Spotlight on Science: Polygala Tenuifolia Increases BDNF, Reduces Neuroinflammation According to New Study

   Categories: Herbs, Supplements, TCM
17 Nov 2020

A Traditional Chinese Remedy Showing Promising Results for Cognitive Health


Polygala tenuifolia

Polygala tenuifolia. Image credit: T. MA (flickr).


Polygala tenuifolia, sometimes known as Chinese senega or Yuan Zhi in Chinese, is an herb prominently figuring in Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine. In particular, its aerial parts have been used for the treatment of amnesia [1, 2].

We highlight below the results from an exciting new study by Xiao Wang, Dian Zhang et al: Neuroprotective effects of the aerial parts of Polygala tenuifolia Willd extract on scopolamine-induced learning and memory impairment in mice, published in Biomedical Reports in November 2020.

A full-text version of the study can be found on PubMed Central.

We are pleased to see it adds to the growing body of clinical evidence documenting the potential health benefits of P. tenuifolia.

Our HericinEx MCT™ formula contains a high-grade extract of Polygala tenuifolia to synergistically support a healthy brain & nervous system.*


Study Design

The authors simulated cognitive impairment resembling the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

The animals were for, a period of 14 days, given either:

On day 8 of the study, the mice were injected with scopolamine to trigger cognitive impairment. Their memory and learning abilities were then assessed through standardized tests.


Key Results

The study showed that Polygala tenuifolia (APT) counteracted the memory and learning impairment. It also significantly increased levels of the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) as well as the very important, anti-inflammatory IL-10 protein while decreasing levels of the pro-inflammatory IL-1b [1].*

It is worth highlighting that the 100mg/kg APT dose had similar effects on improving BDNF,  IL-10 & decreasing IL-1b as the given piracetam dose.

The authors conclude that Polygala tenuifolia may support cognitive health by promoting BDNF while inhibiting neuroinflammation & oxidative stress [1].*



[1] Wang X, Zhang D, Song W, et al. Neuroprotective effects of the aerial parts of Polygala tenuifolia Willd extract on scopolamine-induced learning and memory impairments in mice. Biomed Rep. 2020;13(5):37. [PMID:32874571][doi:10.3892/br.2020.1344]

[2] Lin Z, Gu J, Xiu J, Mi T, Dong J, Tiwari JK. Traditional chinese medicine for senile dementia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:692621. [PMID:21808655] [doi:10.1155/2012/692621]


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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