to occur is through a cascade of events started with changes in how the mitochondria function. This is another possible way that Panax ginseng may help prevent and treat Alzheimer’s.

Most importantly, human studies have found protective and nutritive effects of ginseng in the memory function of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s patients were split into two groups, with one group receiving Panax ginseng powder for 12 weeks and the other group receiving a placebo. During the study, the group receiving the ginseng demonstrated a significant improvement in tests that assessed their mental state and their cognitive performance.

 

 

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659622/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20442494

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19938222

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1044743112001273

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568163712000888

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23321003

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18580589

http://www.alzheimersanddementia.com/article/S1552-5260%2814%2901292-8/fulltext

 

 

 

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Author

Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.