Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Graduation: Potential therapeutic benefits from mint

Mint is often associated with fresh breath or as a tasty herb to serve with lamb but the potential for extracts from this plant to offer a neuroprotective benefit for Alzheimer’s disease has been examined by a Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) PhD Graduate.

Dr Doaa HanafyDr Doaa Hanafy from the Charles Sturt, School of Biomedical Sciences and Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation studied extracts from mint, or Mentha taxa (Lamiaceae) against a number of factors implicated in development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Plants from the Lamiaceae have been used traditionally to improve memory, suggesting neuroprotective or curative potential,” Dr Hanafy said.

Samples from 19 different types of mint were screened in laboratory cultures to understand their chemical composition, antioxidant capacity and neuroprotective potential.

Dr Hanafy said the research findings suggest that mint extracts can have a potential neuroprotective effect and can also target multiple causes of Alzheimer’s disease but much more research is needed.

“It opens up new areas for exploration of mint extracts such as their toxicity, bioavailability and their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach the neurons in the brain.

“This study used in vitro and ex vivo methods, but animal studies then clinical trials are still required to confirm our findings and to assess the safety and efficacy of mint extracts.”

The research was funded by Cultural Affairs and Missions Sector, Ministry of Higher Education, Egypt, and the Charles Sturt Faculty of Science.

Dr Hanafy will be awarded her PhD during a graduation ceremony at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga at 2 pm on Friday 13 December.

Dr Hanafy said she will be pleased her family, including her mother from Egypt, will be there to celebrate the milestone.

“I want to thank my husband, my daughter and my mother for their support and encouragement and my supervisors for their endless support,” Dr Hanafy said.

Dr Hanafy was supervised by Professor Rod Hill, Dr Paul Prenzler and Dr Geoffrey Burrows.