TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Carpolobia lutea, known more commonly as cattle stick, is a small tree or shrub which grows up to 15 feet high.
It is widely distributed in rainforests and the Guinea savannah of Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Herbalists in Nigerian tribes use the essence of the root as an aphrodisiac and the treatment of genitourinary infections, gingivitis, and waist pains.
The plant has also been reported to possess other anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antimicrobial, antidiarrhoeal, antimalarial, and analgesic properties.
“As a population we are living longer, and the number of people with dementia is growing at an alarming rate,” said lead author Dr. Wayne Grant Carter, from the University of Nottingham Medical School and Royal Derby Hospital.
“Our findings suggest that traditional medicines will provide new chemicals able to temper Alzheimer’s disease progression.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease; with symptomology that typically includes confusion, memory loss, impaired cognitive and emotional function, and dementia.
In 2015, the number of people living with dementia was estimated to be 46.8 million, with an associated economic burden of 818 billion US dollars.
Researchers and drug companies are racing to discover new treatments and have begun looking to plant extracts as a potential source of novel drugs.
In patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and myasthenia gravis, the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is reduced, leading to problems with memory and attention.
Current drugs — called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors — reduce the normal breakdown of acetylcholine.
The current study found that Carpolobia lutea was highly effective in preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine but had other beneficial antioxidant properties in fighting free radicals — unstable atoms that can cause damage to cells and contribute to ageing and disease.
The findings were published online in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology.