Summary

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, is one of the most widely touted phytoherbs and is known for its promotion of health and general strength, having been used for centuries (Raut et al., 2012; Sangwan et al., 2008; Tiwari et al., 2014). The phytoherb Ashwagandha, has been implemented successfully in traditional medicines throughout many cultures including Chinese, Unani, Ayurveda and Siddha (Raut et al., 2012). In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is categorized as a Rasayana herb due to its life promoting abilities (Kuboyama et al., 2014). Investigations into the bioactive components of the plant have found that the primary acting metabolites are withanolides (Sangwan et al., 2008). Withanolides occupy receptor sites where direct activation of these steroidal lactones is moderated (Tiwari et al., 2014).

Benefits and Effects

  • Anti-aging (Sangwan et al., 2008; Singh et al., 2010; Verma & Kumar, 2011);
  • Anti-arthritic (Kumar et al., 2015; Sangwan et al., 2008; Singh et al., 2011);
  • Anti-cancer (Widodo et al., 2008);
  • Anti-inflammatory (Chandra et al., 2012; Singh et al., 2010; Singh et al., 2011; Tiwari et al., 2014);
  • Antioxidant (Kuboyama et al., 2014; Singh et al., 2010; Widodo et al., 2008);
  • Adaptogenic, Anti-stress and Anti-anxiety (Chandrasekhar et la., 2012; Pratte et al., 2014; Verma & Kumar, 2011; Singh et al., 2011; Tiwari et al., 2014);
  • Reduces total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (Raut et al., 2012; Tiwari et al., 2014; Verma & Kumar, 2011);
  • Improves sleep quality (Raut et al., 2012; Tiwari et al., 2014);
  • Supports healthy immune system functioning (Singh et al., 2010; Tiwari et al., 2014; Verma & Kumar, 2011; Yamada et al., 2011);
  • Enhances muscle strength (Raut et al., 2012; Tiwari et al., 2014);
  • Promotes cognitive functioning (Choudhary et al., 2017; Sangwan et al., 2008; Verma & Kumar, 2011);
  • Improves cardiovascular functioning (Singh et al., 2010; Tiwari et al., 2014);
  • Enhances sexual behaviour and functioning (Tiwari et al., 2014);
  • Protects against neurodegenerative disorders and toxins (Kuboyama et al., 2014; Sangwan et al., 2008; Tiwari et al., 2014);

Dosage

Ashwagandha is typically mixed in its powder form with water, honey, ghee, or milk (Raut et al., 2012).

As low as 50 to 100 mg

Optimal at 300 to 500 mg

Maximum daily doses as high as 6 grams per day divided into three doses of 2 grams have been well tolerated according to Examine (2018), though this is not recommended.

Onset: 15 to 60 minutes

Duration: 6 to 12 hours (Tripsit, n.d.).

 

References

Chandra, S., Chatterjee, P., Dey, P., & Bhattacharya, S. (2012). Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effect of ashwagandha: a preliminary study in vitro. Pharmacognosy Journal, 4(29), 47-49. DOI: 10.5530/pj.2012.29.7

Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255. DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022

Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera (L.) Dunal) root extract in improving memory and cognitive functions. Journal of dietary supplements, 14(6), 599-612. DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970

Examine. (2018, March 15). Ashwagandha. Retrieved from https://examine.com/

Kuboyama, T., Tohda, C., & Komatsu, K. (2014). Effects of Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera) on neurodegenerative diseases. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 37(6), 892-897. DOI: 10.1248/bpb.b14-00022

Kumar, G., Srivastava, A., Sharma, S. K., Rao, T. D., & Gupta, Y. K. (2015). Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study. The Indian journal of medical research, 141(1), 100. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405924/

Raut, A. A., Rege, N. N., Tadvi, F. M., Solanki, P. V., Kene, K. R., Shirolkar, S. G., … & Vaidya, A. B. (2012). Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 3(3), 111. DOI: 10.4103/0975-9476.100168

Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(12), 901-908. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177

Sangwan, R. S., Chaurasiya, N. D., Lal, P., Misra, L., Tuli, R., & Sangwan, N. S. (2008). Withanolide A is inherently de novo biosynthesized in roots of the medicinal plant Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Physiologia plantarum, 133(2), 278-287. DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2008.01076.x

Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview on ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 8(5S). DOI: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9

Singh, G., Sharma, P. K., Dudhe, R., & Singh, S. (2010). Biological activities of Withania somnifera. Annals of Biological Research, 1(3), 56-63. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rupesh_Dudhe2/publication/265245087_Biological_activities_of_Withania_somnifera/links/551e4f430cf29dcabb03ae02.pdf

Tiwari, R., Chakraborty, S., Saminathan, M., Dhama, K., & Singh, S. V. (2014). Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Role in safeguarding health, immunomodulatory effects, combating infections and therapeutic applications: A review. Journal of Biological Science, 14(2), 77-94. DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2014.77.94

Tripsit. (n.d.). Ashwagandha. Retrieved from http://drugs.tripsit.me/ashwagandha

Verma, S. K., & Kumar, A. (2011). Therapeutic uses of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) with a note on withanolides and its pharmacological actions. Asian Journal Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 4(1), 1-4. Retrieved from http://www.ajpcr.com/Vol4Suppl1/408.pdf

Widodo, N., Takagi, Y., Shrestha, B. G., Ishii, T., Kaul, S. C., & Wadhwa, R. (2008). Selective killing of cancer cells by leaf extract of Ashwagandha: Components, activity and pathway analyses. Cancer letters, 262(1), 37-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.canlet.2007.11.037

Yamada, K., Hung, P., Park, T. K., Park, P. J., & Lim, B. O. (2011). A comparison of the immunostimulatory effects of the medicinal herbs Echinacea, Ashwagandha and Brahmi. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 137(1), 231-235. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.017

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