Ashwagandha Benefits for Brain Health
by Sage Dammers
Ashwagandha for Cognitive Health
If you're looking for a natural way to optimize both short term mental performance and long term cognitive health, you'll want to take a serious look at ashwagandha. The root of this plant has been used in traditional Ayurvedic herbalism for centuries and has come to be known in the modern world as the ultimate adaptogen. Most people who are familiar with ashwagandha think of it for it's benefits for energy, endurance, anxiety relief and healthy hormone support. But when it comes to cognitive health, ashwagandha possesses some truly extraordinary benefits.
Strengthening the Myelin
The myelin sheath is a fatty substance that coats the nerves in the brain and throughout the body, protecting the and helping them to work better. The healthier the myelin sheath is, the faster signals can travel along the nerves. One of the active compounds in ashwagandha known as Withanoside IV has been shown in animal models to increase myelin levels.
Increasing Acetylcholine Levels
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is used in communication between brain cells, helping us to think and learn. It's well known that in Alzheimer's, acetylcholine function sharply declines. Interestingly, by blocking a specific enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, ashwagandha can actually help to increase acetylcholine levels.
Human Research Results
In a study from 2017 published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, 50 adults with mild cognitive impairment either took 300mg of ashwagandha extract twice a day or a placebo for 8 weeks. The ashwagandha group demonstrated improvements in both immediate and general memory. They also showed improvements in executive function. This is a specific set of mental skills including self-control, planning, focus, remembering instructions and managing multiple tasks. To top it off, the ashwagandha group was found to have better sustained attention and information processing speeds.
Find it in our Functional Chocolates!
It's so exciting to see modern science continuing to confirm what wise men and women have known about these powerful herbs for thousands of years! Ashwagandha is one of our favorite herbs and you'll find it in our shop as an individual extract powder (which is both surprisingly mild in flavor and high in potency) and in our Tranquility, Energy and Focus Chocolates.