Native to India, Celastrus paniculatus is a potent Ayurvedic herb that has been used for thousands of years. It’s also known as the Intellect Tree or “the elixir of life,” black oil plant, jyotishmati, malkanguni.

This powerful plant is said to have many health benefits and is mainly celebrated for its ability to enhance cognitive function. Curious about Celastrus paniculatus and whether its many names are a reflection of its many benefits for human health? Let’s find out!

celastrus paniculatus

Celastrus Paniculatus Review

Ayurvedic medicine originated from India and is considered the oldest medical system in the world. According to this holistic health system and philosophy, plants are the soul of the earth and our bodies are made of the same elements as our environment.

Celastrus paniculatus (of the family Celastraceae) is a woody climbing shrub with yellowish bark. The dark brown oil – from the Celastrus paniculatus seed extract – is used orally or as a massage oil.

While the seeds of this plant can be consumed directly, as an oil or in powder form, the whole plant offers remarkable benefits. For example, the root is used as antimalarial and antipyretic while the wood is used in the treatment of tuberculosis.

That’s not all. The juice of the bark is used in the treatment of indigestion. Talk about multi-tasking! [*]

Celastrus Paniculatus Benefits

Wondering about its benefits? Let’s start with its mood-enhancing therapeutic properties.

Mood Enhancement

In one study, researchers noted the anti-depressant effects of Celastrus oil on mice. The researchers concluded: [*]

“Celastrus paniculatus seed oil produced a significant antidepressant-like effect in mice possibly through interaction with dopamine D2, serotonergic, and GABAB receptors; as well as inhibition of MAO-A activity and decrease in plasma corticosterone levels.”

With roughly 246 million people living with depression worldwide, a study like this offers hope to those who struggle with this mental disorder. But this plant has more brain-related benefits that go beyond the symptoms of depression.

In fact, the people of India have used this for centuries as a brain tonic. Traditional healers have also used Celastrus paniculatus to help alleviate mental fatigue as well as improve memory retention and recall. [*]

And guess what? Modern science now agrees that Celastrus extract has many benefits for brain health. Let’s take a closer look at what the other benefits are.

Memory Improvement

We all know how important our memory is. Can’t remember where you left your car keys? Your memory will (or should!) help you remember it. Have a test coming up? Not to worry! Your memory helps you recall information when you need it the most.

Whether you want to remember information you’ve learned or recall past experiences, your memory has a fundamental role to play in your life.

Naturally, you want to look after it. One way you can do this is through the foods you consume and the supplements you take.

Celastrus paniculatus is a great nootropic that can help you enhance your memory and improve cognitive functions. Whether you want to ace a test, learn a new language, or perform better under stress, this plant can do wonders.

For instance, studies show that Celastrus seed oil can help with stress-induced memory impairment. It’s well known that when under stress, we have a harder time processing new information and struggle to remember things. [*]

In one study, researchers noted that stressed-out rats given this oil performed better on tests that measured learning and memory. [*]

In another study, researchers found that the rats given Celastrus oil had improved memory and mental performance. [*] They concluded:

“Chronic treatment with CP oil is to improve cognitive abilities in chronically stressed rats. The current study provides a novel perspective on the beneficial effect of herbal therapy on stress-induced cognitive dysfunctions.”

Celastrus oil is also noted for its protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, this plant prevents the progress of cell damage in the brain.

Studies show that Celastrus seed oil decreases the level of malonaldehyde in the brain while increasing glutathione and catalase levels. [*]

Celastrus Research

Most of the benefits linked to this medicinal plant come from trials done on animals. So can we safely say that the results of these studies are also relevant to humans? Not necessarily. The human immune system, metabolism, and stress response – to name a few – are different from those of a mouse or a rat.

That being said, it’s important to emphasize that Celastrus paniculatus has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties that modern science is just learning about.

Celastrus Paniculatus Seeds

You already know that this plant is incredibly potent and to understand its potency we’ll take a closer look at its seeds. Celastrus paniculatus seeds are said to be bitter and hot in potency and contain a variety of compounds.

These include sesquiterpenes such as paniculatine, malkangunin, celastrine, celapanine, celapanigine, and celapagin. Traditionally, people consumed the seeds as they are, boiled in water or goat milk.

Whatever form they’re taken, it seems that the benefits of Celastrus paniculatus seed extract still do wonders for health! For instance, water extract of Celastrus paniculatus seed is found to have cognitive-enhancing properties.

In one study, for example, researchers found that Celastrus paniculatus seed water can decrease acetylcholinesterase activity in the brain and thus possibly improve memory. [*]

According to the study, the significant improvement in the memory process may be due to increased acetylcholine levels in the brain. [*]

The seeds of Celastrus paniculatus have dose-dependent cholinergic activity, which helps improve memory performance. [*]

Thanks to its powerful cognitive enhancing properties, Celastrus paniculatus has been extensively researched in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The plant helps by suppressing symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s such as memory decline. [*]

But Celastrus paniculatus isn’t only beneficial for improving cognitive function. This powerful plant has antioxidant activity as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

For example, studies show that Celastrus extract can reduce inflammation and relieve pain. [*]

Those with skin inflammation will also appreciate the anti-inflammatory properties of Celastrus oil. In one study, researchers found that topically applying Celastrus extract on mice with psoriasis-like dermatitis had reduced inflammation as well as other symptoms of skin inflammation. [*]

This powerful plant is also said to promote intestinal relaxation. According to one study, rats that were given Celastrus extract benefited from the relaxing properties of the plant. Researchers observed that the plant could potentially be used to treat intestinal spasms. [*]


There’s currently no optimal dose for Celastrus paniculatus. Having said that, most dosages start at 10 seeds, taken all at once. Provided that there are no side effects, you can increase this to 15 seeds, then 20 seeds.

The traditional method is to chew 7-20 seeds. This is said to produce noticeable effects in most people. The seeds can also be taken in powder form with milk.

Celastrus paniculatus supplements typically contain between 400-500 mg per capsule.

Side Effects

There’s currently not much in the way of clinical research to show the side effects of Celastrus paniculatus. Generally speaking, the plant is considered to be non-toxic, which is supported by its thousands of years old track record. [*]

That said, there’s one study that suggests that Celastrus seed extract may impair the development of sperm. [*]

The Real Elixir Of Life?

You may have already seen that “the elixir of life” is full of surprises. For example, did you know that this super plant has a long history of use in helping with dream recall?

While it’s not scientifically proven (yet), many people say that they remember their dreams not just more often, but also with more clarity. This may not come as news to you since you already know about Celastrus’ brain sharpening properties.

The kind of nootropic you choose depends on your needs. For example, some nootropics are great for focus while others are better for memory.

Some promote overall brain health while others are all about cognitive enhancement. There are also nootropics that are great for supporting mood or protecting your brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Then there’s Celastrus paniculatus. This plant isn’t called “the elixir of life” for no reason. This plant is versatile, powerful, and healing. For those interested in biohacking, Celastrus paniculatus is a brain-boosting plant that has a lot to offer.

Whether you struggle with recalling information, want to improve your response to stress, or fight mental fatigue, this plant may have something to offer you.

Because of the powerful nootropic benefits of this plant, many nootropic supplements including Qualia Mind and Qualia Focus contain this ingredient.


At the most basic level, we all know about the undisputed health benefits of plants. While more studies are needed on Celastrus paniculatus, its long-standing history as a medicinal plant as well as the many studies on animals give us an idea.

As a nootropic herb, it has plenty to offer those looking for overall brain health and cognitive enhancement. But the neuroprotective properties of Celastrus paniculatus seed extract are also worthy of recognition.