Can Ashwagandha Reverse Alzheimer's Disease?

Maylin Rodriguez Paez RN

Ashwagandha is one of the most popular herbs in Ayurvedic medicine.

Native to Asia, it’s been used for thousands of years for different ailments including insomnia, anxiety, and even sexual dysfunction.

Research shows ashwagandha may also have potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease. It clears amyloid plaque, a key feature of the condition.

Ashwagandha Reverses Cognitive Deficits

Building on previous work which demonstrated the neuro-regenerative properties of ashwagandha, researchers tested its effect on Alzheimer’s disease.

A group of rats with the condition were administered a placebo or ashwagandha root for 30 days. After 20 days, the rats receiving the ashwagandha started exhibiting improved cognitive function.

They were able to navigate through maze tests from which they had difficulty prior to supplementation. This demonstrated an improvement in spatial memory and learning.1

In addition, they experienced a reduction in amyloid plaque in different parts of the brain including the cortex and the hippocampus, the area in which memories are stored.

Ashwagandha: A Potential Brain Drug?

Current medications for Alzheimer’s disease target symptoms, but fall short of addressing the underlying contributing factors. They do not reverse its progression or provide a cure. Ashwagandha, on the other hand, attacks multiple aspects of the disease.

Human clinical trials are needed, but so far cell culture and animal studies show promising results. Here are some of the findings showing it may have potential as a future Alzheimer’s medication:

  • It restores synapses, the junctions where nerve cells communicate with other cells, after amyloid-induced injury.2 One characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is decreased synaptic density.
  • It supports the growth of dendrites, the short branched extensions of a nerve cell.2
  • It regenerates axons, the long threadlike part of a nerve which transmits impulses.2
  • It increases neurite growth.2
  • It protects against glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, which destroys brain cells and plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease.3
  • It decreases reaction times in human clinical trials.4
  • It protects brain cells from beta-amyloid-induced cell damage.5
  • It guards brain cells against free radicals that are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.6
  • It inhibits acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. Current medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease function via this mechanism.7

References:

  1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 February 28; 109(9): 3510–3515. 
  2. Eur J Neurosci. 2006 Mar;23(6):1417-26. 
  3. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37080. 
  4. Pharmacognosy Res. 2014 Jan;6(1):12-8. 
  5. Phytother Res. 2010 Jun;24(6):859-63. 
  6. Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1567-74. 
  7. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004 Nov;52(11):1358-61.

25 comments :

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! :)

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - You're welcome!

Angie NaturePassionInspirationHolistic said...

amazing ♥ and thank you for the "addthis" button ... I shared on Blogger

Life Extension said...

Angie NaturePassionInspirationHolistic - Thanks for sharing!

Marcus B said...

Ant correlative effect on MS?

Marcus B said...

Any correlative effect on MS and other neurological/ immune conditions?

Marcus B said...

Any correlative effect on MS and other neurological/ immune conditions?

Life Extension said...

Marcus B - There is little research on the topic. One study shows ashwagandha protects nerves from toxicity and thus may help in diseases such as MS: http://1.usa.gov/1CvdZSh

Anonymous said...

Are they doing human trials in thtse US on Alzheimer patients?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - We're not aware of any at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I would like to buy some of this for my mother..

Anonymous said...

Why not try it on the people who already suffer from this disease? I have a loved one who needs healed.

Anonymous said...

What impact would this medication have on FTD (frontal temporal dementia)?

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - Call our health advisors for suggestions regarding dementia. They'd be happy to provide product information: 1-800-226-2370. Also, consider emailing them: advisory@lef.org

Life Extension said...

Anonymous- Haven't seen research for ashwagandha and frontal temporal dementia.

Anonymous said...

I need to research this with use of SSRI drugs...want to use for insomnia

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - We haven't seen information showing ashwagandha has significant interactions with SSRI drugs. Ashwagandha may cause drowsiness when used with sedatives. It's best to take medications at least two hours apart from supplements to avoid interactions.

Anonymous said...

Anyone here have any personal experience/results using Ashwaganda as a supportive treatment for Alzheimer's? If so, please weigh in.....

Esmeralda Acosta said...

Wonderful useful info..... I have to add that the most amazing part is it turned the rats in the study into mice!

Life Extension said...

Esmeralda Acosta- Good catch! ;-) We're glad you enjoyed it!

anglena kat said...


Developing Alzheimer diseases is everyone's worst nightmare. It is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder which erases memories, takes the power of speech with it and even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. It can affect you mentally and physically both. If you or any of your loved ones suffering from this disorder and you are searching some effective solution, you can try Best Home Remedies for Alzheimer . Ayurvedic remedies are considered best for any type of disorder and illness as compared to drugs. So, you can also try Ayurvedic Remedies for Alzheimer for better and effective results.

Edwina Rozelle said...

How would one take this? Amount? Type? Liquid? Capsules?

Life Extension said...

Edwina Rozelle - We encourage you to call our Wellness Specialists for free at 1-800-226-2370 to discuss this in detail.

Elizabeth McGlone said...

Hi. If someone has Alzheimer's, what dosage might seem reasonable? I notice this herb can be used for different things. I'd like to give it to my husband, who is in the early stages of memory loss. I've ordered one bottle from your site today, and it shows a standard dosage of one capsule. But should it be more for someone with Alzheimer's? Thanks for any help you might be able to give on this.

Life Extension said...

Elizabeth McGlone - Hello. We cannot say that any supplement can cure or prevent a specific health condition. We encourage you to discuss dosage and supplementation with your husband's doctor. You can also call our Wellness Specialists for free at 1-800-226-2370 to discuss any of your questions. :)

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