Celastrus paniculatus: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!

Last Updated:
Medically reviewed by

Key Information

Celastrus paniculatus is an Ayurvedic herb:

Celastrus paniculatus, also known as the intellect tree, is a plant used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for its cognitive and health benefits.

Celastrus paniculatus has neuroprotective properties:

Celastrus paniculatus may protect brain cells from oxidative stress, inflammation, and glutamate toxicity, and enhance memory, learning, and mood.

Celastrus paniculatus oil is the main product:

Celastrus paniculatus oil, extracted from the seeds of the plant, is the most commonly used form of the herb for its therapeutic effects.

Celastrus paniculatus has limited human studies:

Celastrus paniculatus has not been extensively studied in humans, and its safety, dosage, and side effects are not well established.

Affiliate Disclosure: Holistic Nootropics may earn affiliate commissions if you purchase through the links on this page. Here's how it works.

Discovering the potential of natural cognitive enhancers often leads us to explore ancient medicinal traditions, where plants have been used for centuries to support mental health and performance. One such plant that has garnered attention in the nootropic community is Celastrus paniculatus, also known as the intellect tree or Jyotishmati. At Holistic Nootropics, we’re dedicated to providing you with evidence-based information on natural supplements that can help you optimize your cognitive function and overall well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the history, benefits, and science behind Celastrus paniculatus, empowering you to make informed decisions about incorporating this promising herb into your holistic nootropic regimen.

Biohack Your Brainpower

Stay ahead with our newsletter: cutting-edge biohacking tips and the latest in nootropics, all in one place.

What is Celastrus paniculatus?

Celastrus paniculatus is a woody climbing shrub native to India and parts of Southeast Asia. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat various neurological disorders and cognitive issues. The seeds and oil of this plant are of particular interest, as they contain a variety of active compounds believed to be responsible for its nootropic effects.

The plant is known by several common names, including:

  • Black oil plant
  • Intellect tree
  • Jyotishmati
  • Malkangni

As interest in natural cognitive enhancers grows, Celastrus paniculatus has emerged as a promising option for those seeking to boost their memory, learning, and overall brain function. Learn More: What are Nootropics? The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Cognitive Enhancers

Traditional Uses and History

Celastrus paniculatus has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is known as “Jyotishmati,” or the “light of intellect.” It has been used to treat a wide range of neurological and cognitive issues, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Paralysis
  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia

In addition to its nootropic properties, Celastrus paniculatus has also been used to treat rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica, and leprosy in traditional Ayurvedic practice.

Active Compounds and Mechanisms of Action

The seeds of Celastrus paniculatus contain a variety of active compounds, including:

  • Sesquiterpenes: celastrine, celapanine, celapagin, paniculatin
  • Alkaloids
  • Flavonoids
  • Terpenoids

These compounds are believed to contribute to the nootropic effects of Celastrus paniculatus through several mechanisms, including:

Acetylcholinesterase inhibition: Some compounds in Celastrus paniculatus, such as the sesquiterpenes, may inhibit the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. By preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, Celastrus paniculatus may enhance memory, learning, and overall cognitive function. Learn More: The Brain-Boosting Effects Of Choline

Antioxidant properties: Celastrus paniculatus has been shown to possess antioxidant properties, which may help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and damage. This neuroprotective effect could contribute to its cognitive-enhancing benefits.

Potential Nootropic Benefits

Based on traditional use and preliminary scientific research, Celastrus paniculatus may offer several nootropic benefits, including:

  • Memory enhancement: By increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain, Celastrus paniculatus may help improve memory formation, retention, and recall.
  • Improved learning and recall: The cognitive-enhancing effects of Celastrus paniculatus may facilitate faster learning and better recall of information.
  • Neuroprotection: The antioxidant properties of Celastrus paniculatus may help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and damage, potentially slowing cognitive decline and supporting long-term brain health.
  • Reduced mental fatigue and stress: Some users report that Celastrus paniculatus helps reduce mental fatigue and improve stress resilience, allowing for better cognitive performance under pressure.
  • Mood elevation: Although more research is needed, some anecdotal evidence suggests that Celastrus paniculatus may have mood-enhancing effects, potentially supporting mental well-being and motivation. Learn More: Best Nootropics For Motivation

Scientific Research

While human studies on Celastrus paniculatus are limited, several animal studies have investigated its effects on cognitive function, memory, and learning. These studies provide preliminary evidence for the nootropic potential of this herb.

