Ashwagandha, Withania Somnifera

Aswagandha (Withania Somnifera)ASHWAGANDA

UPDATE:

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Ashwagandha is a well-known Indian adaptogen13 – a tonic herb, similar to eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) in that it is said to tonify the body and help body systems come into balance.  Ashwagandha is said to contain antioxidative, antistress1, antigenotoxic, and immunomodulatory properties13.  Its antioxidants are said to provide a protection against lipid peroxidation and increase antioxidants in the body such as catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) contents in brain tissue, peripheral organs, liver and kidney13. It produces little red-orange berries (that have a cape similar to tomatillo) that are quite bitter but research has shown them good to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in kidneys of diabetic rats2 – suggesting promise and the need for further research on humans in delaying the onset and progression of diabetic renal complications.

 

Other studies with rats have identified a bioactive compound found in Ashwagandha root, withaferin A, as well as withanone, a substance from the leaves11, that show promise for inhibiting metastasis of ovarian cancer8 as well as stopping spread to other organs3,9. The roots are used for enhancing memory according to ayurvedic tradition4 by preventing neurodegeneration – a great nerve tonic! Its antioxidant (flavonoids identifiable with chromatography10) withania also contains substances that increase the superoxide dismutase in the body) and inflammatory activity improves ischemic stroke outcomes (similarly to ginger) by preventing the neural damage that can occur when blood returns to the brain after being deprived of blood for a short period4.

There has been some fascinating research on Aswagandha for a variety of uses:

* Potential for use as a cough suppressant5

* Potential preservative or natural replacement for BHT6

* Reduction of the desire for alcohol in rats trained to consume it12

* Possible therapeutic against lead poisoning13

* Reduction of anxiety – some research has shown considerable improvement1

Ashwagandha grows well in hot climates and does not require rich soil to grow, but produces more antioxidants like withferin A with sufficient nitrogen7, so be sure to feed your ashwagandha plants plenty of compost!

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1.) J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):901-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177.

An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Pratte MA1Nanavati KBYoung VMorley CP.

2.) Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014;2014:201436. doi: 10.1155/2014/201436. Epub 2014 Sep 14. Withania coagulans Fruit Extract Reduces Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Kidneys of  streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Ojha S1Alkaabi J2Amir N1Sheikh A1Agil A3Fahim MA4Adem A1

 

3.) PLoS One. 2014 Sep 29;9(9):e107596. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107596. eCollection 2014. Withaferin a alone and in combination with Cisplatin suppresses growth and metastasis of ovarian cancer by targeting putative cancer stem cells. Kakar SS1Ratajczak MZ2Powell KS3Moghadamfalahi M4Miller DM2Batra SK5Singh SK1

 

4.)PLoS One. 2014 Oct 13;9(10):e105311. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105311. eCollection 2014. Withanolide A Prevents Neurodegeneration by Modulating Hippocampal Glutathione Biosynthesis during Hypoxia. Baitharu I1Jain V2Deep SN2Shroff S3Sahu JK4Naik PK5Ilavazhagan G6

 

5.) Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014 Sep 25. [Epub ahead of print] Antitussive Activity of Withania somnifera and Opioid Receptors. Nosálová G1Sivová VRay BFraňová SOndrejka IFlešková D

 

6.) J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Oct;51(10):2727-33. doi: 10.1007/s13197-012-0781-1. Epub 2012 Aug 2. Effect of added herb extracts on oxidative stability of ghee (butter oil) during accelerated oxidation condition. Pawar NGandhi KPurohit AArora SSingh RR

 

7.) Pharm Biol. 2014 Oct 21:1-6. [Epub ahead of print] Effect of macronutrient deficiency on withanolides content in the roots of Withania somnifera and its correlationship with molybdenum content. Devkar ST1Suryapujary SMJagtap SDKatyare SSHegde MV

 

8.) PLoS One. 2014 Sep 29;9(9):e107596. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107596. eCollection 2014.

Withaferin A alone and in combination with Cisplatin suppresses growth and metastasis of ovarian cancer by targeting putative cancer stem cells. Kakar SS1Ratajczak MZ2Powell KS3Moghadamfalahi M4Miller DM2Batra SK5Singh SK1

 

9.) Pharm Biol. 2014 Sep 19:1-11. [Epub ahead of print] Withania somnifera shows a protective effect in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension. Kaur G1Singh NSamuel SSBora HKSharma SPachauri SDDwivedi AKSiddiqui HHHanif K

 

10.) Iran J Pharm Res. 2014 Spring;13(2):531-9. HPTLC Analysis, Antioxidant and Antigout Activity of Indian Plants. Nile SHPark SW

 

11.) Mol Cancer Ther. 2014 Sep 18. pii: molcanther.0324.2014. [Epub ahead of print] Withanone Rich Combination of Ashwagandha Withanolides Restricts Metastasis And Angiogenesis Through hnRNP-K.

Gao R1Shah N2Lee JS3Katiyar SP4Li L1Oh E5Sundar D4Yun CO6Kaul SC1Wadhwa R7

 

12.) Behav Pharmacol. 2014 Oct;25(7):618-28. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000078.

Effects of Withania somnifera on oral ethanol self-administration in rats. Peana AT1Muggironi GSpina LRosas MKasture SBCotti EAcquas E

 

13.) Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:182029. doi: 10.1155/2014/182029. Epub 2014 May 28. Glioprotective effects of Ashwagandha leaf extract against lead induced toxicity.

Kumar PSingh RNazmi ALakhanpal DKataria HKaur G