The leading Alzheimer's disease (AD) therapeutics to date involves inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which should, in principle, elevate cholinergic signaling and limit inflammation. In spite of the effectiveness in 20%-30% of AD patients, more attention has been paid to find new anti-AChE agents from medicinal plants. Galanthamine, contained in the bulbs and flowers of Galanthus and related genera like Narcissus, represents a good example. The aim of this study is to review the role of possible AChE inhibitors (AChEI) present in plants traditionally used in European medicine for improving memory. Starting from Galanthamine, properties of Melissa species, Salvia officinalis, Arnica chamissonis and Ruta graveolens are discussed to point to the role of these plants as potential sources for the development of therapeutic agents for AD.
Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase, Alzheimer’s disease, clinical trials, drug discovery and development, european traditional medicine, galanthamine, melissa species, salvia officinalis, arnica chamissonis, ruta graveolens, systems biology