SAGE - the Stuff-Ing for a Good Memory; Forgetfulness Could One Day Be Treated by Rubbing a Memory-Boosting Herbal Cream on to the Forehead, an Expert Predicted This Week. Scientists Are Experimenting with an Oil Extract from Sage, Which as Well as Providing a Tasty Stuffing for Christmas Turkey Was Widely Believed in the Middle Ages to Improve Memory
Von Radowitz, John, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
RESEARCHERS from Middlesex University in north-west London have support for their claims that a new cream could improve memory from extensive laboratory tests.
They now plan to test the new memory boosting herbal extract on a group of Alzheimer's patients in a controlled trial.
Dr John Wilkinson, who is heading the research, said one way the oil could be administered would be to rub it into the skin.
''It could be used topically, as a cream, maybe one that you rub into your head,'' he said this week at the British Association Festival of Science at Imperial College, London.
Dr Wilkinson said it was quite likely that sage oil would benefit healthy people as well as those suffering memory loss from Alzheimer's.
''Possibly in the future it may even be helpful to people suffering temporary memory impairment, perhaps through stress,'' he said. ''It may have an immediate effect, and we think it could enhance the memory as well as help to restore it.''
Dr Wilkinson's team found that in laboratory tests on cells, sage oil maintained levels of a nerve message chemical called acetylcholine which is important to memory. In the body, acetylcholine is naturally broken down by an enzyme, but sage prevents this happening.
The scientists also found that using the whole extract was more effective than isolating the active molecules in it.
Dr Wilkinson said this was an example of something scientists were only just discovering - that the multitude of chemicals in herbal medicines often worked together ''synergistically''. …