Posted on Mon, 13 Mar 17
The first clinical study of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in mild cognitive impairment confirms its traditional use to improve memory.
Ashwagandha has a long history of use in the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine for improving mental health including memory and cognition. But despite preclinical studies indicating cognitive and memory enhancing activity, no clinical studies have been conducted until now.
A study was conducted in adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a common precursor of Alzheimer’s disease. who received 300 mg of ashwagandha extract (containing 5% withanolides) twice daily over 8-weeks.
Compared to placebo, ashwagandha produced significant enhancement in a battery of cognitive tests designed to assess memory, executive function and attention and information-processing speed. Based on their findings the researchers concluded that “ashwagandha may be useful in enhancing immediate and general memory, executive function, attention, and information processing speed in people with MCI.”
“Ashwagandha root has been found to possess antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, anxiolytic, and immunomodulating activities,” noted the study investigators. “Plant-derived compounds from ashwagandha have shown significant potential as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which would support its utility for the treatment of MCI and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Choudhary D, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Withania somnifera L Dunal Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 2017, DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970