Herbal Extracts - Neurogenesis & Recovery of Cognition Impairments

Aging of the brain involves the loss of neurons (hippocapmus shrinkage), loss of synapse integrity between neurons, build-up of toxic amyloid proteins, neuron tangles, defects in blood flow  and chronic inflammation. Under normal age progression, these events do not happen over night and may take years before impairments in cognition become noticed.

Ultimate anti-aging strategies for the brain and memory should target the progressive decline of the brain and promote reversal and recovery of some cognition impairments.

Emerging research in the study of herbal ingredients show their tremendous potential use in mitigating the decline in brain function with age.

  • NEUROGENESIS - is the formation of new neurons, specifically in the hippocampus area in the brain.The hippocampus is essential in providing the capacity for memory and learning. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are associated with brain shrinkage which is correlated to the loss of neurons in the hippocampus. The formation of new neurons may reverse brain shrinkage.

                    Herbs and Extracts

    •  Andrographolide - As an extract from Andrographis Paniculata. Lab research has shown stimulation of neurogenesis in the hippocampus by andorgrapholide. Specifically " increased cell proliferation and the density of immature neurons in the dentate gyrus." (1) The dentate gyrus is an area of the hippocampus involved in memory formation.
    • Centella asiatica - Acts as a potent memory enhancer, via  increasing hippocampus neurogenesis and support for brain tissue regeneration. (2)
    • Baicalin (3)
    • Panax Ginseng (4)
    • Curcumin (5)
    • Epimedium (Icariin)  (6)
    • Apigenin (7)
    • BRAIN TISSUE REGENERATION. While in the same theme as neurogenesis, brain tissue regeneration refers to the enhancement and regeneration of critical neuron structures - axons and dendrites. Dendrites transmit signals from the synapse to the body of the neuron. Axons transmit signals away from the body of the neuron and are covered with a myelin sheath which increase speed of the impulse providing rapid impulse transmission. Aging degenerates the structural integrity of dendrites and axon/myelin complex.

                         Herbs and Extracts

    •  Centella asiatica - Improves structural integrity of axons / myelination and proliferation of dendritic branching and length. Such improvements have been shown to enhance learning and improve memory. (8) Centella asiatica also has been shown to improve learning and memory in normal lab mice.
    • Luteolin - Baicalin - promote neuronal survival and neuron differentiation through the outgrowth of neurites  (axons and dendrites) from the neuron.(9.10)
    • Rosemary (Carnosic Acid) - Strongly promotes neurite outgrowth as a function of powerful Nrf2 activity. Suppressed Nrf2 activation suppresses neuron differentiation.(11)

      • RECOVERY OF COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT - the  to reversal of certain functional impairments which may improve cognitive function. Many research animal models for cognitive impairment are characteristically similar to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Impairment usually involves cerebral vascular disease, synaptic dysfunction. and more.
                Herbs and Extracts
      • Andrographolide - Impairment of synaptic function between neurons plays a significant role in the loss of cognitive function. This is seen in the progression of AD. In research animals with AD-like cognitive disease, the treatment of andrographolide over a 3 month span imporved synaptic function and protected important synaptic proteins.
      • Furthermore, andrographolide has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain and levels of pathological tau protein and beta amyloid in animal models.(12)
      • Andrographolide reduces inflammation and dysfunction of the cerebral endothelial cells, which may affect vascular flow to the brain.(13)
      • Centella asiactica - in senescence-accelerated lab mice, which had accelerated aging of the brain, administration of centella asiatica significantly improved synaptic plasticity and reduced beta amyloid build-up. Such treated mice showed significant benefits in memory and learning. (14)
      • NEUROPROTECTION - AMYLOID & NON-AMYLOID (α-synuclein) TOXICITY | CHRONIC INFLAMMATION - The aging brain is under continual assault and must be protected to prevent cognitive decline and loss of neurons. Key areas of protection include the build-up of amyoid plaques which are toxic to neurons and synapses. Moreover, chronic inflammation in the brain accelerates destruction of the brain and is believed to be the facilitator of degenerative brain diseases.
        • Centella asiatica (15)
        • Epimedium (Icariin)(16,17)
        • Apigenin and luteolin (18,19)
        • Baicalin (20)
        • Schisandra (21)
        • Rosemary (Carnosic Acid)(22)
      • REVERSES INSULIN RESISTANCE IN BRAIN NEURONS - Aging brains become increasingly incapable of using glucose as an energy source. Without this energy neurons age faster and die. Reversing the insulin resistance maintains healthy neurons. Brain insulin resistance is associated with Alzheimer's Disease.
      • Further reduction in glucose availability is caused by methylglyoxal - a powerful intermediate in the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).
      • Curcumin - Improves insulin sensitivity in neurons. (23)
      • Sulforaphane - Reverses reduction of glucose uptake by neurons caused by methylglyoxal (a precusor of advanced glycation end products). Sulforaphane also normalizes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling, which is critical for maintaining brain function. BDNF pathways are disrupted in Alzheimer's Disease. (24)










      (1)   Varela-Nallar L, et al. Andrographolide Stimulates Neurogenesis in the Adult Hippocampus. Neural Plast, 2015.

