Ashawagandha (Withania somnifera) is very revered herb of the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine as a Rasayana (tonic). Rasayana is described as an herbal or metallic preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness. It is used for various kinds of disease processes and specially as a nervine tonic. Considering these facts many scientific studies were carried out. It has a Cognition Promoting Effect and was useful in children with memory deficit and in old age people loss of memory. It was also found useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzeimer’s diseases. It has GABA mimetic effect and was shown to promote formation of dendrites.
The brains of patients suffering from other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease shows the atrophy of neuritis and synaptic loss which has been observed as a significant part of the etiology. Many studies shows that Ashwagandha slows, stops, reverses or removes neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss. Therefore Ashwagandha can be used to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases at any stage of the disease, even before a person has been diagnosed and is still in the state of mild forgetfulness, etc.
According to one of the research done by National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) have shown that extract from the roots of Ashwagandha can provide cure for Alzheimer’s disease. NBRC scientists found it can reverse memory loss and may prove to be an effective cure for the disease in humans. Also a recent study using a standardized model of human Parkinson’s disease, Ashwagandha extract reversed all the parameters of Parkinson’s-type neurodegeneration significantly and in a dose-dependent manner.
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. 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.