Traditional Chinese medicine for dementia

Song Li, Zhengzhi Wu, Weidong Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In Western medicine, dementia refers to a spectrum of diseases affecting cognition, mental health, and physical abilities. Ancient medical literatures of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also recorded dementia-like symptoms, but described the disease from a totally distinct theoretical point of view. The earliest records of memory loss in ancient China can be traced back 2000 years earlier. In TCM, dementia can be attributed mainly to the Brain dystrophy, Spleen-Kidney weakness, Blood stasis, and Phlegm stagnation. Of interest, ancient Chinese physicians have proposed that dementia manifests as not only cognitive but also noncognitive symptoms including psychiatric disorders and sleep disturbance, which have been investigated widely nowadays in Western medicine. Various TCM prescriptions, herbal medicines, and acupunctures have also been proposed for dementia prevention and therapy. Some of these strategies are still used in current clinical practice. Reviewing and highlighting the unique TCM recognition of treating dementia may shed light on future dementia research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1071
Number of pages6
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • dementia
  • history
  • therapy
  • traditional Chinese medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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