The etiopathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is extremely complex and heterogeneous, often associated with comorbidities. As a result it may be unlikely that AD may be mitigated by drug acting on a single specific target. The current tendency in drug design and discovery in AD is the rational design or “serendipitous” discovery of new drug entities challenging multiple targets. Since two of the presently approved drugs for AD are based on natural products (galantamine and the physostigmine-derivative rivastigmine), many plants are now under investigation as a potential source of new drugs. Multifunctional drugs often have their origin in natural sources. This review is limited to plant chemicals having different targets with actual (galantamine) or promising (drugs from Crocus sativus, Ginkgo biloba, Salvia species, and Huperzia serrata) clinical evidence in people with dementia or AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, cholinergic system, crocus sativus, drug discovery and development, galantamine, ginkgo biloba, huperzia serrata, multitargets, nicotine, nAChR, plant drug, salvia species, systems biology