Neuroprotective herbs can help to protect nerve cells from damage and impairment of function. There are several positive in vitro and in vivo studies, but no human trials were found.
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
Bergamot oil reduced neuronal damage caused in vitro by excitotoxic stimuli. From: Corasaniti, M. T., Maiuolo, J., Maida, S., Fratto, V., Navarra, M., Russo, R., … & Bagetta, G. (2007). Cell signaling pathways in the mechanisms of neuroprotection afforded by bergamot essential oil against NMDA‐induced cell death in vitro. British journal of pharmacology, 151(4), 518-529.
Bisphenol A (BPA) was a polycarbonate plastic used in plastic containers, baby’s bottle, and water bottles, and is shown to have a neurotoxic effect that can increase with diabetes and decrease with the treatment with anise. From: El-hodairy, F. A. (2014). NEUROPROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF PIMPINELLA ANISUM ON NORMAL AND DIABEITC RATS. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 6(12), 9-12.
In young rats exposed to lead, Pimpinella anisum had a beneficial effect on neurotoxicity. From: Bekara, A., Aithamadouche, N., Kahloula, K., Sadi, N., & Aoues, A. K. (2016). Effect of Pimpinella anisum L. on Histological and Biochemical Damage in Cerebrum and Cerebellum of Young Rats Intoxicated by Lead Acetate. Group, 11, 12.
R. damascena significantly prolonged seizures and reduced the frequency and amplitude in rats. From: Homayoun, M., Seghatoleslam, M., Pourzaki, M., Shafieian, R., Hosseini, M., & Bideskan, A. E. (2015). Anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects of Rosa damascena hydro-alcoholic extract on rat hippocampus. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 5(3), 260.
In a triple blind randomized placebo controlled study of 75 patients with MS, a daily dose of a yarrow extract reduced relapse rate and related symptoms. From: Ayoobi, F., Moghadam-Ahmadi, A., Amiri, H., Vakilian, A., Heidari, M., Farahmand, H., … & Shamsizadeh, A. (2018). Achillea millefolium is beneficial as an add-on therapy in patients with multiple sclerosis: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine.
Coriander seed extracts protected and improved damaged brain cells in rats. From: Enas, A. K. (2010). Study of the possible protective and therapeutic influence of Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) against neurodegenerative disorders and Alzheimer’s disease induced by aluminum chloride in cerebral cortex of male Albino rats. Nat Sci, 8(11), 202-213.
R. damascena can reverse behavioral deficits and may be useful to treat cognitive dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. From: Esfandiary, E., Karimipour, M., Mardani, M., Ghanadian, M., Alaei, H. A., Mohammadnejad, D., & Esmaeili, A. (2015). Neuroprotective effects of Rosa damascena extract on learning and memory in a rat model of amyloid-β-induced Alzheimer’s disease. Advanced biomedical research, 4.
In 68 patients who had a hemorrhagic stroke, taking astragalus over 12 weeks improved recovery. From: Chen, C. C., Lee, H. C., Chang, J. H., Chen, S. S., Li, T. C., Tsai, C. H., … & Hsieh, C. L. (2012). Chinese herb astragalus membranaceus enhances recovery of hemorrhagic stroke: double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.
Mint demonstrated an antioxidant capability towards neural cells. From: López, V., Martín, S., Gómez‐Serranillos, M. P., Carretero, M. E., Jäger, A. K., & Calvo, M. I. (2010). Neuroprotective and neurochemical properties of mint extracts. Phytotherapy Research, 24(6), 869-874.
Laurus nobilis may be a chemopreventive agent for neuronal cells or other cells of the CNS. From: Pacifico, S., Gallicchio, M., Lorenz, P., Potenza, N., Galasso, S., Marciano, S., … & Monaco, P. (2013). Apolar Laurus nobilis leaf extracts induce cytotoxicity and apoptosis towards three nervous system cell lines. Food and chemical toxicology, 62, 628-637.
