Author(s): Balamurugan K , Sathya B *, Anbazhagan S
Acetylcholinesterase, the key enzyme, terminates the impulse transmission in numerous cholinergic pathways by rapid hydrolysis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The enzyme inactivation by cholinesterase inhibitors increases the concentration of acetylcholine in the synapse eliciting neurohumoral transmission both in the central and peripheral nervous system. Several synthetic cholinesterase inhibitors like Tacrine, Donepezil and Galantamine were in existence with unpleasant side effects like weird dreams, muscle pain and gastrointestinal disturbances as well. Medicinal plants are found to be the valuable source of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors with minimal side effects. Many medicinal plants have been used traditionally for the treatment of various neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive impairments. The aim of the present review is to provide a comprehensive literature survey of plants that have been tested for acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity along with other numerous phytoconstituents, which may aid researchers in their study of natural products for management of number of central nervous system disorders.