Scientists Claim Common Rue Could Help Memory Function

Learning and memory are some of the most important cognitive processes, and it’s no wonder that when they become impaired, the quality of life is significantly reduced.

For example, age-related cognitive decline can range from mild impairment to a more serious disease like Alzheimer’s.

For this reason, interest in preserving and optimizing brain health has been on the rise in the past few decades, especially when it comes to natural supplements.

A new study published in the Pharmaceutical Biology journal has examined the effects of common rue on memory.

What Is Common Rue?

Common rue (Lat. Ruta graveolens) is grown both as an ornamental evergreen plant and as a herb, known for its pungent scent, which many describe as ‘musty’.

What’s interesting about rue is, in fact, its composition.

Rue contains more than 120 organic chemical compounds, of which flavonoids are the most abundant. Of the flavonoids, rutin has been in the spotlight lately because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiallergic properties.

It was also found that rutin possesses the ability to help memory dysfunction. 

What Did the Study Find?

The study involved an examination of the antioxidant activity of the extract itself, as well as administering mice with either common rue extract or rutin, followed by behavioral tests to assess any memory and/or learning changes.

When it comes to the extract itself, five different types of flavonoids were discovered (apigenin, luteolin, naringenin, quercetin, and rutin), and one polyphenol (caffeic acid).

This means that common rue extract has a high antioxidant activity, which the researchers ascribe mainly to rutin and caffeic acid.

The results from the behavioral tests done with the mice demonstrated the following:

  • Spatial memory and learning were significantly improved
  • Antioxidant levels in the body were increased
  • Oxidative stress markers in the brain and the blood were decreased, demonstrating the scavenging capacity of rue extract and rutin
  • In addition, the tests indicated that these effects were mostly dose-dependent, meaning, the larger the dose, the better the effects.

    Another thing of note is that rutin extract alone in smaller doses turned out to be more potent than rue extract in larger doses. This makes rutin the superior compound.

    In Conclusion

    Common rue definitely deserves attention from the medical community. More studies will definitely have to be done, but so far, it seems quite promising.

    We’ll end this with the researchers’ own statement, which is that “after additional studies on animal samples and human subjects, the herb can be used as a supplement in preventing and reducing the adverse effects of oxidative stress, regarding the acceleration of the aging process and behaviors associated with depression, dementia, and memory and learning disorders.”


    Resource: Shirin Asgharian, Mohammad Reza Hojjati, Mohsen Ahrari, Elham Bijad, Fatemeh Deris & Zahra Lorigooini (2020) Ruta graveolens and rutin, as its major compound: investigating their effect on spatial memory and passive avoidance memory in rats, Pharmaceutical Biology, 58:1, 447-453. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13880209.2020.1762669

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