A novel antioxidant-based ingredient made from spearmint extract and two different doses of a similar antioxidant made from rosemary extract were tested on mice that have age-related cognitive decline.
The higher dose rosemary extract compound was the most powerful in improving memory and learning in three tested behaviours, researchers found.
The lower dose rosemary extracts improved memory in two of the behavioural tests, as did the compound made from spearmint extract.
"We found that these proprietary compounds reduce deficits caused by mild cognitive impairment, which can be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease," said Susan Farr, research professor geriatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
"This probably means eating spearmint and rosemary is good for you. However, our experiments were in an animal model and I don't know how much - or if any amount - of these herbs people would have to consume for learning and memory to improve. In other words, I'm not suggesting that people chew more gum at this point," Farr added.
There were signs of reduced oxidative stress, which is considered a hallmark of age-related decline, in the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.
"Our research suggests these extracts made from herbs might have beneficial effects on altering the course of age-associated cognitive decline," Farr said.
The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013 in US.


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