Ayurvedic Medicines For Memory: When And How To Take?

By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD
Ayurveda explains many memory enhancing and intellect promoting medicines. All such formulations possess multiple ingredients. They not only boost memory, they also act as rejuvenators and deep penetratives by their own way of drug action.

On a closer look we can appreciate several hidden factors behind such formulations and proper time duration of administration plays very important role in drug action.

Choorna – herbal powders:
Saraswati choorna
Brahmi choorna etc should be given after the morning food so that quick penetration is possible along with the micro-nutrients of the breakfast. They are soothing and immune-modulators as well.

Vacha choorna,
Ashthanga avalehika choorna etc are to be administered 5-10 minutes prior to food intake; because these have unique property of kindling the digestive fire and they are deep penetratives.
But such formulations are to be administered only if the child has good body strtength or Kapha prakruti in nature (if not, stomach irritation can occur).

The decoctions (kashaya) and hot infusions (phanta)  like Mamsyadi kashaya, Balashwagandha kashaya etc are also used to enhance the memory.

But these are to be administrated in empty stomach preferably after defecation and 30 minutes prior to food/breakfast.

In case if the individual is inconvenient this can be taken in the evening  hours where the body (as well as mind) is ready to accept the memory enhancers followed by carminatives/digestives and intellect promoters.

Asava arishtha –
Ashwagandharishtha etc are useful in this context.

They should be avoided in empty stomach and better to administer in the night, during bed time. They are pacify the anxiety, relieve stress, soothe mind, tranquilize the mental behaviours etc and hence night is better. Or else morning after breakfast can be taken in the children who are not drowsy or dizzy .

Tablets (Vati) –
Brahmi vati, Medhya vati, Shankhapushpi ghanavati etc are most commonly used memory enhancers.

They are recommended to administer preferably 30-45 minutes after food during noon or night. As the drug takes time for dissociation on dissolution it is preferred to have when the food crosses small intestine so as to check the drug interaction with food.
If the tablet is taken by powdering the time duration of Choorna or Lehya can be considered.

Lehya (Linctus)-
Kooshmanda rasayana,
Brahma rasayana,
Ashwagandha rasayana are the drugs of choice in this respect.

They are practiced usually after the food intake.
But if the patient is willing or in a status of manipulation 10-15 gram can be administered during the time of Ahara sevana / Bhojana kala(lunch or dinner time) with less intake of food. This will facilitate quick and maximum absorption of the drug and hence quick result.

Ghrita (ghee)-
Medicated ghee preparations like Brahmi ghrita, Shankhapushpi ghrita, Saraswata ghrita, Kooshmanda ghrita, Ashwagandha ghrita etc are used with this benefit.

These preparations are used preferably in empty stomach in early morning along with lukewarm milk or water. As the medicated ghee are having the ability to cross the blood brain  barrier, they are potent in lipophilic drug action, it facilitates drug action with maximum bio availability in empty stomach.

Thus one should remember to adopt proper medicine intake time while administering the memory enhancers. Drugs will surely act; but to get the benefit of the drug to its maximum extent proper vehicle(adjuvant) and apt time duration have significant role.
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  1. Dr Krishnamurthy, would you please specify which medicines are best for each age group: children, teenagers (studying for exams), menopausal women, old age, in general forgetfulness, in protecting the memory before it starts to get weak, in an already disease state such as dementia etc. Also, how to choose the most suitable option: eg. saraswati churna, saraswatarishtam or saraswata ghee. Could you elaborate on this point please? Thank you. Namaste.

  2. Bravo! A very precise and informative article specially for people like me who are pharmacists. The ADME of the drugs and formulations given are very helpful. Keep up the good work.
    Loads of love and appreciation.

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