Withania somnifera is also known as Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi, Ayamodakam in Malayalam and Samm Al Ferakh.
Ashwagandha is stunning in appearance and of vital importance in Ayurveda or Indian Medicine. Withania Somnifera has a long history, about 4000 years, as a holistic herb used to treat a variety of ailments.
The active ingredients in Ashwagandha are alkaloids and withanoloids. Withanoloids consist of steroidal molecules which act to fight inflammation. Aswagandha is often compared to Asian ginseng which contains molecules like withanoloids called ginsenosides. For this reason Aswagandha is occasionally called Indian ginseng.
- stimulates the activation of immune system cells, such as lymphocytes.(1)
- alcaloids stop inflammation more powerfully than treatment with the synthetic steroid hydrocortisone for controlling inflammation.(2)
- helps reconstruct networks of the nervous system, Aswagandha supports the reconstruction of synapses, the junctions where nerve cells communicate with other cells.(3)
- increases memory.
- helps maintain general health, wellness powered root is used against exhaustion of children, general astenia, senile wasting of muscles, loss of muscular energy, rheumatism.
- is effective in Diabetes II.type. May help normalize high blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.(4)
- sexual enhancing and aphrodisiac.
- anticancer. Reduced the growth of human colon, brest and lung cancer cells, the herb may prevent or decrease the growth of tumors in human.(5) Another study on human cells shows that ashwagandha may inhibit tumor growth without harming normal cells.(6,7,8,9)
These claims' axes are obviously given as an indication. Please note that the plant effect greatly depends on the amount implemented in the product. From a regulatory point of view, all claims appended on the labeling of all dietary supplements must be justified by pertinent bibliographical data file according to Regulation 1924/2006/EC.
1. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomed 1994;1:63-76.
2. Anabalgan K, Sadique J. Antiinflammatory activity of Withania somnifera. Indian J Exp Biol 1981;19:245-9.
3. Kuboyama T, Tohda C, Komatsuk K, Neuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction induced by withanolide A. Br. J Pharmacol, 2005 Apr;144(7):961-71
4. Anwer T, Sharma M, Pillai KK, Iqbal M. "Effect of Withania somnifera on insulin sensitivity in non-insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus rats." Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 2008 102(6):498-503.
5. Singh DD, Dey CS, Bhutani KK. Downregulation of p34cdc2 expression with aqueous fraction from Withania somnifera for a possible molecular mechanism of anti-tumor and other pharmacological effects. Phytomedicine. 2001 Nov;8(6):492-4.
6. Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, Ghosal S. "Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study." Phytomedicine 2000 7(6):463-9.
7. Jayaprakasam B, Zhang Y, Seeram NP, Nair MG. "Growth inhibition of human tumor cell lines by withanolides from Withania somnifera leaves." Life Sciences 2003 21;74(1):125-32.
8. Sumantran VN, Chandwaskar R, Joshi AK, Boddul S, Patwardhan B, Chopra A, Wagh UV. "The relationship between chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of Withania somnifera root and glucosamine sulphate on human osteoarthritic cartilage in vitro." Phytotherapy Research 2008 22(10):1342-8.
9. Widodo N, Kaur K, Shrestha BG, Takagi Y, Ishii T, Wadhwa R, Kaul SC. "Selective killing of cancer cells by leaf extract of Ashwagandha: identification of a tumor-inhibitory factor and the first molecular insights to its effect." Clinical Cancer Research 2007 1;13(7):2298-306.