MSU Researcher Working on Natural Treatment for Alzheimer’s

Berries2A plant that has been used for hundreds of years in Indian, Ayurvedic, Unani and African medicine may hold the secret for stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe even preventing the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Muraleedharan Nair, a natural products chemist in the horticulture department at Michigan State University, has patented a botanical compound called withanamides. This compound is derived from the ancient plant known as Ashwagandha, which is an herbal remedy used to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, alter the immune system and calm the brain.

Withanamides is believed to work by neutralizing the damaging effects of a byproduct of the protein that triggers plaque buildup that signals the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It is this plaque buildup that starts to kill brain cells in the frontal lobe and erase memories before it moves deeper into the brain. Withanamides would help prevent Alzheimer’s at an earlier stage than some of the solutions currently being worked on by pharmaceutical companies.

Withanamides has been tested in mouse trials and is currently in clinical trials, after which it will hopefully be submitted for FDA approval. Because it has already been deemed a “food safe plant,” it should require fewer hurdles to meet compliance.

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