Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Offer Treatments for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

A new study of classical Chinese medical texts identifies references to age-related memory impairment similar to modern-day Alzheimer’s disease, and to several plant-based ingredients used centuries ago – and still in use today – to treat memory impairment. Experimental studies of five of these traditional Chinese medicines suggest that they have biological activity relevant to Alzheimer’s disease, according to an article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine website until October 21, 2016.

Charlie Xue, Ph.D., and coauthors from Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, China, and RMIT University, Australia, performed a comprehensive, systematic search of the Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a database of more than 1,000 Chinese medical books dating back to the fourth century.

In the article “Memory Impairment, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in Classical and Contemporary Traditional Chinese Medicine,” the authors describe specific mentions of signs and symptoms of memory impairment associated with aging and the formulas and ingredients most commonly used to treat these disorders.

“Recent research out of UCLA that was the subject of the JACM editorial in August shined a spotlight on the potential role of natural agents in a whole person protocol for reversing Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Xue and his colleagues have provided an important addition from traditional Chinese medicine to this emerging literature,” says The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Editor-in-Chief John Weeks, Seattle, WA.

Article: Memory Impairment, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease in Classical and Contemporary Traditional Chinese Medicine, May Brian H., Feng Mei, Zhou Iris W., Chang Su-yueh, Lu Shao-chen, Zhang Anthony L., Guo Xin-feng, Lu Chuan-jian, and Xue Charlie C.L., The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, doi:10.1089/acm.2016.0070, published online 27 July 2016.

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