Memory and Learning Studies

Bhanumathy et al. 2010[1]Rats & mice350-1050 mg/kg in rats, 500-1500 mg/kg in miceImproved memory, reduced AChE activity
Kumar and Gupta 2002[2]Rats100-200 mg/kgEnhanced cognition, antioxidant effects
Gattu et al. 1997[3]Rats50-200 mg/kgReversed scopolamine-induced memory deficits

These studies suggest that Celastrus paniculatus may have memory-enhancing and neuroprotective effects, potentially mediated by its ability to modulate acetylcholine levels and reduce oxidative stress in the brain. However, it’s important to note that more human research is needed to confirm these benefits and determine optimal dosing.

Dosage and Administration

Celastrus paniculatus is available in various forms, including seeds, oil, and standardized extracts in capsules or tablets. The optimal dosage may vary depending on the form and individual needs.

Traditional Ayurvedic dosing often involves starting with a low dose of seeds, such as 5-10 seeds per day, and gradually increasing the dose as tolerated. Some practitioners recommend chewing the seeds thoroughly to release the active compounds.

Capsules or tablets containing standardized extracts of Celastrus paniculatus typically provide 200-500 mg per serving. As with any new supplement, it’s best to start with the lowest effective dose and increase gradually if needed.

When using Celastrus paniculatus, consider the following tips:

  • Start with a low dose and increase gradually
  • Take with food to enhance absorption and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Use for at least 4-6 weeks to assess effects, as some benefits may take time to develop
  • Consider cycling the supplement, taking breaks every few months to maintain sensitivity and prevent tolerance

Potential Side Effects and Interactions

Celastrus paniculatus is generally well-tolerated, with few reported side effects in traditional use or clinical studies. However, some potential side effects may include:

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia (if taken too close to bedtime)

One rat study suggested that Celastrus paniculatus seed extract may impair sperm development, but more research is needed to confirm this effect and determine its relevance to human use.

As Celastrus paniculatus may affect acetylcholine levels in the brain, it’s important to exercise caution when combining it with other cholinergic substances, such as:

  • Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (e.g., donepezil, rivastigmine)
  • Cholinergic nootropics (e.g., Alpha-GPC, citicoline)
  • Some mushrooms (e.g., lion’s mane, Hericium erinaceus)

If you are taking any medications or have a pre-existing medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before starting Celastrus paniculatus or any new supplement.

FAQ about Celastrus paniculatus

1. Is Celastrus paniculatus safe?

Celastrus paniculatus has a long history of safe use in Ayurvedic medicine, and few side effects have been reported in clinical studies. However, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

2. How long does it take for Celastrus paniculatus to work?

Some people may notice effects within a few days of starting Celastrus paniculatus, while others may require several weeks of consistent use to experience benefits. It’s generally recommended to use the herb for at least 4-6 weeks to assess its effects.

3. Can Celastrus paniculatus be taken long-term?

Celastrus paniculatus has been used long-term in Ayurvedic medicine, but modern clinical data on long-term safety is limited. Some experts recommend cycling the supplement, taking breaks every few months to maintain sensitivity and prevent tolerance.

4. What are the best ways to take Celastrus paniculatus?

Celastrus paniculatus can be taken as seeds (chewed or ground), oil, or standardized extracts in capsules or tablets. The best form may depend on individual preferences and goals. Capsules or tablets are often the most convenient option for consistent dosing.

5. Are there any drug interactions with Celastrus paniculatus?

Celastrus paniculatus may interact with cholinergic medications and supplements, as it can affect acetylcholine levels in the brain. Always consult your healthcare provider before combining Celastrus paniculatus with any medications or other supplements.

Where to Buy Celastrus paniculatus

When purchasing Celastrus paniculatus, it’s essential to choose a reputable supplier that provides high-quality, pure, and standardized extracts. Look for products that have been third-party tested for purity and potency, and avoid suppliers that make exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims.

Some factors to consider when choosing a Celastrus paniculatus supplement include:

  • Extraction method and solvent used
  • Standardization of active compounds
  • Presence of additives or fillers
  • Reputation and transparency of the manufacturer
  • Third-party testing and certification (e.g., GMP, USP, NSF)

At Holistic Nootropics, we are dedicated to providing our readers with the most up-to-date and reliable information on natural cognitive enhancers. While we do not endorse specific brands or products, we encourage you to do your own research and consult with your healthcare provider to find the best Celastrus paniculatus supplement for your needs.

Photo of author


Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.