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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-112

Nootropic (medhya) effect of Bhāvita Śaṇkhapuṣpī tablets: A clinical appraisal

1 Department of Basic Principles Including Drug Research, I.P.G.T. and R.A., Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajya Kalpana Including Drug Research, I.P.G.T. and R.A., Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication18-Mar-2015

Correspondence Address:
Hetal Amin
Department of Basic Principle Including Drug Research, I.P.G.T. and R.A., Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar - 361 008, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0257-7941.153476

Clinical trial registration CTRI/2013/10/004100

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Background: Nootropic (medhya) potential of śaṅkhapuṣpī (Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy.) is reported in Ayurvedic literature and modern studies are now validating the same. In spite of plentiful preclinical researches already carried out during the past decades, only meager clinical efforts exploring its nootropic activity have been reported. Present clinical study is an attempt to evaluate the nootropic effect of Śaṅkhapuṣpī tablets.
Aims and Objective: To evaluate the nootropic effect of śaṅkhapuṣpī tablets prepared by three Bhāvanā (levigation) of its cūrṇa (powder) with its own Svarasa (fresh juice).
Materials and Methods: Thirty volunteers between the age 16 and 25 years participated in this single group pre-post study. Weschler's memory scale was adopted to collect data before (pre) and after (post) intervention period (2 months). Paired t
-test was used for analyzing the data.
Results: In auditory immediate test and delayed test, 41.03% and 48% improvement was found which statistically highly significant (<0.001). In visual immediate and delayed test 32.5% and 44.87% improvement was found respectively, which shows highly significant result (<0.001).
Conclusion: Results reveal that śaṅkhapuṣpī tablet shown highly significant results in improving memory, especially in long term memory loss in younger age group.

Keywords: Memory, nootropic, Shankhapushpi, tablet

How to cite this article:
Amin H, Sharma R, Vyas H, Vyas M, Prajapati P K, Dwivedi R. Nootropic (medhya) effect of Bhāvita Śaṇkhapuṣpī tablets: A clinical appraisal. Ancient Sci Life 2014;34:109-12

How to cite this URL:
Amin H, Sharma R, Vyas H, Vyas M, Prajapati P K, Dwivedi R. Nootropic (medhya) effect of Bhāvita Śaṇkhapuṣpī tablets: A clinical appraisal. Ancient Sci Life [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Mar 25];34:109-12. Available from: https://www.ancientscienceoflife.org/text.asp?2014/34/2/109/153476

  Introduction Top

Globally, there is a need to explore medicinal plants exhibiting ability to improve mental health. In the recent years, a number of nootropic herbs are reported to enhance mental abilities, concentration, cognitive function and intelligence, but data pertaining to their clinical screening are minimal. Medhya rasāyana comprises a major category of nootropic herbs that are indicated for all mental disorders in Ayurvedic classics. Medhya rasāyana drugs enhance the function of buddhi (intellect), decreases the rajas and tamas dośas and improves the functions of manas. Some herbs indicated for their medhya action are manḍūkaparṇi (Centella asciatica Linn.), yaṣṭimadhu (Glycirrhiza glabra Linn.), guḍūci (Tinospora cordifolia Wild. Miers) and śaṅkhapuṣpī (Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy.); in distinct dosage forms. [1] Śaṅkhapuṣpī, with flowers shaped like a śaṅkha (conch), which is one of Śiva's sacred instruments often used in ritual worship. [2] It has been used as a rejuvenator, anti-ageing agent, mental stimulant and tranquilizer. [3] Earlier preclinical studies on various extracts of śaṅkhapuṣpī reported significant results on learning behavior and memory enhancement activity [4] and it has been recommended for use as a brain tonic to promote intellect and memory and to alleviate nervous disorders and hypertension. [5] In spite of plentiful preclinical researches already carried out, only a few clinical studies exploring its nootropic activity are available.

The potency of a single or compound drugs can be further augmented by subjecting the raw drug to the Bhāvanā process, by levigating the cūrṇa (powder) with its own juice or decoction. [6] Bhāvanā saṃskāra can be helpful in developing pharmaco-therapeutically potent new molecules. Various herbs including śaṅkhapuṣpī have reported to become rasāyana through this process. [1]

Considering all these, present clinical study is executed to revalidate the classical concept of medhya rasāyana for śaṅkhapuṣpī and comprehend the impact of Bhāvanā in augmenting its therapeutic value. Śaṅkhapuśpī tablets were prepared by subjecting the cūrṇa to three Bhāvanā processes using its own svarasa.

