Rosmarinic acid (RosA) is an ester of caffeic acid and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylactic acid. RosA has a number of beneficial biological activities, including antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress is recognized as a common factor in many neurodegenerative diseases and is a proposed mechanism for age-related degenerative processes as a whole. RosA has shown antioxidative action, acting as a scavenger of free radicals. RosA protects neurons from oxidative stress, significantly attenuated hydrogen peroxide-induced reactive oxygen species generation, and apoptotic cell death and could contribute at least in part to neuroprotective effects. RosA has also been shown to suppress immunoglobulin responses and inflammatory responses of polymorphonuclear leukocytes which may explain its effectiveness at treating seasonal allergic rhinoconjuctivitis in human clinical trials. The anti-inflammatory effects of RosA along with its immunomodulatory effects may also make it a novel agent for the treatment of auto-immune disorders. This review is focused on the effect of RosA on both immunological and neurological systems and its potential as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of associated conditions, especially those in which oxidative stress is a factor.
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