Snowdrops can fight dementia

Flowers have long been used as traditional remedies, but they’re now being used to treat a conditions from depression and insomnia to cancer.
A third of new pharmaceuticals since 2008 originated or were inspired by natural products including flowers, says the Society of Chemical Industry. What makes the chemicals in flowers so potent — even on something as complex as brain functions — is not clear.  But it could be due to the sophisticated processes they’ve evolved to deter predators or attract pollinators.
Here, we identify the flowers that are finding their way into mainstream medicine . . .


This small, white flower blooms in the late winter. 

Traditional uses: Rub-on treatment for headaches, painkiller and poison antidote. 

Modern uses: Reminyl, one of the main type of drugs used to treat mild to moderate dementia, is derived from galantamine, a compound found in snowdrop bulbs.

It helps increase levels of acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in the transmission of messages from nerve cells.  Alzheimer’s is associated with a drop in acetylcholine levels — galantamine stops or delays the decline, helping to maintain memory.
‘Galantamine was originally tested for use in conditions such as eye, gastric and heart disorders.
'It wasn’t until the Eighties that it was explored for potential benefits in dementia,’ says Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Source  - Daily Mail

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