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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2680409, 14 pages
Review Article

The Therapeutic Potential of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Diterpenes for Alzheimer’s Disease

Pharmacognosy Research Laboratories & Herbal Analysis Services UK, Chatham-Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK

Received 18 October 2015; Accepted 28 December 2015

Academic Editor: Ki-Wan Oh

Copyright © 2016 Solomon Habtemariam. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is one of the most economically important species of the family Lamiaceae. Native to the Mediterranean region, the plant is now widely distributed all over the world mainly due to its culinary, medicinal, and commercial uses including in the fragrance and food industries. Among the most important group of compounds isolated from the plant are the abietane-type phenolic diterpenes that account for most of the antioxidant and many pharmacological activities of the plant. Rosemary diterpenes have also been shown in recent years to inhibit neuronal cell death induced by a variety of agents both in vitro and in vivo. The therapeutic potential of these compounds for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is reviewed in this communication by giving special attention to the chemistry of the compounds along with the various pharmacological targets of the disease. The multifunctional nature of the compounds from the general antioxidant-mediated neuronal protection to other specific mechanisms including brain inflammation and amyloid beta (Aβ) formation, polymerisation, and pathologies is discussed.