Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an evergreen shrub widely distributed in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions. The roots are extracted, and the extract is then concentrated and dried. Ashwagandha is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is valued as a tonic that promotes calmness and vitality. Ashwagandha’s active components include withanolides, sitoindosides, and alkaloids.1 It is often standardized to its anolide content (typically 1.5% withanolides).
Ashwagandha may exhibit anti-inﬂammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and rejuvenating properties.1 Ashwagandha may aid in decreasing the burden of stress and improve self-assessed quality of life.1 It has been suggested that Ashwagandha may play a role in cognition and decrease memory deficit in children and memory loss in the elderly.2 Moreover, Ashwagandha may contain anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties that might help decrease arthritic joint pain .2,3 Pre-clinical studies have suggested that Ashwagandha may ameliorate arthritis and neuro-behavioral disorders induced by oxidative stress.4,5
Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. 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 J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PubMed PMID: 23439798.
Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-13. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9. Epub 2011 Jul 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 227540763.
Kumar G, Srivastava A, Sharma SK, Rao TD, Gupta YK. Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study. Indian J Med Res. 2015 Jan;141(1):100-6. PubMed PMID: 258575014.
Khan MA, Subramaneyaan M, Arora VK, Banerjee BD, Ahmed RS. Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root extract on amelioration of oxidative stress and autoantibodies production in collagen-induced arthritic rats. J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Jun 1;12(2):117-25. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2014-0075. PubMed PMID: 25803089.
Durg S, Dhadde SB, Vandal R, Shivakumar BS, Charan CS. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in neurobehavioural disorders induced by brain oxidative stress in rodents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2015 Apr 1.[Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25828061.