Herbs, Supplements for Parkinson's Disease
What herbs may benefit people at risk of Parkinson's disease? Are there herbs able to cure Parkinson's

To answer these questions, I have run a literature search and review, and identified several herbs potentially
useful for people suffered from or at risk of Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is caused by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons of substantia nigra projecting to
striatum. The degeneration is probably related to mitochondrial malfunction, elevated oxidative stress,
apoptosis, excitotoxicity, and inflammation. [X1,X3] And now, we are going to review what herbs, supplements
may benefit people at risk of or even have already suffered from Parkinson's disease.

Thunder God Vine  lei gong teng (雷公藤, lei gong teng, Tripterygium wilfordii)
A chemical extracted from Thunder God Vine has been demonstrated to have neuro-protective effects. In a
test-tube study, this chemical, i.e. tripchlorolide, promoted axonal elongation and protected dopaminergic
neurons from a neurotoxic lesion. In a study of rats, administration of tripchlorolide for 28 days effectively
attenuated the D-amphetamine-challenged rotational behavior.Tripchlorolide treatment also increased the
survival of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta. [1,2] In a separate study, triptolide also
protected dopaminergic neurons from lipopolysoaccharide-induced injury. [3] Because of its protective effect
on dopaminergic neurons, researchers believe that it may have benefits in Parkinson's disease.

Cistanches salsa
Echinacoside from Cistanches salsa improved the behavioral and neurochemical outcomes in mice suffered
from dopaminergic toxicity. Mice suffered from 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) induced
dopaminergic toxicity are in general accepted as a model for Parkinson's disease. When administered prior
to MPTP, echinacoside reduced behavioral deficits, increased striatal dopamine and dopamine metabolite
levels, reduced cell death. In addition, pre-treatment with echinacoside also significantly reduced caspase-3
and caspase-8 activation in 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+))-induced apoptosis in cerebellar granule
neurons. [4]

Echinacea species
Echinacoside is a constituent of Echinacea species. It has been found that oral administration of this
chemical (30 mg/kg/day for 14 days) to MPTP-treated mice, commencing after impairment of the nigrstriatal
system, suppressed the reduction of nigral dopaminergic neurons, striatal fibers, dopamine and dopamine
transporter to MPTP-lesioned animals respectively. [X5]

Paeoniae alba Radix
It was observed that paeoniflorin from Paeoniae alba Radix reduced the MPTP-induced toxicity in mouse. [5]
It was also found administration of paeoniflorin to the MPTP mouse for 11 days could protect substantia nigra
neurons and striatal nerve fibers from death and bradykinesia. [5]

It was found that a pre-treatment of reishi (Ganoderm lucidum) spore oil led to an increased level dopamine
and in MPTP mouse. Reishi spore oil treated MPTP mouse also had more surviving TH-positive neurons in
substantia nigra pars compacta. [6]

Blood Stasis
Salviae miltiorrhizae Radix (or Blood Stasis in Traditional Chinese Medicine) is an eminent herb in the
treatment of cardiovascular disorder. Salviae miltiorrhizae Radix does not have a scavenging effect, but it has
an inhibitory effect on superoxide generation by microglias. The water extract of Salviae miltiorrhizae could
significantly increased K+-stimulated dopamine release from rat striatal slices. [7]

Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi
Baicalein, a major flavonoid extracted from a traditional Chinese herb Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi
(Huangqin), possesses potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Researchers from National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NC, found that pretreatment with baicalein concentration-
dependently attenuated lipopolysaccharide -induced decrease in [3H]dopamine uptake and loss of TH-
immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons from E-14 rat embryos. Lipopolysaccharide (LSP) is known to induce
damage to dopaminergic neurons. [8]

