Frequently asked questions
The terms Alzheimer’s and dementia are often used synonymously. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. Up to 50 different neurodegenerative diseases are summarised under the umbrella term dementia. However, Alzheimer’s is the most common. Would you like to find out more? We recommend the website of the Alzheimer´s association for more information.
How exactly Alzheimer’s arises has not yet been clearly ascertained, even after almost a hundred years of research. Two protein deposits are important in this context: plaques made from amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides and fibrils made from tau. The Alzheimer´s association already provides a good overview of this topic. You find the information here.
Alzheimer’s can be hereditary. However, this only applies in one per cent of cases. If a parent has hereditary Alzheimer’s disease, the probability of a child developing the disease is 50:50.
There are numerous studies on this subject. The greatest risk factor is age. In fact, one’s own lifestyle can also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Those taking little physical activity, smoking and drinking, are more susceptible to certain diseases that promote Alzheimer’s. People with high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiac arrhythmias are more at risk. Depression, lack of sleep and low education are also risk factors. Therefore, a healthy diet and physical activity are important elements of Alzheimer’s prevention.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s dementia. The drugs currently in use only treat the symptoms of the disease. There are three so-called cholinesterase inhibitors that cause the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to be increased in the brain in order to slow the breakdown of nerve cells. These include the drugs donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine.
A very frequently prescribed drug is memantine – a so-called NMDA receptor antagonist. It dampens the overstimulation of the brain. In Alzheimer’s patients, due to the deficits in some areas of the brain, other areas are more stressed. This leads to overload of the brain.
In the course of Alzheimer’s disease, nerve cells in the brain, that cannot currently be restored, are destroyed. You can try to stop the disease in the early stages, but there is no cure. That is why early detection and early therapy play a major role.
Plant extracts for the relief of Alzheimer's symptoms
Both the Greek mountain tea extracts and St. John’s wort have shown promising results in treating Alzheimer’s symptoms. In our video series in part 6-8, the approach to experiments on mice is explained.
Sideritis scardica reduced plaque deposits by 80% in the mouse experiment. The number of nerve cells also normalized. Exactly which active ingredients in Sideritis scardica (Greek mountain tea) have this effect has not yet been clearly clarified. Prof. Pahnke and his team are still researching this subject.
There are transport molecules in the brain that help cleanse the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, these transport molecules may no longer work properly and protein deposits may occur as a result. On the one hand, this can be due to the fact that the performance of the ABC transporters decreases, and on the other hand, to certain diseases that lead to changes in the blood vessels. This change in the brain can occur over several years and go unnoticed for a long time. So, the idea was to activate these ABC transporters. Because if the activity of the transporter only decreases by ten percent, four times the amount of protein deposits occurred in the mouse experiment.
Prof. Pahnke and his team were researching a plant substance that activates “garbage disposal” in the brain. Specific extracts from St. John’s wort, (80% ethanol), have shown this effect in mouse experiments. By activating the transporters, nerve cells in the brain can be saved and the progression of the disease slowed down. In the patient, the ingestion of the extract led to an improvement in the dementia symptoms, the ability to speak and the day-and-night rhythms.
The two plant extracts complement each other well since Greek mountain tea dissolves the plaques and these deposits are transported away by the St. John’s wort. In some patients, symptoms of the previous 6-9 months have been resolved after treatment. Early-stage patients can be stabilised. In patients with the onset of frontal lobe symptoms, the symptoms can be completely reversible if they occurred less than six months earlier. However, the short-term memory cannot be restored. This is located in the hippocampus (temporal lobe). The nerve cells have already died and cannot be restored.
You can find more information on this topic in our video series Part 10.
There is still no scientific data on this topic. A large-scale study over a longer period would be required in order to be able to make reliable statements here.
There is still no scientific data on this topic. However, from experiences reported by relatives, we know that the stabilisation of the current situation can be achieved.
Yes. The optimal mixture is St. John’s wort extract, (80% ethanolic), and extract from Greek mountain tea, (40% ethanolic). The tea infusion does not contain the same active ingredients or active ingredient concentration.
It is recommended to take 500-1000mg extract from Greek mountain tea and 900mg St. John’s wort extract.
We lack reliable data on this. Some report improvements after 4 weeks, others only see the effect later. It is best to test the intake over a period of 3 months.
There are no known interactions with other drugs in the case of Greek mountain tea. St. John’s wort stimulates liver activity. If you are taking other medications, talk to your doctor before taking St. John’s wort. As a rule, the body can be “dosed”. This means that only one tablet is taken for a week and the dose is increased slowly (2 tablets per day in week 2, 3 tablets per day in week 3, etc.).
There are no known side effects with Greek mountain tea. St. John’s wort can increase the sensitivity to light and should therefore be taken in the evening if possible.
Yes. There are reports from family carers, which you can find on Prof. Pahnke’s website. Some care facilities refuse to give an additional agent, especially since the use of plant extracts in Alzheimer’s disease has not yet reached the general public. If you are considering therapy with plant extracts from Greek mountain tea and St. John’s wort, it is best to speak to the nursing staff at the facility beforehand.
You can find this information in our blog post.