Scientists Discover Neuro-protective Abilities In Californian Herb: 5 Foods That May Protect Brain Cells

A native Californian shrub having potent neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties has come into the spotlight for its potential use in treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The herb, called Yerba santa, was identified by researchers at the Salk Institute.

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Scientists Discover Neuro-protective Abilities In Californian Herb: 5 Foods That May Protect Brain Cells

A native Californian shrub having potent neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties has come into the spotlight for its potential use in treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The herb, called Yerba santa, was identified by researchers at the Salk Institute and the research conducted by the Institute has been included in the February 2019 issue of the journal Redox Biology. The herb is dubbed as the 'holy herb' in Spanish by native Californian tribes and has been popular in the region. It has been used a home remedy for a number of respiratory ailments as well as fever, headaches, treating wounds, sore muscles and even rheumatism.

Talking about the bio-active compound responsible for its healing powers, authors of the study say, "..we show for the first time that the most significant neuroprotective flavonoid in Yerba santa is the flavanone sterubin. Although sterubin has long been known to be present in Yerba santa." Sterubin was found to have potent anti-inflammatory effect on a group of brain cells called the microglia. The compound was found to be an effective iron remover. Iron is said to contribute in nerve damage in a number of ageing and neurodegenerative diseases. The compound was found to be effective against a number of other cell-death inducers by the researchers at Salk's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory.

Pamela Maher, a researcher at the Laboratory said, "Not only did sterubin turn out to be much more active than the other flavonoids in Yerba santa in our assays, it appears as good as, if not better than, other flavonoids we have studied." The team is preparing to test the effect of the compound in animal model of Alzheimer's and then test its toxicity levels in animals and later in humans. There are some foods that also have a natural neuroprotective effects.

Here are some foods that may reduce risk of neuro-degeneration:

1. Leafy green veggies

2. Olive oil

3. Legumes

4. Fatty fish

5. Whole grains

(With IANS inputs)



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