A Potential Alternative against Neurodegenerative Diseases: Phytodrugs

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:8378613. doi: 10.1155/2016/8378613. Epub 2016 Jan 6.


Neurodegenerative diseases (ND) primarily affect the neurons in the human brain secondary to oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. ND are more common and have a disproportionate impact on countries with longer life expectancies and represent the fourth highest source of overall disease burden in the high-income countries. A large majority of the medicinal plant compounds, such as polyphenols, alkaloids, and terpenes, have therapeutic properties. Polyphenols are the most common active compounds in herbs and vegetables consumed by man. The biological bioactivity of polyphenols against neurodegeneration is mainly due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiamyloidogenic effects. Multiple scientific studies support the use of herbal medicine in the treatment of ND; however, relevant aspects are still pending to explore such as metabolic analysis, pharmacokinetics, and brain bioavailability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Biological Availability
  • Brain Ischemia / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Permeability
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Terpenes / chemistry


  • Alkaloids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Terpenes