Herbs for Improving Cognitive Function
Howes, M.J. and Houghton, P.J. Plants used in Chinese and Indian traditional
medicine for improvement of memory and cognitive function. Pharmacology,
biochemistry, and behavior 75(3):513-27.
In traditional practices of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, numerous plants have
been used to treat cognitive disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases
such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). An ethnopharmacological approach has provided
leads to identifying potential new drugs from plant sources, including those for
cognitive disorders. Many drugs currently available in Western medicine were
originally isolated from plants, or are derived from templates of compounds
isolated from plants. Some anticholinesterase (anti-ChE) alkaloids isolated from
plants have been investigated for their potential in the treatment of AD, and
are now in clinical use. Galantamine, isolated from several plants including
Lycoris radiata Herb, which was used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is
licensed in the United Kingdom for the treatment of mild to moderate AD. Various
other plant species have shown pharmacological activities relevant to the
treatment of cognitive disorders, indicating potential for therapeutic use in
disorders such as AD. This article reviews some of the plants and their active
constituents that have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and TCM for
their reputed cognitive-enhancing or antiageing effects. Plants and their
constituents with pharmacological activities that may be relevant for the
treatment of cognitive disorders, including enhancement of cholinergic function
in the central nervous system (CNS), anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
activities, are discussed.
Medicine May Offer Relief for Skin Disorders
Chen, C.J. and Yu, H.S. Acupuncture, electrostimulation, and reflex therapy in
dermatology. Dermatologic therapy 16(2):87-92.
Acupuncture is an old therapeutic method that includes both
needle and nonneedle acupuncture. Nonneedle acupuncture includes moxibustion,
cupping, and acupressure. In the field of dermatology, acupuncture has been
reported to be beneficial for the treatment of acne, postherpetic neuralgia,
psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and urticaria. In acupuncture treatment of dermal
diseases, both the filiform needle and the cutaneous needle are powerful tools.
In the treatment of refractory dermal diseases, cutaneous needle acupuncture is
usually followed by cupping to intensify the therapeutic effect. In cases where
needle acupuncture is not possible, acupuncture-like transcutaneous electrical
nerve stimulation (TENS) is a good alternative. In addition, reflex therapy
based on foot reflex areas may also be an alternative. A lack of controlled
studies is the main drawback for the methods mentioned above. However, the
experiences from experts in this field may offer us new ideas to resolve
refractory disorders in dermatology.
Indicates Acupuncture May Be Effective for Insomnia
Sok, S.R., et al. Effects of acupuncture therapy on
insomnia. Journal of Advanced Nursing 44(4):375-84.
Acupuncture therapy, commonly used in clinical practice in Asian cultures, has
the potential to produce a positive effect with patients experiencing insomnia.
The purpose of this systematic review was to: 1) assess the trends across
intervention studies using acupuncture for insomnia from 1975 to 2002; 2)
examine dependent variables and 3) evaluate the effects of acupuncture therapy
on insomnia in older people.
Data were collected from November 2001 to January 2003 from a wide range of
electronic databases. Half the studies that met the researchersí criteria had
small samples (50 subjects or fewer), which were composed mainly of older women
who had a variable duration of insomnia from three days to 34 years. The main
methods used to assess outcomes were questionnaires. All the studies reported
statistically significant positive results.
of this review suggest that acupuncture may be an effective intervention for the
relief of insomnia. Further research, using a randomized clinical trial design,
is necessary to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture. More work is also
needed to promote the long-term therapeutic effects of acupuncture and to
compare it with other therapies for insomnia.