Effects of Spices (Saffron, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Turmeric and Ginger) in Alzheimer's Disease

Curr Alzheimer Res. 2021;18(4):347-357. doi: 10.2174/1567205018666210716122034.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent dementia in the elderly, causing disability, physical, psychological, social, and economic damage to the individual, their families, and caregivers. Studies have shown some spices, such as saffron, rosemary, cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that act in inhibiting the aggregation of acetylcholinesterase and amyloid in AD. For this reason, spices have been studied as beneficial sources against neurodegenerative diseases, including AD. In this sense, this study aims to present a review of some spices (Saffron, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Turmeric and Ginger) and their bioactive compounds, most consumed and investigated in the world regarding AD. In this article, scientific evidence is compiled in clinical trials in adults, the elderly, animals, and in vitro, on properties considered neuroprotective, having no or negative effects on neuroprotection of these spices and their bioactive compounds. The importance of this issue is based on the pharmacological treatment for AD that is still not very effective. In addition, the recommendations and prescriptions of these spices are still permeated by questioning and lack of robust evidence of their effects on neurodegeneration. The literature search suggests all spices included in this article have bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions associated with neuroprotection. To date, the amounts of spice ingestion in humans are not uniform, and there is no consensus on its indication and chronic consumption guarantees safety and efficacy in neuroprotection. Therefore, clinical evidence on this topic is necessary to become a formal adjuvant treatment for AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease.; Spices; bioactive compounds; cinnamon; functional properties; ginger; rosemary; saffron; turmeric.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / pharmacology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biological Products*
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum
  • Crocus / drug effects
  • Curcuma / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotection
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rosmarinus / drug effects
  • Spices*
  • Zingiber officinale / drug effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Biological Products
  • Plant Extracts
  • Acetylcholinesterase