Role of Phytochemicals as Nutraceuticals for Cognitive Functions Affected in Ageing

Br J Pharmacol. 2020 Mar;177(6):1294-1315. doi: 10.1111/bph.14898. Epub 2020 Feb 3.


Cognitive decline can occur with normal ageing and in age-related brain disorders, such as mild cognitive impairment and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, with limited pharmacological therapies available. Other approaches to reduce cognitive decline are urgently needed, and so, the role of dietary interventions or nutraceuticals has received much attention in this respect. In this review, we examine the evidence for dietary plants and their chemical constituents as nutraceuticals, relevant to both cognitive decline in normal ageing and in dementia. Pharmacological (in vitro and in vivo), clinical and epidemiological evidence is assessed for both frequently consumed plants and their dietary forms, including tea, coffee, cocoa (chocolate), red wine, grapes, citrus and other fruits; in addition to plants used less frequently in certain diets and those that cross the blurred boundaries between foods, nutraceuticals and medicinal plants. For the latter, turmeric, saffron, sage, rosemary and lemon balm are examples of those discussed. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on The Pharmacology of Nutraceuticals. To view the other articles in this section visit

Publication types

  • Review