Objective: Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic formulation which is used traditionally to increase vitality, vigor and for delaying the aging process. The present study sought to explore the beneficial effects of chyawanprash on cognitive function of aged mice.
Method: In the present study, chyawanprash (CHY) was administered orally in two concentrations (1 and 2% w/w of the diet) for 15 successive days to 17 different groups of young (8 groups) and aged (9 groups) mice. After 15 days of chyawanprash administration, the memory of the animals was assessed using Morris water maze and elevated plus maze. The brain acetylcholinesterase activity (AChE), the levels of brain thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), and reduced glutathione (GSH) were also estimated.
Results: The administration of chyawanprash (1 and 2% w/w) for 15 consecutive days significantly improved the memory of aged mice when compared to young mice. This Ayurvedic formulation decreased the acetylcholinesterase activity in aged mice, consequently leading to increased cholinergic transmission. Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in brain TBARS and increase in GSH levels of aged animals after chyawanprash administration, thereby indicating decreased free radical generation and increased scavenging of free radicals respectively.
Conclusion: Chyawanprash may be looked upon as a useful memory enhancer in aged animals by virtue of its antioxidant effect, pro-cholinergic action, improved learning ability, and increased retention capacity.