BENFRA Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center, OHSU

A researcher wearing a lab coat, working

The BENFRA Center

This NIH-funded Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center investigates Botanicals Enhancing Neurological and Functional Resilience in Aging.

The Center’s mission is to scientifically evaluate botanicals currently being sold as dietary supplements that are reputed to improve resilience to age-related changes in cognition, sleep or mood. Our goal is to obtain a firm understanding of the biological and chemical properties of these botanicals, so that well-designed clinical trials can be performed to evaluate their efficacy. Ultimately this work will support the development of optimized botanical products with reliable health benefits.

The Center comprises a multidisciplinary group of scientists based at OHSU, along with collaborators at Oregon State University, the University of Mississippi and Oregon’s Wild Harvest, a botanical dietary supplement company.

The BENFRA Center is supported by NIH  grant  number U19AT010829  from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and is part of the NIH CARBON program.

Program Director
Amala Soumyanath B.Pharm., Ph.D.

Center Administrator
Alex Speers N.D., M.S.


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A tangle of vines and leaves of the Centella asiatica plant
Centella asiatica, sold as "gotu kola," is one of the botanicals studied by the BENFRA Center.