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Welsh farmer produces ‘natural’ dementia drug by ditching sheep for daffodils

Welsh farmer produces ‘natural’ dementia drug by ditching sheep for daffodils

A sheep farmer in the Welsh Black Mountains has turned his farm into fields of yellow daffodils, after a drug derived from the flower was found to be effective in slowing the progress of dementia.

Certain varieties of daffodils produce galantamine, and their ability to do this increases when they are grown at higher altitudes and in harsher weather, causing them to flower later.

Galantamine works by inhibiting an enzyme that leads to the cognitive impairment found in people with Alzheimer’s.

Kevin Stephens started up Agroceutical Products on the family farm in Powys, after reading about how daffodils can produce natural galantamine.

Mr Stephens is motivated by a desire to give people with dementia a better future and also to give his family an additional sustainable farming income.

He said: “When we started doing this, people thought we were completely nuts. But it is starting to get some credibility and people are taking us seriously now.”

His farm is now producing enough galantamine to treat over 9,000 people with dementia.

Mr Stephens is hoping to encourage other hill farms in Wales to get involved saying it has dual benefits, bringing in a sustainable income for the farming community as well as helping combat a horrible disease, which is now the UK’s biggest killer.

 

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