Potential medicinal plants for CNS disorders: an overview

Phytother Res. 2006 Dec;20(12):1023-35. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1970.


Although very few drugs are currently approved by regulatory authorities for treating multi-factorial ailments and disorders of cognition such as Alzheimer's disease, certain plant-derived agents, including, for example, galantamine and rivastigmine (a semi-synthetic derivative of physostigmine) are finding an application in modern medicine. However, in Ayurveda, the Indian traditional system of medicine which is more than 5000 years old, selected plants have long been classified as 'medhya rasayanas', from the Sanskrit words 'medhya', meaning intellect or cognition, and 'rasayana', meaning 'rejuvenation'. These plants are used both in herbal and conventional medicine and offer benefits that pharmaceutical drugs lack. In the present article, an attempt has been made to review the most important medicinal plants, including Ginkgo biloba, St John's wort, Kava-kava, Valerian, Bacopa monniera and Convolvulus pluricaulis, which are widely used for their reputed effectiveness in CNS disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Ginkgo biloba / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Magnoliopsida / chemistry
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Plant Extracts