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Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

Consider Basil to Fend Off Alzheimer’s

Basil plant

Karolina Grabowska/

A natural compound called fenchol, found in basil and other plants, may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing toxic proteins from accumulating in the brain, report researchers from the University of South Florida. In a new study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers reported that a sensing mechanism called the FFAR2 receptor on short-chain fatty acids in the gut microbiome reduces neurotoxicity in a brain with Alzheimer’s. After screening more than 144,000 natural compounds to find those that activate that receptor, they discovered that the fenchol in basil bound to it the best. Fenchol was also found to clear harmful amyloid protein from the brain much faster than other compounds and to prevent the formation of half-dead, inflammatory “zombie cells” found in deteriorating brains. Future research will focus on on whether fenchol is best delivered through basil itself, a nasal application spray or a pill.