Ashwagandha intake linked to memory and attention benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© eskymaks / Getty Images
© eskymaks / Getty Images

Related tags ashwagandha Memory attention

Acute and repeated supplementation with liposomal ashwagandha may boost select cognitive effects, including memory, attention, vigilance and reaction time in healthy adults, says a new study.

Data from a 30-day supplementation trial indicated that a daily dose of 225 mg of Specnova’s NooGandha liposomal ashwagandha also decreased perceptions of tension and fatigue in healthy young men and women.

Importantly, given concerns around the botanical reported by some European countries​, the study found “ashwagandha supplementation either had no effect or more favorably improved clinical blood panels with no differences in reported perceptions of side effects,” wrote researchers from Texas A&M University and Increnovo LLC.

The study’s findings are published in Nutrients​.


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera​) has a history of use in Ayurvedic medicine that dates back as much as 4,000 years to the teaching of renowned scholar Punarvasu Atreya, and in subsequent works that make up the Ayurvedic tradition, according to a monograph from the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). The name of the herb derives from Sanskrit, and means “smells like a horse”, which refers to the strong smell of the root which is said to be redolent of horse sweat or urine.

Ashwagandha root is a well-known adaptogen—a substance believed to increase the body’s ability to adapt to different forms of stress.

According to HerbalGram’s Herb Market Report​, sales of herbal supplements with ashwagandha hit $111 million in the U.S. Mainstream Multi-Outlet Channel for 2022, an increase of 20% over the previous year. This surge saw ashwagandha leap to number 5 on the best-selling list in the mainstream channel. In 2019, the herb was only number 33 in this channel.

An additional $17.7 million in sales were reported from the Natural Channel (a decrease of 1.3% from 2020).

Study details

The researchers recruited 59 men and women with an average age of 22.7 to participate in their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or 225 mg per day of the liposomal ashwagandha for 30 days. The participants underwent a battery of cognitive tests after one dose (acute supplementation) and after repeated dosing for 30 days.

Results showed that, compared to baseline, ashwagandha supplementation was associated with improvements in word recall, choice reaction time, picture recognition, digit vigilance and measures of tension and fatigue. Compared to placebo, however, significant improvements were recorded for picture recognition (correct reaction time and overall reaction time) and fatigue.

“Collectively, these findings provide additional evidence that acute and longer periods of ashwagandha supplementation can improve measures of episodic memory, attention and vigilance, and executive function, as well as perceptions of tension and fatigue,” the researchers wrote.

“While these results are promising, additional research is warranted to evaluate the potential nootropic effects of ashwagandha at different dosing strategies, longer supplementation periods, older individuals to help maintain cognitive function as people age, and potential clinical applications in individuals experiencing stressful conditions, memory and/or cognitive decline.”

Source: Nutrients
2024, 16​(12), 1813; doi: 10.3390/nu16121813
“Acute and Repeated Ashwagandha Supplementation Improves Markers of Cognitive Function and Mood”
Authors: M. Leonard et al.


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