Ashwagandha for Cognitive Function

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Key Points

  • Ashwagandha induced notable improvements in cognitive and memory function in those with mild cognitive impairment.
  • Those who took ashwagandha experiences greater improvements in memory, sustained attention, information-processing speed, and executive function compared to placebo.
  • Ashwagandha contains sedative properties which are associated with its brain-boosting powers like improving cognitive function and relieving stress and sleeping problems.

Ashwagandha is herb which has been an important part of Ayurvedic medicine since early history. It is literally translated as “smells like a horse,” due to its strong smell and because it provides the stamina and strength of a horse.

The root and the leaves are most often used for medicinal purposes.  Ashwagandha is considered as rasayana herb in Ayurvedic tradition, meaning that it promotes longevity and youth. In brief, it is a herb with a wide plethora of health benefits, such as managing stress due to its adaptogenic properties.

According to to the American Botanical Council, “[I]t also is believed to be quite helpful to the elderly by providing energy and relieving pain, inflammation, and nervous debility.”

Ashwagandha May Improve Memory and Cognitive Function

Memory improvement is one of the most popular ashwagandha`s uses, the root in particular. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements has studied the use of ashwagandha extract for boosting memory and cognitive function in 50 people suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

MCI is defined as decline in cognitive abilities that is linked with an increased risk of more serious dementia, such as Alzheimer`s disease.  The subjects were given either ashwagandha root extract or a placebo extract for 8 weeks.  Those who took the ashwagandha extract had greater improvements compared to the placebo group, including in the areas below:

  • Immediate and general memory
  • Executive function
  • Sustained attention
  • Information-processing speed

The researchers attributed the memory benefits to ashwagandha`s sedative properties, noting that they “may be indirectly involved in improving memory and cognition in human subjects, as stress, anxiety and sleep disorders can affect normal cognitive function.”

It also helps slow down the deterioration of brain cells in those with dementia by repairing brain cell damage and rebuilding neuronal synapses. Thanks to its ability to fight emotional and mental stress, it helps reduce depression too.

Ashwagandha May Buffer Some of the Effects of Sleep Deprivation, Stress

It has been scientifically shown that ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, which make a potent sleep aid which manages sleep deprivation-induced stress and functional impairments.

“The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance [toward] stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”

Ashwagandha: An All-Around Health Tonic

In the journal Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, ashwagandha is described as an “elixir” which is utilized not only to increase longevity but also to “normalize physiological functions, disturbed by chronic stress, through correction of imbalances in the neuroendocrine and immune systems.”

“Ashwagandha is regarded as tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic and stimulant,” note researchers in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“Ashwagandha is commonly available as a churna, a fine sieved powder that can be mixed with water, ghee (clarified butter) or honey. It enhances the function of the brain and nervous system and improves the memory.

It improves the function of the reproductive system promoting a healthy sexual and reproductive balance. Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body’s resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body’s defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.”

Ashwagandha Tea

  • Take two teaspoons of dried ashwagandha root
  • Dip it in 3 1/2 cups boiling water
  • Boil for 15 minutes
  • Remove the root from the liquid
  • Strain to
  • Consume 1/4 cup twice a day

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/05/11/ashwagandha-improves-memory-cognitive-function.aspx

http://doctormurray.com/new-research-shows-special-extract-of-ashwaganda-protects-key-area-of-the-brain/

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