Rosemary and its rosmarinic acid constituent delayed motor dysfunction, reduced degeneration of motor neurons, and extended life span of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mice. From: Shimojo, Y., Kosaka, K., Noda, Y., Shimizu, T., & Shirasawa, T. (2010). Effect of rosmarinic acid in motor dysfunction and life span in a mouse model of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Journal of neuroscience research, 88(4), 896-904.
Ocimum sanctum showed an antioxidant and neuroprotective effect that may be useful in treating cerebral reperfusion injury and cerebrovascular insufficiency states and improve memory loss. From: Yanpallewar, S. U., Rai, S., Kumar, M., & Acharya, S. B. (2004). Evaluation of antioxidant and neuroprotective effect of Ocimum sanctum on transient cerebral ischemia and long-term cerebral hypoperfusion. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 79(1), 155-164
Bergamot was neuroprotection against brain injury induced by focal cerebral ischemia in rats. From: Amantea, D., Fratto, V., Maida, S., Rotiroti, D., Ragusa, S., Nappi, G., … & Corasaniti, M. T. (2009). Prevention of Glutamate Accumulation and Upregulation of Phospho‐Akt may Account for Neuroprotection Afforded by Bergamot Essential Oil against Brain Injury Induced by Focal Cerebral Ischemia in Rat. International review of neurobiology, 85, 389-405. Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0074-7742(09)85027-7
Bergamot essential oil may have a neuroprotective effect. From: Bagetta, G., Morrone, L. A., Rombolà, L., Amantea, D., Russo, R., Berliocchi, L., … & Corasaniti, M. T. (2010). Neuropharmacology of the essential oil of bergamot. Fitoterapia, 81(6), 453-461. Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fitote.2010.01.013
Neuroprotective effects of carnosic acid is discussed. From: Tamaki, Y., Tabuchi, T., Takahashi, T., Kosaka, K., & Satoh, T. (2010). Activated glutathione metabolism participates in protective effects of carnosic acid against oxidative stress in neuronal HT22 cells. Planta medica, 76(07), 683-688.
Leonurine (as found in motherwort) had a neuroprotective and potential stroke preventative effect in rats. From: Loh, K. P., Qi, J., Tan, B. K. H., Liu, X. H., Wei, B. G., & Zhu, Y. Z. (2010). Leonurine protects middle cerebral artery occluded rats through antioxidant effect and regulation of mitochondrial function. Stroke, 41(11), 2661-2668.
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) showed neuroprotective activity in vitro, and may be useful for treating neurodegenerative disorders associated with inflammation, excitotoxicity, or oxidative stress. From: Cho, J., Kim, H. M., Ryu, J. H., Jeong, Y. S., Lee, Y. S., & Jin, C. (2005). Neuroprotective and antioxidant effects of the ethyl acetate fraction prepared from Tussilago farfara L. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 28(3), 455-460.
Lemon oil showed neuroprotective activity related to astrocyte cells in vitro. From: Koo, H. N., Hong, S. H., Kim, C. Y., Ahn, J. W., Lee, Y. G., Kim, J. J., … & Kim, H. M. (2002). Inhibitory effect of apoptosis in human astrocytes CCF-STTG1 cells by lemon oil. Pharmacological research, 45(6), 469-473.
In a review of essential oils from the Myrtaceae family, those containing higher amount of 1,8-cineole demonstrated the highest activity to inhibit the AchE. Alzheimer’s disease is related to a loss of neuron function and neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). From: Petrachaianan, T., Chaiyasirisuwan, S., Athikomkulchai, S., & Sareedenchai, V. (2019). Screening of acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity in essential oil from Myrtaceae. TJPS, 43(1), 63-68.
Essential oil from the peel and seeds of sweet orange demonstrated antioxidant and brain protective abilities in vitro. This could be useful related to Alzheimer’s disease. From: Ademosun, A. O., Oboh, G., Olupona, A. J., Oyeleye, S. I., Adewuni, T. M., & Nwanna, E. E. (2016). Comparative Study of Chemical Composition, In Vitro Inhibition of Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Enzymes, and Antioxidant Potentials of Essential Oil from Peels and Seeds of Sweet Orange (C itrus Sinensis [L.] Osbeck) Fruits. Journal of food biochemistry, 40(1), 53-60.