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Can rosemary help protect your eyesight?

By on May 15, 2013

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Can rosemary help protect your eyesight?

Researchers have found that a compound found in the herb rosemary can help to keep optimum vision and protect against age related macular degeneration. So read on to find out how this marvellous herb can help to protect your eyesight.

The study was published the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, and was led by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham). They specifically looked at carnosic acid, which is a component of rosemary.

The team found that carnosic acid protects retinas from degeneration and toxicity in cell culture. These findings indicate that carnosic acid may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of diseases affecting the outer retina and age-related macular degeneration.

Age-related macular degeneration is a condition which is characterised by wear and tear to the macula region of the eye, which is located on the retina. The macula area of the eye allows us to see fine detail and gives us colour vision. The wear and tear here leads to visual impairment and loss of central vision.

There are many potential causes of this condition and many previous studies have found that age-related macular degeneration might be halted or improved by antioxidants. Antioxidants work by neutralising the harmful effects of free radicals.

Free radicals can be formed by factors such as exposure to radiation (including over exposure to the sun’s rays), cigarette smoke, air pollution, exercise, processed foods, household cleaners and stress. The body also produces free radicals through various metabolic processes such as the breakdown of stored fat for use as an energy source.

The team of researchers had earlier discovered that carnosic acid can protect against brain inflammation.

Lipton indicated that more developments are in the pipeline, “We’re now developing improved derivatives of carnosic acid and related compounds to protect the retina and other brain areas from a number of degenerative conditions, including age-related macular degeneration and various forms of dementia.”