  Materials and Methods Top

Source of data

Thirty physically healthy volunteers (18 male and 12 female) from Jamnagar city, Gujarat, who met the inclusion criteria, were included in the study.

Inclusion criteria

Physically healthy volunteers having complaints of poor memory were selected on the basis of smaraṇa śakti (recollection power). Age groups between 16 and 25 years (mean 22.5 ± 0.32) were randomly selected without any bar of race, religion and sex.

Exclusion criteria

Patients with any type of known psychiatric disorders or any systemic diseases were excluded from the study.

Study design

In this single group pre-post study, written informed consent was taken from each volunteer willing to participate before the start of the study. For data collection, Weschler's memory scale (WMS) tests were carried out before (pre) and after (post) 2 months intervention. Institutional Ethical Clearance obtained from Ethical Committee of the I.P.G.T. and R.A., Jamnagar, and the study has been registered at CTRI (Number: CTRI/2013/10/004100).

Preparation of Śan.khapus.pī tablet

Śaṅkhapuṣpī cūrṇa was given three Bhāvanā of śaṅkhapuṣpī svarasa and the tablets of 500 mg prepared in Pharmacy, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar. The confirmatory test for completion of Bhāvanā was done as per subhāvita features narrated in classics. [7] Bhāvanā is a specific procedure in which a powdered drug of herbal or mineral origin is thoroughly mixed with the liquid media (expressed juice, decoction etc.) and staged intermittent trituration followed by drying (preferably in sunlight). The process is carried out till the attainment of subhāvita features (confirmatory test for completion of levigation) and complete absorption of liquid into the powder and drying of the mixture. [8] Prior to clinical use, prepared bhāvita drug was subjected to pharmacognostical and phytochemical evaluation in the laboratories of the institute. [9]


Four tablets (each 500 mg) of śaṅkhapuṣpī were given at udānakala (2 h after food) with milk for duration of 60 days.

Criteria for assessment

Subtests of WMS are verbal retention for similar pair, verbal retention for dissimilar pair, auditory immediate (AI), auditory delayed (AD), visual immediate (VI), visual delayed (VD), auditory recognition and visual recognition. Specific scoring pattern was developed for assessment of the effect of therapy. Scores ranging from 0 to 5 were given to each subtest. All tests were performed as per the proforma made by the scholar and according to the performance of the individual, the scoring pattern was designed. The final effect was assessed in terms of no improvement, mild improvement, moderate improvement and remarkable improvement. Total effect of therapy was assessed as follows:

  • Complete improvement: 100% improvement (score between 32 and 40)
  • Marked improvement: Score between 24 and 31
  • Moderate improvement: Score between 16 and 23
  • Mild improvement: Score between 8 and 15)
  • Unchanged: Score between 0 and 8.

  Results and Discussion Top

Of the 30 volunteers enrolled in the study, all completed the study. All volunteers had complained of memory loss and lack of concentration while 80.6% volunteers had disturbed sleep. Disturbed or lack of sleep has very close relation with memory loss as sleep is an active, repetitive and reversible behavior serving several different functions such as repair and growth and has functions in learning and memory. [10] Inability to relax was found in 92.7% of volunteers. 55.6% volunteers had depression and anxiety was found in 78.6% of volunteers. One of the causative factors for memory loss is depression [11] [Figure 1]. Statistical data on WMS subtests and the total effect of therapy are illustrated in [Table 1] and [Table 2] respectively. All these symptoms in this age group may be because of educational and professional stress. [12] Stress vitiates cancalatva guṇa (restless quality) of vāta[13] which hampers concentration power and thereby leading to other symptoms related to memory loss. Śaṅkhapuṣpī has given highly significant results in AI, AD, VI and VD tests. Ayurvedic texts emphasize that even a small quantity of drug will exert amplified multiple action if it has been subjected to proper Bhāvanā. The highly promising results observed may be due to amplifying effect of Bhāvanā process on śaṅkhapuṣpī cūrṇa using its own juice. Acārya Caraka has expounded the medhya guṇa (nootropic property) of Śaṅkhapuṣpī as "medhya viśeṣeṇa ca śaṅkhapuṣpī." [13] The present study validates the statement of Caraka.
Figure 1: Complaints of volunteers

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Table 1: Statistical data on WMS subtests

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Table 2: Total effect of therapy

