Traditional and Clinical Research on Ashwagandha for Memory and Neuroprotection

Posted by:

Traditional Research on Ashwagandha for Memory and General Health

In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine system from India, Ashwagandha is revered as a top Rasayana, which are a special class of substances that promote longevity, happiness, and strengthen the mind and memory. The name Ashwagandha translates as ‘smell of horse’ and relates to the smell of ashwagandha root. Ingesting this herb is said to confer the strength and virility of a horse. (1)

It is said that use of Ashwagandha can be traced back as far as 3,000 years ago. Kids, adults, and the elderly used this herb as a tonic for general health. The specific benefits traditionally associated with ashwagandha are restoring energy and sexual vitality, balancing the nervous system, preventing debility in old age and emaciation in children, and even promoting better sleep. (2)

Clinical Research on Ashwagandha for Memory and Neuroprotection

Below are three particularly striking reviews and studies that were done with ashwagandha for brain support, memory, and the prevention of degradation of neurons.

Scientific basis for the use of Indian Ayurvedic medicinal plants in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders: ashwagandha

The scientific investigations concerning the best known and most scientifically investigated of these herbs, Ashwagandha will be discussed in detail in this review. Some of the major points on its use in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders are described within.
See Study


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) reverses β-amyloid1-42 induced toxicity in human neuronal cells: implications in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND)

Withania somnifera (WS) also known as ‘ashwagandha’ is used widely in Ayurvedic medicine as a nerve tonic and memory enhancer. However, there is a paucity of data on the potential neuroprotective effects of W.somnifera against β-Amyloid (1-42)-induced neuropathogenesis. In the present study, we have tested the neuroprotective effects of methanol:Chloroform (3:1) extract of ashwagandha against β-amyloid induced toxicity and HIV-1Ba-L (clade B) infection using a human neuronal SK-N-MC cell line. Our results showed that β-amyloid induced cytotoxic effects in SK-N-MC cells as shown by decreased cell growth when tested individually. Also, confocal microscopic analysis showed decreased spine density, loss of spines and decreased dendrite diameter, total dendrite and spine area in clade B infected SK-N-MC cells compared to uninfected cells. However, when ashwagandha was added to β-amyloid treated and HIV-1 infected samples, the toxic effects were neutralized. Further, the MTT cell viability assays and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) levels supported these observations indicating the neuroprotective effect of WS root extract against β-amyloid and HIV-1Ba-L (clade B) induced neuro-pathogenesis.
See Study


Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants

MATERiALS and METHODS: In this prospective, double-blind, multi-dose, placebo-controlled, crossover study, 20 healthy male participants were randomized to receive 250 mg two capsules twice daily of an encapsulated dried aqueous extract of roots and leaves of Withania somnifera or a matching placebo for a period of 14 days. Cognitive and psychomotor performance was assessed pre-dose (day 1) and at 3 hrs post-dose on day 15 using a battery of computerized psychometric tests. After a washout period of 14 days, the subjects crossed-over to receive the other treatment for a further period of 14 days as per prior randomization schedule. Same battery of test procedures were performed to assess cognitive and psychomotor performance.
RESULTS: Significant improvements were observed in reaction times with simple reaction, choice discrimination, digit symbol substitution, digit vigilance, and card sorting tests with Withania somnifera extract compared to placebo. However, no effect can be seen with the finger tapping test.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that Withania somnifera extract can improve cognitive and psychomotor performance and may, therefore, be a valuable adjunct in the treatment of diseases associated with cognitive impairment.
See Study


Conclusions

Over three thousand years of use of this powerful adaptogenic herb for mental health, coupled with modern research on ashwagandha for memory and neuroprotection, point to the fact of why this herb is considered one of the top herbs in Ayurvedic medicine and is quickly becoming one of the top herbs in Naturopathic care.

We love when traditional use and modern science show the same results. When we see this we know we are dealing with a very special and effective substance. If you are interested in natural methods to help protect your brain, nervous system, and memory then we highly encourage you try ashwagandha.

0
  Related Posts