Brain fog, chronic stress and memory loss can considerably impact your day-to-day life. Whether you are seeking stress and anxiety relief, or would like to support your cognitive health, you may benefit from introducing ashwagandha into your regimen.
This ancient adaptogenic herb (Withania somnifera) has been used for its stress-busting and brain-rejuvenating abilities for over 3,000 years. Additionally, modern-day research has extensively studied this herb to remedy neurological conditions and support memory, and confirmed its age-old use (1).
Emerging evidence continues to investigate the effects of ashwagandha on brain health. In particular, it is thought that ashwagandha may lower cortisol levels in the blood, which are released by the body during periods of stress. Chronic cortisol levels are detrimental to health, and can lead to cognitive decline. In clinical trials, daily supplementation of ashwagandha (600mg) significantly reduced blood cortisol levels, and symptoms of stress after just two months (2). Thus, ashwagandha may help reduce negative effects of stress on the brain, that can contribute to impaired cognition.
Preliminary research also suggests a potential effect of ashwagandha on enhancing memory and mental clarity (1). In a pilot study conducted on 50 adults with mild cognitive impairments, 600mg of daily ashwagandha supplementation significantly improved general memory, attention, and information-processing speed (1). These encouraging results may provide hope for individuals that are suffering from memory loss.
It is suggested that ashwagandha may enhance cognition due to its adaptogenic action, by regulating overall energy levels. However, the mechanisms of action remain unclear. Nonetheless, these novel findings may stimulate new trials to gain further insight into the potential benefits of ashwagandha on cognitive health. If you are seeking a supplement to relieve stress and enhance mental clarity, you may wish to consider this ancient remedy.
Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.
1) Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Bose S (2017), Efficacy and Safety of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. J Diet Suppl. 14(6):599-612. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970.
2) Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022.
The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.