      (2)  Sirichoat A, et al. Effects of Asiatic Acid on Spatial Working Memory and Cell Proliferation in the Adult Rat Hippocampus. Nutrients. 2015 Oct 5

      (3) Zhang K, et al. Baicalin promotes hippocampal neurogenesis via SGK1- and FKBP5-mediated glucocorticoid receptor phosphorylation in a neuroendocrine mouse model of anxiety/depression. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 9

      (4) Jiang B, et al.  Antidepressant-like effects of ginsenoside Rg1 are due to activation of the BDNF signalling pathway and neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Br J Pharmacol. 2012 Jul;

       (5) Pluta R, et al. Neurogenesis and neuroprotection in postischemic brain neurodegeneration with Alzheimer phenotype: is there a role for curcumin? Folia Neuropathol. 2015

      (6) Li F, et al. Icariin decreases both APP and Aβ levels and increases neurogenesis in the brain of Tg2576 mice. Neuroscience. 2015 Sep 24

      (7) Taupin P. Apigenin and related compounds stimulate adult neurogenesis. Mars, Inc., the Salk Institute for Biological Studies: WO2008147483. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2009 Apr


      (8) Yogeswarin L, et al. Recent Updates in Neuroprotective and Neuroregenerative Potential of Centella asiatica. Malays J Med Sci 2016 Jan.

      (9) Chen PY, et al. Up-Regulation of miR-34a Expression in Response to the Luteolin-Induced Neurite Outgrowth of PC12 Cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Apr

      (10) Li M, et al. Neuronal differentiation of C17.2 neural stem cells induced by a natural flavonoid, baicalin. Chembiochem. 2011 Feb 11;

      (11) Kosaka K, et al. Role of Nrf2 and p62/ZIP in the neurite outgrowth by carnosic acid in PC12h cells. J Biochem. 2010 Jan;



      (12) Rivera DS, et al. Andrographolide recovers cognitive impairment in a natural model of Alzheimer's disease (Octodon degus). Neurobiol Aging. 2016 Jul 5

      (13) Chang CC, et al. Andrographolide, a Novel NF-κB Inhibitor, Inhibits Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation and Cerebral Endothelial Cell Inflammation. Acta Cardiol Sin. 2014 Jul;

      (14) Xing L, et al. Beneficial effects of asiaticoside on cognitive deficits in senescence-accelerated mice. Fitoterapia. 2013 Jun.


      (15) Gray NE, et al. Centella asiatica Attenuates Amyloid-β-Induced Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial Dysfunction. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015

      (16) Zhang L, et al. Icariin reduces α-synuclein over-expression by promoting α-synuclein degradation. Age (Dondr.) 2015 Aug

      (17) Chen YJ, et al. Neuroprotective Effects of Icariin on Brain Metabolism, Mitochondrial Functions, and Cognition in Triple-Transgenic Alzheimer's Disease Mice. CNS Neurosci Ther, 2016 Jan

      (18) Dirscherl K, et al. Luteolin triggers global changes in the microglial transcriptome leading to a unique anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective phenotype. J Neuroinflammation 2010 Jan

      (19) Rezai-Zedeh K, et al. Apigenin and luteolin modulate microglial activation via inhibition of STAT1-induced CD40 expression. J Neuroinflammation. 2008 Sep

      (20) Chen C, et al. Baicalin attenuates alzheimer-like pathological changes and memory deficits induced by amyloid β1-42 protein.  Metab Brain Dis. 2015 Apr

      (21) Song F, et al. Schizandrin A Inhibits Microglia-Mediated Neuroninflammation through Inhibiting TRAF6-NF-κB and Jak2-Stat3 Signaling Pathways. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 26;

      (22) Habtemariam S. The Therapeutic Potential of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Diterpenes for Alzheimer's Disease. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016


      (23) Feng HL, et al. Curcumin ameliorates insulin signalling pathway in brain of Alzheimer's disease transgenic mice. Int J Immunopathol. 2016 Jul 27

      (24) Angeloni C, et al. Neuroprotective effect of sulforaphane against methylglyoxal cytotoxicity. Chem Res Toxicol, 2015 Jun 15

      Gail Paige
      Gail Paige