Accounting for an estimated 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases in the elderly populations, Alzheimer's Disease has become one of the major global health challenges of the century. The worldwide prevalence of dementia is now estimated to exceed 36 million cases with a further projection of 115 million by 2050. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is one of the most economically important species of the family Lamiaceae. Native to the Mediterranean region, the plant is now widely distributed all over the world mainly due to its culinary, medicinal, and commercial uses including in the fragrance and food industries. Among the most important group of compounds isolated from the plant are the abietane-type phenolic diterpenes that account for most of the antioxidant and many pharmacological activities of the plant. Rosemary diterpenes have also been shown in recent years to inhibit neuronal cell death induced by a variety of agents both in vitro and in vivo. The therapeutic potential of these compounds for Alzheimer's disease (AD) is reviewed in this communication by giving special attention to the chemistry of the compounds along with the various pharmacological targets of the disease. The multifunctional nature of the compounds from the general antioxidant-mediated neuronal protection to other specific mechanisms including brain inflammation and amyloid beta (Aβ) formation, polymerisation, and pathologies is discussed.
Solomon Habtemariam Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 2680409.