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One Dose of this Supplement Enhances Attention and Memory

31 October 2022
Giulio Prisco


Scientists at Texas A&M University, University of Wisconsin, and consulting company Increnovo LLC, have evaluated the effects of acute (one-time) Ashwagandha extract ingestion on mental well-being and executive cognitive functions. Those functions include general attention, sustained attention, attentional shifting, and working memory.

Ashwagandha has been reported to decrease stress, enhance mood, and improve cognitive function. However, whether acute ashwagandha supplementation improves memory and cognitive function has not been rigorously demonstrated so far.

“Early studies with repeated ashwagandha supplementation in healthy populations showed improvements in cognitive performance, however, it is currently unknown if a one-time supplementation with ashwagandha has already beneficial effects on cognition,” said Increnovo scientist Ralf Jäger as reported by “In our proof-of-concept study we evaluated the effects of acute ashwagandha ingestion.”

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a plant found or grown in many regions, including India and Sri Lanka. It is also found in high-altitude areas such as the Himalayas.

Ashwagandha has been used for over 3000 years in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been described as a rejuvenator “that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness.” It has also been described as a “royal herb,” due to its rejuvenating neurological, immune energy-enhancing, endocrine, and reproductive effects.

There are also reports that Ashwagandha has been used in the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine to enhance memory, and improve cognition and physical performance. It has been suggested that Ashwagandha normalizes physiological processes in times of increased stress.

In a paper published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the scientists describe the methods and results of a study with 13 healthy participants.

First, the participants were administered a set of cognitive tests. Then, the participants ingested 400 mg of either placebo or Ashwagandha extract. Then, the participants were administered cognitive tests every hour for 6 hours.

Finally, after 4 days, the participants repeated the experiment while receiving the remaining supplement. Those who previously received Ashwagandha extract now received placebo, and vice versa. The data were statistically analyzed.

The set of cognitive tests included the Berg-Wisconsin Card Sorting Task test of reaction times and accuracy. They included the Go/No-Go test of sustained attention. They included the Sternberg Task Test of reaction time, accuracy, short-term and working memory. And they included the Psychomotor Vigilance Task Test of sustained attention and reaction times.

Based on analysis of the data, the scientists conclude that one-time ingestion of 400 mg of Ashwagandha extract enhanced sustained attention. It also increased short-term memory and working memory.

According to the scientists, the results of this study provide the first clinical evidence for some of the cognitive benefits of Ashwagandha. In healthy persons, one-time supplementation with Ashwagandha can improve certain aspects of cognitive performance.

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