Oroxylin A: An Ancient Compound With Nootropic Potential

Oroxylin A, also known under the brand name Sabroxy®, is a promising nootropic that has a history dating back about 5,000 years. 

Ancient healing traditions have been leveraging this compound for a range of benefits, but researchers have only begun to explore its impact on neurological health. 

With several culture and animal studies, we’re learning that oroxylin may exhibit the neurological-enhancing functions that Western research has been searching for. But what is this compound? And how does it work?

In this article, you’ll learn what oroxylin A is, how it may impact brain function, and why its ancient benefits may be what modern society needs.

What Is Oroxylin A?

Oroxylin A is a medicinal compound that comes from the Indian trumpet tree (also known as Oroxylum Indicum). The tree grows naturally in tropical climates such as India, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Malaysia and has been used in traditional medicine practices, such as Ayurveda, for thousands of years. 

In ancient India, the Indian trumpet tree would combat ailments such as diarrhea, ulcer, fever, and jaundice. Recent studies have shown that this plant and its active constituents may have anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antiarthritic, antimicrobial and immunostimulant properties.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3425058/ 

Furthermore, evidence suggests that the active compound oroxylin A may act as a nootropic, enhancing cognitive function.[2]https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.07348?af=R 

Potential Mental Benefits of Oroxylin A

At present, most of the research that’s been conducted on oroxylin A are lab or animal studies. However, what investigators have uncovered thus far points to a strong potential for the neuro-supportive role that oroxylin A may have in the human brain. 

Some interesting areas of research include:

Possible Impact on Attention Disorders

In animal research, oroxylin A has been shown to improve ADD and ADHD-like behaviors by impacting dopamine uptake in the brain. The dopamine system plays into ADD and ADHD as a trademark sign of these disorders is low levels of this neurotransmitter.[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2626918/ 

In one study, rats given oroxylin A showed improvement in attention and impulsivity due to enhanced dopamine neurotransmission.[4]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23371806/ 

May Improve Memory

To test the impact that oroxylin A has on memory, researchers gave a group of mice drug-induced amnesia (memory loss) and then put the compound to the test. Interestingly, they found that the memory-impaired mice that took oroxylin A showed a significant reversal of cognitive impairments. Specifically, the mice showed improvement in their ability to escape from a training trial and increased their swimming times and distances.[5]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17196405/ 

Potentially Improves Cognitive Impairment 

Chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment, also called “chemo brain,” is becoming a significant concern in the medical field. During chemotherapy, patients experience increased oxidative stress in their brain cells as well as potential dysfunction to the powerhouse of their cells — the mitochondria. 

In an animal study, researchers gave a group of mice oroxylin A along with chemotherapy to assess the impact on cognitive function and brain health. The investigators reported that after four weeks of treatment, the oroxylin A prevented chemotherapy-induced changes in oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, and in fact, improved mitochondrial function in the mice’s brains. 

Furthermore, the oroxylin significantly prevented chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment in performance tests.[6]https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.07348?af=R  

May Increase BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

BDNF is a protein that plays a vital role in the neuroplasticity of your brain. It’s involved in changes to your brain that are related to learning and memory and promotes the survival of brain cells.[7]https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2019.00363/full

In a test tube study, researchers found that oroxylin A was able to upregulate the expression of BDNF in neuronal cells and suggest that BDNF may be at least partially responsible for the neuroprotective and memory-enhancing effects of this compound.[8]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21145362/ 

Anti-inflammatory

Inflammation in the brain is tied to many chronic neurological diseases. In fact, inflammation in the body is said to be at the root of many of the diseases we see today in the West. 

In India, the Indian trumpet tree was traditionally used in an ayurvedic preparation called “Dasamoola,” a potent anti-inflammatory formula. [9]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285800921_Therapeutic_potential_of_Oroxylum_indicum_A_review/link/5879359308ae9275d4d948a2/download 

Research shows that oroxylin A, coming from the Indian trumpet tree, may be useful in calming inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.[10]https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2021/fo/d0fo02159h [11]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27643663/

Furthermore, preliminary evidence suggests that oroxylin A may be beneficial for inflammation in the brain that’s linked to Alzheimer’s disease.[12]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7662334/ 

Antioxidant

Due to the excessive generation of free radicals in the brain, oxidative stress is one of the root causes of neuro-degeneration that we see in common diseases like Alzhemier’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.[13]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19721819/

Research shows that along with its anti-inflammatory potential, oroxylin A also exhibits antioxidant function. Furthermore, oroxylin A shows neuroprotective effc=ects that may be modulated by enhanced antioxidant performance in the brain.[14]https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875536410600167[15]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17174385/  

FAQ

Is oroxylin A safe?

Oroxylin has yet to undergo clinical trials that test for safety. It’s only been studied in cell cultures and animal models (mostly mice and rats). Therefore, it is difficult to determine the safety of this compound for human use at this time. 

Are there human trials on oroxylin A?

At this time, there is an abundance of animal and cell culture research trials for oroxylin A, but there are not many (if any) human clinical trials. Additional studies in humans will be necessary to determine its benefits beyond animal and cell studies. 

What was the traditional use of the Indian trumpet tree?

The Indian trumpet tree was used in Ayurvedic medicine, originating in India 5000 years ago for a range of ailments. Some of the conditions treated include cancer, diarrhea, fever, ulcer, diabetes, respiratory disease, jaundice, gallstones, pain and stiffness, and other inflammatory conditions. 

How much oroxylin A can I take?

Sabroxy, which is a standardized extract prepared from the Indian trumpet tree (Oroxylum indicum), containing a minimum of 10% Oroxylin A, is typically taken at a dose of 100mg.

However, there is no standard dose of oroxylin A, as human trials have not been conducted for efficacy and safety.

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