Neurological disorders are important causes of morbidity and mortality around the world. The increasing prevalence of neurological disorders, associated with an aging population, has intensified the societal burden associated with these diseases, for which no effective treatment strategies currently exist. Therefore, the identification and development of novel therapeutic approaches, able to halt or reverse neuronal loss by targeting the underlying causal factors that lead to neurodegeneration and neuronal cell death, are urgently necessary. Plants and other natural products have been explored as sources of safe, naturally occurring secondary metabolites with potential neuroprotective properties. The secondary metabolites α- and β-asarone can be found in high levels in the rhizomes of the medicinal plant Acorus calamus
(L.). α- and β-asarone exhibit multiple pharmacological properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, anticancer, and neuroprotective effects. This paper aims to provide an overview of the current research on the therapeutic potential of α- and β-asarone in the treatment of neurological disorders, particularly neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as cerebral ischemic disease, and epilepsy. Current research indicates that α- and β-asarone exert neuroprotective effects by mitigating oxidative stress, abnormal protein accumulation, neuroinflammation, neurotrophic factor deficit, and promoting neuronal cell survival, as well as activating various neuroprotective signalling pathways. Although the beneficial effects exerted by α- and β-asarone have been demonstrated through in vitro and in vivo animal studies, additional research is required to translate laboratory results into safe and effective therapies for patients with AD, PD, and other neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.
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