Shankhpushpi (botanical name, Convolvulus pluricaulis; also known as Sankhaphuli, Shankhini, Samkhapushpi, Sadaphuli, and Shankhapushpi) is a plant used in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient Indian medical system that combines natural products with lifestyle approaches. It has been used for improving memory and cognitive function, reducing stress and anxiety, and to treat conditions such as insomnia and diabetes. Although preclinical studies suggest that shankhpushpi has memory-enhancing, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory effects, human data from well-controlled, rigorously designed clinical trials are currently lacking. Shankhpushpi is generally safe when used according to recommendations, though it may lower blood pressure and interact with some medications.
A few open-label clinical trials have been carried out, but no randomized controlled clinical trials have tested whether shankhpushpi improves cognitive function or prevent age-related cognitive decline. Our search identified:
It is currently unknown whether shankhpushpi can prevent cognitive decline or dementia in humans. In an open-label clinical study of 102 young healthy volunteers, shankhpushpi supplementation for 2 months (500 mg tablets, twice daily after food with milk) was compared with a yoga intervention . The shankhpushpi intervention appeared to improve long-term memory as measured by auditory delayed, visual delayed, auditory recognition, and visual recognition tests. However, since this was a supplement intervention compared with a yoga intervention, there was no placebo control group, and therefore, further studies are needed to validate these findings.
In an open-label study of 90 school children, a 3-month treatment of a combination of Ayurvedic herbs including shankhpushpi was compared with a control group or a group that practiced yoga . The herbal medicine group showed improvements in short-term memory and serial recall; however, because the treatment included many plant products, it is not possible to attribute the potential benefit to any specific plant.
Preclinical studies have shown that shankhpushpi treatment improves memory [3; 4], reduces biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease [5; 6], and decreases oxidative stress .
No studies have tested whether Shankhpushpi can improve cognitive functions or slow decline in people with dementia. A few preclinical studies in cell cultures suggest that Shankhpushpi extracts may reduce biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease [6; 8], but no studies in humans have confirmed these findings.
Shankhpushpi has been used for many years as part of Ayurvedic medicine and is generally thought to be safe when taken at common recommended doses. Shankhpushpi does have a mild blood pressure-lowering effect, so people suffering from low blood pressure, or those taking anti-hypertensive medications should consult with their healthcare providers before taking it. Based on a review of herb-drug interactions, shankhpushpi can decrease concentrations of an anti-seizure medication called phenytoin, leading to decreased control of seizure .
NOTE: This is not a comprehensive safety evaluation or complete list of potentially harmful drug interactions. It is important to discuss safety issues with your physician before taking any new supplement or medication.
Shankhpushpi is available over the counter as a supplement. Shankhpusphi can come in tablet/capsule form, powder, juice, oil, and decoction. In an open-label clinical study of young healthy volunteers, a dose of 500 mg tablets of shankhpushpi, taken twice daily after food with milk, was tested .
A scientific review article on the pharmacological and medicinal properties of Shankhpushpi
A full scientific report (PDF) at Cognitive Vitality Reports