Could Rosemary and Spearmint Extract Help Stave Off Alzheimer’s Disease?

First Posted: Nov 15, 2013 12:07 PM EST

Alzheimer's disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior, usually develops slowly and progressively worsens over time. However, for individuals in later stages of the disease, impaired cognitive function may greatly interfere with daily tasks.

Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia, making it the most common form of cases. And while there are some medications available at this time for the health issue as well as alternative treatments, there is no cure for the neurodegenerative disease.

Yet a new study looks at enhanced extracts made from antioxidants found in spearmint and rosemary that some researchers believe could hold the key to improved learning and memory. Researchers from Saint Louis University looked at a animal model study to test out this possibility.

Lead study author Susan Farr, Ph.D., research professor of geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine presented the early findings at Neuroscience 2013, a meeting of 32,000 on Nov. 11.

Researchers looked at an antioxidant that's based on spearmint extract and two different doses of similar antioxidants that are made from rosemary extract on mice that have age-related cognitive decline.

"We found that these proprietary compounds reduce deficits caused by mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease," Farr said, via a press release.

Researchers  also found signs of reduced oxidative stress that were considered a hallmark of age-related decline via controls of learning and memory in the brain.

"Our research suggests these extracts made from herbs might have beneficial effects on altering the course of age-associated cognitive decline," Farr said, via the release. "It's worth additional study."

Various reports have shown the medical benefits of spearmint, ranging from helping protect the body from cancer cell formation to combating bad breath. Rosemary extracts have also been used for painful ailments, including headaches, cold, depression, gout, etc. 

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