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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 896873, 22 pages
Review Article

Pharmacological Effects of Active Compounds on Neurodegenerative Disease with Gastrodia and Uncaria Decoction, a Commonly Used Poststroke Decoction

Molecular Chinese Medicine Laboratory, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong

Received 27 August 2013; Accepted 17 September 2013

Academic Editors: C.-L. Hsieh, B.-Y. Zeng, and K. Zhao

Copyright © 2013 Stanley C. C. Chik et al. 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.


Neurodegenerative diseases refer to the selective loss of neuronal systems in patients. The diseases cause high morbidity and mortality to approximately 22 million people worldwide and the number is expected to be tripled by 2050. Up to now, there is no effective prevention and treatment for the neurodegenerative diseases. Although some of the clinical therapies target at slowing down the progression of symptoms of the diseases, the general effectiveness of the drugs has been far from satisfactory. Traditional Chinese medicine becomes popular alternative remedies as it has been practiced clinically for more than thousands of years in China. As neurodegenerative diseases are mediated through different pathways, herbal decoction with multiple herbs is used as an effective therapeutic approach to work on multiple targets. Gastrodia and Uncaria Decoction, a popular TCM decoction, has been used to treat stroke in China. The decoction contains compounds including alkaloids, flavonoids, iridoids, carotenoids, and natural phenols, which have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antiapoptotic effects. In this review, we will summarize the recent publications of the pharmacological effects of these five groups of compounds. Understanding the mechanisms of action of these compounds may provide new treatment opportunities for the patients with neurodegenerative diseases.