Asian herb shows mood and memory benefits for older adults: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images
© Daisy-Daisy / Getty Images

Related tags Persicaria minor Polygonum minus Herbal supplements Cognitive function

Supplementation with an extract of Persicaria minor may improve visual memory and negative mood in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, says a study from Malaysia.

Six months of supplementation with an extract of P. minor​ (common names: small water-pepper, small smartweed and others) was also associated with improvements in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – an important neurotrophic factor participating in memory and learning – and improvements in triglyceride levels, according to findings published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies​.

“The findings from the current research suggested that 6 months of P. minor extract (IQ200) supplementation can significantly improve visuospatial memory, tension, anger, confusion, total negative subscales, triglyceride and BDNF level among older adults with MCI,” ​wrote the authors, led by Huijin Lau from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Persicaria minor extract

The study used an aqueous extract of P. minor​ called Biokesum, produced by Biotropics Malaysia Sdn Bhd. The ingredient is distributed in the US by Florida-based HP Ingredients under the brand name IQ200.

Commenting on the new study, Annie Eng, CEO and founder of HP Ingredients, said the results are in line with an earlier study that also demonstrated significant improvements in tension, depression, anger, and total mood disturbance among healthy middle-aged women with mood disturbance.

“IQ200 is a breakthrough water-soluble, high antioxidant food-based herb, ​Persicaria minor (also known as ​Polygonum minus) that can help anyone improve memory,”​ she added.

Study details

The Malaysia-based researchers recruited 36 community-dwelling older Malaysians with MCI to participate in their multi-center, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. Participants were randomly assigned to received either 500 mg per day of the P. minor​ extract or placebo for six months.

Data from the 30 people who completed the study indicated that the P. minor​ group experienced significant improvements in measures of visual memory, tension, anger, confusion, total negative subscales and triglyceride levels, compared to placebo.

In addition, fMRI analysis in a subset of the participants revealed that six months of P. minor​ extract supplementation was associated with significant increases in the activation right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) during one of the cognitive tests administered. Activation at this part of the brain has been reported to be linked to visuospatial working memory, said the researchers.

 “[The] significant finding on the right DLPFC activation was based on subsamples only. Therefore, the results must be considered preliminary until such effects can be studied further in a larger sample size,” ​they wrote.

“These findings may serve as a knowledge base for other herbal or natural extracts supplementation studies in the future,” ​they concluded.

Source:BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies
(2020) 20:315, doi: 10.1186/s12906-020-03092-2
“The effects of six months ​Persicaria minor extract supplement among older adults with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blinded, randomized, and placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: H. Lau, et al.

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