Neuroprotection' means preserving the function and structure of neurons and salvaging neurons threatened by disease or injury. Neuroprotection is considered an adjunctive treatment option for neurodegenerative disorders. Oxidative stress is a major culprit in neurological disorders; hence one of the current of treatment strategies includes use of antioxidants. Plants are a rich source of antioxidant phytoconstituents. One such plant - Allium cepa L., or onion, (family Alliaceae) is a potent antioxidant. In our laboratory we have explored and successfully demonstrated the neuroprotective effect of extracts of onions in animal models of ischemic stroke, diabetic neuropathy and neuropathic pain. In pre and post- ischemic stroke model the methanol extract prepared from the outer scales of onion bulbs (MEOS) prevented memory loss and motor in-coordination, reduced oxidative stress and cerebral infarct size (1-2). The MEOS also prevented development of diabetic neuropathy (DN) as well as showed improvement after the onset of DN (3). MEOS of red variety of onions have also shown significant improvement in chronic constriction induced model of neuropathic pain. Red onions with higher amounts of flavonoids as compared to the white onions produced more significant neuroprotection. Also the extract of outer scales of red variety demonstrated the most significant neuroprotective effect (4).The part of onions that is generally discarded - the outer scales of the bulbs, have great potential for prevention as well as for treatment of neuronal disorders. Thus, this commonly used vegetable maybe developed as a valuable neuroprotective agent.
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