The ingredients in this experimental brain treatment may be better known to enhance cooking, not cognition.

Chinese scientists have borrowed three ingredients from its traditional medicine practice — a 3,000-year-old approach that aims to regulate the flow of energy in the body — and used modern pharmaceutical technology to devise a formula to tackle dementia, which has no cure.

The resulting blend of ginkgo biloba, ginseng and saffron extracts, called sailuotong (SLT), is due to enter a late-stage study in Melbourne this month, and a larger clinical trial to validate its impact is slated to begin in China later this year.