Clitoria ternatea , commonly known as Shankpushpi, is widely used in the traditional Indian system of medicine as a brain tonic and is believed to promote memory and intelligence. We examined the effectiveness of alcoholic extracts of aerial and root parts of C. ternatea at 300 and 500 mg/kg doses orally in rats in attenuating electroshock-induced amnesia. Extracts at 300 mg/kg dose produced significant memory retention, and the root parts were found to be more effective. In order to delineate the possible mechanism through which C. ternatea elicits the anti-amnesic effects, we studied its influence on central cholinergic activity by estimating the acetylcholine content of the whole brain and acetylcholinesterase activity at different regions of the rat brain, viz., cerebral cortex, midbrain, medulla oblongata and cerebellum. Our results suggest that C. ternatea extracts increase rat brain acetylcholine content and acetyl cholinesterase a ctivity in a similar fashion to the standard cerebro protective drug Pyritinol.