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Description of the probable mode of action of the herb is quite difficult, and a little attempt is made here. In memory impairment, Śaṅkhapuṣpī by virtue of its tridoṣa śāmaka property [6] balances pitta and vāta and improves smṛti. At psychological level, functioning of dhī (intellect), dhṛti (determination) and smṛti are impaired due to imbalance of rajas and tamas doṣa of manas, [6] At somatic level, tridoṣa are vitiated, particularly prāṇa, udāna and vyāna vāta, sādhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha. Various psychological and somatic symptoms are produced as an outcome of continuous doṣa dūṣya sammūrcchana. Any therapy aiming at smṛti vardhana, should essentially involve the means to break above samprāpti (pathogenesis). It can be said that the medhya effect [6] and tridoṣaśāmaka guṇa of śaṅkhapuṣpī proved effective for smṛti improvement. Śaṅkhapuṣpī seems to help normalize rajas and tamas doṣas of manas[6] by its tridoṣaśāmaka guṇa, controlling vāta that is the regulator of manas. [6] Śaṅkhapuṣpī increases self-awareness besides decreasing āvaraṇa (covering/obstruction) over manas, and therefore retention power of manas is increased. Because of this, indriyābhigraha (control over senses) and svanigraha (self-control) karma of manas[6] function appropriately and manas can recognize subjects properly. Therefore, it can be claimed that the medhya guṇa of śaṅkhapuṣpī improves all three process of buddhi that is, dhī, dhṛti and smṛti, which affect specially in long-term memory by helping to recollect subjects after long duration.

Limitation and future directions

The present study is a preliminary attempt to validate the medhya effect of śaṅkhapuṣpī as described in Ayurveda. Since sample size and duration of the study are small, broader studies are required to re-assess results and to explore those aspects that remain untouched. Different age groups can be selected to investigate its effect on different age group. Future studies can be done by providing more Bhāvanā, to augment the potency of the drug. Present study provides much safer and affordable therapeutic option in augmenting memory. In difficult conditions where conventional treatment options are beyond the affordability of patients, therapies of this type can be hopeful and promising.

  Conclusion Top

Overall results for Śaṅkhapuṣpī tablet were significant for all the subtests of WMS. For long term retention (medhā) and recollection (smṛti), bhāvita śaṅkhapuṣpī tablet has shown highly significant results, because of its rasāyana, medhya and tridoṣaśāmaka properties proved to be more useful. This study seems to be first of its kind in analyzying the effects on long-term memory. Nurturing these types of researches on nootropic herbs, in the long run, hopefully, will help bring solutions in public health initiatives to boost health care delivery system in the area of mental health care.

  References Top

Paradakara HS. Astanga Hridaya: Sanskrit commentary. 4 th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrita Sansthana; 2010.  Back to cited text no. 1
Yoganarasimhan SN. Medicinal Plants of India. Bangalore: Cyber Media; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 2
Prasad GC, Gupta RC, Srivastava DN, Tandon AK, Wahi RS, Udupa KN. Effect of Shankhpushpi on experimental stress. J Res Indian Med 1974;9:19-27.  Back to cited text no. 3
Nahata A, Patil UK, Dixit VK. Effect of Convulvulus pluricaulis Choisy. on learning behaviour and memory enhancement activity in rodents. Nat Prod Res 2008;22:1472-82.  Back to cited text no. 4
Nahata A, Patil UK, Dixit VK. Anxiolytic activity of Evolvulus alsinoides and Convulvulus pluricaulis in rodents. Pharm Biol 2009;47:5:444-51.  Back to cited text no. 5
Acharya YT. Charaka Samhita: Sanskrit commentary. 7 th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sharma S. Rasa Tarangini: Hindi commentary. 11 th ed. New Delhi: Chaukhambha Sanskrita Sansthana; 2009.  Back to cited text no. 7
Sharma S. Rasa Tarangini, Taranga. 2 nd ed., Version. 49-51, 11 th Reprint edition. New Delhi: Motilalal Banarsidas; 2009. p. 21.  Back to cited text no. 8
Amin H, Vyas HA, Vyas MK, Harisha CR. A comparative pharmacognostical and phytochemical study of Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) tablet with bhavana and without bhavana. Int J Res Ayurveda Pharm 2011;2:1457-60.  Back to cited text no. 9
Krueger JM, Obal F Jr. Sleep function. Front Biosci 2003;8:d511-9.  Back to cited text no. 10
Mcnally RJ. Memory and anxiety disorders. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1997;352:1755-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Available from: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/stress. [Last accessed on 2013 Oct 20].  Back to cited text no. 12
Sharma PV. Dravyaguna Vijnana: Hindi Commentary. 7 th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Bharatiya Academy; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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