An Ancient Herbal Medicine with Modern Medical Applications

Can Guggul Help Prevent and Treat Dementia?

Guggul compounds have

Research suggests that guggul is a nootropic herb which may be able to prevent and treat the symptoms of dementia. With constituents like guggulsterone that behave like smart drugs, preliminary studies have shown guggul can increase blood circulation in the brain and improve memory. 16 And in a laboratory study evaluating guggulesterone for its neuroprotective effects, it demonstrated antioxidant effects against oxidative damage comparable to that of vitamin E. 17

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome characterized by progressive loss of memory, language dysfunction, inability to learn, disorientation, and other degenerative changes in cognitive brain activities. Emotional and behavioral symptoms of dementia include agitation, anxiety, depression, and suspicion. There are a number of diseases and conditions that dementia occurs in:18

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Lewy body weight
  • Parkinson's disease

Causes of Dementia

Various factors play a role in causing dementia, including restricted or insufficient blood flow to the brain, oxidative stress from free radicals, and inflammation. Low levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), which is emitted by neurons and is essential to brain function, is directly linked to memory and learning impairments. ACh deficiency is considered central to the development of diseases like Alzheimer's, and drugs that inhibit the enzyme (acetylcholinesterase, or AChE) that break it down are the only ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat it.16,18

Evidence of Guggul's Anti-Dementia Effects

Numerous animal studies suggest that the neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing properties effects of guggul may be beneficial for dementia patients. Pre-treatment with 50 mg/pg oral doses of guggulipid prevented memory deficits while post-treatment with guggulipid indicated anti-dementia activity in mice injected with a substance which induced significant memory loss. It appears that these effects may be due to guggul's antioxidant protection against oxidative damage as well as decreasing activity of AChE and increasing ACh, resulting in improved transmission of neural signals.19-20

Gugulsterone has been shown in animal studies to inhibit AChE, both preventing and improving symptoms of dementia. In a mouse model where clinical indicators of dementia (i.e., memory deficit, oxidative stress, and AChE levels) were induced by known neurotoxins, those mice who were pre-treated with gugulipid showed significantly less memory loss than the untreated mice. Treating the mice after the neurotoxin dose demonstrated even more anti-dementia benefits from guggul, including decreased Ache activity, lower levels of oxidative free radicals, and higher levels of the natural antioxidant glutathione than the untreated mice.19

In addition to guggul's antioxidant and AChE inhibiting benefits, guggul's anti-inflammatory properties have been demonstrated in a study using rat astrocyte cells (used to model human central nervous system cells). This model study showed guggulipid was comparable to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug nimesulide in reducing both oxidative molecules and the expression of inflammatory proteins (e.g., COX-2, GFAP, and TNF-±).21

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed physician. If you require any medical related advice, contact your physician promptly. Information presented on this website is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard medical advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.
Acting on the mind.
Similar to Parkinson's disease but also accompanied by significant weight loss.
This designates a dosage amount per gram of body weight.
Scopolamine and streptozotiocin.