Salk scientists find that a plant used for centuries by healers of São Tomé e Príncipe holds lessons for modern medicine
August 01, 2014
LA JOLLA—For hundreds of years, healers in São Tomé e Príncipe—an island off the western coast of Africa—have prescribed cata-manginga leaves and bark to their patients. These pickings from the Voacanga africana tree are said to decrease inflammation and ease the symptoms of mental disorders.
Now, scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered that the power of the plant isn’t just folklore: a compound isolated from Voacanga africana protects cells from altered molecular pathways linked to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and the neurodegeneration that often follows a stroke.
“What this provides us with is a source of potential new drug targets,” says senior author Pamela Maher, a senior staff scientist in Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory. The results were published this week in the…
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