Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease against which conventional healthcare has little to offer. No wonder, therefore, that so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) claims to have a wide range of effective treatments. But how good are they really? The present review aimed to explore the role of SCAM in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Literature searches were conducted using Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane, and PubMed databases and reference lists up to November 30, 2021. Only randomized clinical trials were included and appraised using the National Institute of Health framework. Data analysis showed that herbs like Gingko Biloba, Melissa Officinalis, Salvia officinalis, Ginseng, and saffron alone or in combination with curcumin, a low-fat diet, NuAD-Trail, and soy lecithin showed significant positive effects on AD. Moreover, the combination of natural and pharmaceuticals has far better effects than only allopathic treatment. The authors concluded that different herbal remedies in combination with FDA approved drugs are effective and more promising in the treatment of AD.

To these findings we need to add a study that is too recent to have been included in the review:

The aim of the randomized clinical trial (RCT) was to investigate the effects of fenugreek seed extract on memory, depression, quality of life, blood pressure, and serum malondialdehyde (MDA) and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) levels in adult AD patients. The study participants included 82 AD patients with mild-to-moderate memory deficits. Patients in the intervention group received 5 cc of fenugreek seed extract for 4 months and subjects in the control group received a placebo. Memory, depression, quality of life, and BP levels, as well as serum MDA and TAC, were assessed before and after the intervention.

There was a significant increase in serum levels of TAC (p < 0.001) and a reduction in serum MDA status (p < 0.001) after 4 months of fenugreek seed extract supplementation. In addition, increasing levels of memory (p < 0.001) and quality of life (p < 0.001), as well as reduction of depression (p = 0.002), systolic BP (p < 0.001), and diastolic BP (p < 0.001) levels were detected in the intervention group compared with baseline.

The authors concluded that Fenugreek seed extract supplementation in AD patients shows promising positive effects on memory, quality of life, BP, and selective oxidative indices levels.

So, there is hope! Some of the evidence is promising but far from convincing. What we need – obviously – is more and better research.

6 Responses to Natural remedies for Alzheimer’s disease

  • Is it a red flag that the review uses the term “allopathic treatment”? I thought this was normally used by homeopaths or others opposed to proper medicine.

    • perhaps – not a good term but it’s used by many who fail to understand its origin.

      • AD has been linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. I’d rather advise patients to get their eating schedule and diet menu corrected than to look for some herb or remedy. Many chronic illnesses can be addressed by diet, it’s called preventive medicine.
        Eating the healthy way is a win win.
        Instead, the agencies that decide for us have the base of the most recent food pyramid with almost one hundred percent grains. (appears to be mostly wheat). A recipe for our health disaster to continue.

        • A patient of mine is a (now retired) professor of endocrinology and edits one of the diabetes journals. He said a few years ago that Alzheimer’s should be regarded as Type 3 diabetes although he now thinks the links are less clear than they were. Eating well and avoiding insulin spikes is a biggie though. But try telling that to the patients – they’d rather pop a pill than give up their Krispy Kremes and cans of Coke.

          • “… they’d rather pop a pill than give up their …”

            They are deferring responsibility to their GP; instead taking some responsibility by being an active participant in their well-being.

  • @Lenny

    “they’d rather pop a pill than give up their Krispy Kremes and cans of Coke”

    Sadly, I couldn’t agree more with you on this. I know for a fact because witnessed friends and loved ones doing the same.

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