Herbal Formula - Yeoldahanso-tang
Modified Yeoldahanso-tang (MYH), a Korean herbal formula, contains 10 herbs, and they are Pueraria lobata
(Willd.) Ohwi, Angelica tenuissima Nakai, Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, Platycodon grandiflorum (Jacq),
Angelicae Dahurica, Cimicifuga heracleifolia Kom, Raphanus sativa L., Polygala tenuifolia (Willd.), Acorus
gramineus Soland. and Dimocarpus longan Lour. A study of mice suggests this formula may benefit people at
risk of Parkinson's disease, which effect is partially mediated by autophagy enhancement through enhanced
degradation of aggregated proteins. [X4]

Other Popular Herbs or herbal extracts that may benefit Parkinson's disease
The herbs include green tea polyphenols or catechins, panax ginseng and ginsenoside, ginkgo biloba and
EGb 761, polygonum, triptolide from tripterygium wilfordii hook, polysaccharides from the flowers of nerium
indicum, oil from ganoderma lucidum spores, huperzine and stepholidine. [X6]

Important Information
Most of the relevant studies supporting the benefits of these herbs are in vitro, and in animals, it is not sure if
they work in the same way in human. Further, it is unclear their side effects in human.

More about Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's Disease - Supplements
Parkinson's Disease - Herbs
Parkinson's Disease - Side Effects of Drugs
Parkinson's Disease - Symptoms

[1] Li FQ, et al, Neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of tripchlorolide, an extract of Chinese herb
Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F, on dopaminergic neurons. Exp Neurol. 2003 Jan;179(1):28-37. [2] Cheng XX, et
al, Protective effect of tripchlorolide on dopaminergic neurons in partially lesioned rat model of Parkinson's
disease Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2002 May;37(5):339-42. [3] Li FQ, et al, Triptolide, a Chinese herbal extract,
protects dopaminergic neurons from inflammation-mediated damage through inhibition of microglial
activation. J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Mar;148(1-2):24-31. [4] Geng X et al, Neuroprotective effects of
echinacoside in the mouse MPTP model of Parkinson's disease. Eur J Pharmacol. 2007 Feb 16. [5] Liu HQ,  
et al, Paeoniflorin attenuates neuroinflammation and dopaminergic neurodegeneration in the MPTP model of
Parkinson's disease by activation of adenosine A1 receptor. Br J Pharmacol. 2006 Jun;148(3):314-25. [6]
Zhu WW, et al, Effect of the oil from ganoderma lucidum spores on pathological changes in the substantia
nigra and behaviors of MPTP-treated mice Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2005 Jun;25(6):667-71 [7] Koo BS,
et al, Salviae miltiorrhizae radix inhibits superoxide generation by activated rat microglias and mimics the
action of amphetamine on in vitro rat striatal dopamine release. Neurochem Res. 2004 Oct;29(10):1837-45.
[8] Li FQ, et al, Inhibition of microglial activation by the herbal flavonoid baicalein attenuates inflammation-
mediated degeneration of dopaminergic neurons. J Neural Transm. 2005 Mar;112(3):331-47. Epub 2004 Oct
22. [X1] Fernandez-Espejo E. Pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease: prospects of neuroprotective and
restorative therapies. Mol Neurobiol. 2004 Feb;29(1):15-30. [X3]  Bonuccelli U, Del Dotto P. New
pharmacologic horizons in the treatment of Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2006 Oct 10;67(7 Suppl 2):S30-8.
. [X4] Bae N, et al, The neuroprotective effect of modified Yeoldahanso-tang via autophagy enhancement in
models of Parkinson's disease. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Mar 24;134(2):313-22 [X5] Zhao Q et al,
Neurotrophic and neurorescue effects of Echinacoside in the subacute MPTP mouse model of Parkinson's
disease. Brain Res. 2010 Jul 30;1346:224-36. [X6] Chen LW et al, Chinese herbs and herbal extracts for
neuroprotection of dopaminergic neurons and potential therapeutic treatment of Parkinson's disease. CNS
Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2007 Aug;6(4):273-81.
Discuss with your doctor before taking any alternative medicine. This article is for reference only, it is not a medical advice. All rights