Aim: This study focuses on the documentation and critical evaluation of the presence of botanical nootropics in Ayurveda based on the available classical literature in Ayurveda. The study also entails the terminology used for different memory and cognitive functions in the classical texts of Ayurveda.

Background: The process of memory (smriti) and neurocognitive functions (medha) has been well documented by Indians since ancient times, and comprehensive portrayal concerning different diseases interfering neurocognitive functions and their management are embodied in ancient medical literatures. A detailed account of medicinal plants for enhancement of neurocognitive functions, such as medhya rasayanas, smritikara, buddhivivardhaka, buddhimatiprada drugs, etc. (nootropics and mental health promoters) can be traced from over nine codified texts of Ayurveda.

Review results: Exposition of the uncharted knowledge about plant drugs ascribed with nootropic effect is scattered elsewhere in archaic medical literatures and is pivotal for further research and drug development. For rational, evidence-based use and development of safe, effective, and acceptable pharmacological dosage forms, it is vital to comprehend the mode of action of these plant drugs based on their traditional use, principles mentioned in Ayurveda texts, and also applying modern pharmacological thoughts.

Conclusion: Documentation and critical evaluation of the presence of botanical nootropics in Ayurveda based on the available classical literature in Ayurveda was done. Mental health is one among the important health concerns in the emerging scenario, owing to the paradigm shift of the disease burden from communicable disease to noncommunicable disease in developed and developing countries. The potential leads from Ayurveda texts may be taken forward for further development of safe, effective, and user-friendly dosage forms through systematic preclinical and clinical studies. Further, the diverse terminology was found in different Ayurvedic text.

Keywords: Ayurveda, Medicinal plants, Memory enhancement, Neurocognitive improvement, Nootropics.

How to cite this article: Srikanth N, Tewari D, Haripriya N, Khanduri S, Rath C, Mangal AK, Gaidhani SN. Botanical Nootropics in Ayurveda: Potential Leads for Pharmacological Neurocognitive Enhancement and Drug Development. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2017;2(2):81-90.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None