Zingiber officinale: evaulation of its Nootropic effect in mice

  • Hanumanthachar Joshi Division of Pharmacology, Department of Pharm. Sciences, Guru Jambheshwar University, Post Box- 38, Hisar-125 001 (Haryana), India
  • Milind Parle
Keywords: <i>Zingiber officinale</i>, amnesia, learning, memory


Dementia is one of the age-related mental problems, and a characteristic symptom of Alzheimer\'s disease. Nootropic agents and cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil® are clinically used in situations where there is organic disorder in learning abilities and for improving memory, mood and behavior, but the resulting side-effects associated with these agents have made their utility limited. Ayurveda emphasizes use of herbs, nutraceuticals or life-style changes for controlling age related neurodegenerative disorders. The present study was undertaken to assess the potential of an ayurvedic rasayana (rejuvenator) drug Zingiber officinale Roscoe as a memory enhancer. Elevated plus maze and passive avoidance paradigm were employed to evaluate learning and memory parameters. Z. officinale extract (50 and 100 mg/kg, p.o.) were administered for 8 successive days to both young and aged mice. The dose of 100 mg/kg of Z. officinale extract significantly improved learning and memory in young mice and also reversed the amnesia induced by diazepam (1 mg/kg, i.p.), and scopolamine (0.4 mg/kg, i.p.). Furthermore, it also reversed aging induced amnesia due to natural aging of mice. Z. officinale significantly increased whole brain acetyl cholinesterase inhibition activity. Hence, Z. officinale might prove to be a useful memory restorative agent in the treatment of dementia seen in the elderly. The underlying mechanism of its action may be attributed to its antioxidant and acetyl cholinesterase inhibition property.

Keywords: Zingiber officinale, amnesia, learning, memory

African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines Vol. 3(1) 2006: 64-74

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eISSN: 0189-6016