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Ashwagandha

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Price : USD 14
30 Capsules

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

 

Roots


 

500 mg


 

Ashwagandha Capsules

Indication:
 Kshaya, Dourbalya, (General debility) Vataroga (Neurological diseases) Klaibya (Impotency) and as Rasayana. (anti oxidant)

Dosage:
 2 capsule thrice a day or as per the direction of physician

 

Ethnobotanical Information

Pharmacological studies

Clinical trials

Safety data

Contraindications

References

 
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Medicinal uses:

Ashwagandha is used as a general tonic and "adaptogen", helping the body adapt to stress. There is an herb regarded as a 1st class adaptogenic tonic in one of the world's greatest herbal medical systems.
Ashwagandha is one of the most widespread tranquillizers used in India.
Ashwagandha is also useful for strengthening the female reproductive system. It potentate reproductive hormones.
Ashwagandha has been shown to possess antioxidant activity as well as an ability to support a healthy immune system. It has the ability to increase vitality, energy, endurance and stamina, promote longevity and strengthen the immune system without stimulating the body's reserves. It has the ability to nurture the nervous system, counteract anxiety and stress to promote a calm state of mind.
Ashwagandha is also anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-anxiety calmative, aphrodisiac, and sedative and as an overall rejuvenate.
Because the primary quality and flavor of Ashwagandha is sharp and pungent, it helps in raising metabolism, stimulates digestion, clears mucus, and improves circulation. It is used as a Kidney tonic because of its warming, aphrodisiac properties. It is used for tumors, inflammation (including arthritis), and a wide range of infectious diseases.
The bitter leaves are used as a hypnotic in the treatment of alcoholism and to relax the spasms of the lungs for the treatment of asthma and emphysema.

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Ethnobotanical Information:

In Ayurveda, W. somnifera is regarded as one of the most useful herbs having ‘Vata’ pacifying properties (Sangwan et al., 2004; Singh and Kumar, 1998). Dried roots are the source of drug and have got a vast range of application in the treatment of different physiological disorders. The drug also holds a great promise as an adjuvant in radiation therapy treatment of cancer. The drug is classified under the group Rasayana' in Ayurveda which besides other properties, also checks aging. Ashwagandha twigs are chewed for cleaning teeth, and the smoke of the plant is inhaled for relief in toothache. It is also used as a febrifuge.
The roots and paste of green leaves are used to relieve joint pain and inflammation. It is highly recommended medicament for curing disability and sexual weakness in the male. Seeds are diuretic. The leaves are bitter and given in fever. They are bruised and applied to lesions, painful swellings, and sore eyes. A paste made from the leaves is prescribed for syphilitic sores.
 Its roots were prescribed for hiccup, female disorders, cough, rheumatism and dropsy, and as a sedative in cases of senile debility. It is a folk remedy for many diseases. Its roots are prescribed in medicines for hiccup, cough, dropsy, rheumatism, senile debility, ulcer and scabies. Internally, it is used to tone the uterus after miscarriage and treatment of post-partum difficulties. Externally, it is applied as a poultice to boils, swellings and other painful body parts.

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Pharmacological studies:

Roots show antitumour and radiosensitizing effects in animal models. Total alkaloid fraction of the root extract exhibits hypotensive, bradicardiac and respiratory stimulant activities in dogs. It shows relaxant and antispasmodic effects against several plasmogens on intestinal, uterine, bronchial, tracheal and blood vessel muscles. Withanolides possess remarkable antibacterial, antitumour, antiarthritic and immunosuppressive properties and protective effect against carbon tetrachloride induced hepato-toxicity. Withaferin A shows marked tumour-inhibitory activity when tested in vitro against cells derived from human carcinoma of nasopharynx (KB). It also acted as a mitotic poison arresting the division of cultured human larynx carcinoma cells at metaphase and in HeLa cultures similar to star -metaphase. It also produced significant retardation of the growth of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma, Sarcoma 180, Sarcoma Black (SBL), and E 0771 mammary adenocarcinoma in mice in doses of 10, 12, 15 mg./kg. body-wt. Growth of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma was completely inhibited in more than half the mice which survived for 100 days without the evidence of growth of the tumour. Withaferin A caused mitotic arrest in embryonal chicken fibroblast cells. Methylthiodeacetyl colchicine potentiated the effect of withaferin A.
 The total alkaloids of roots have a variety of pharmacological actions. They exhibited prolonged hypotensive, bradycardiac, and respiratory -stimulating action in dogs. The hypotensive effect is due mainly to autonomic ganglion-blocking action. The depressant action on the higher cerebral centres also contributes to the hypotension. The total alkaloids produced a taming and a mild depressant effect (tranquillizer-sedative type) on the central nervous system in several experimental animals. The neuro-pharmacological activity was accredited to the acetone-soluble fraction of the total alkaloids. In another experiment, the depressive effect was attributed to the basic alkaloids in the roots, the neutral alkaloids (3-tropyltigloate and an unidentified alkaloid) showing no depressive effect on spontaneous locomotive activity.
The total alkaloids showed relaxant and antispasmodic effects against several spasmogens on intestinal, uterine, bronchial, tracheal and blood-vascular muscles. The pattern of smooth muscle activity of the alkaloids was similar to that of papaverine which suggested a direct musculotropic action; both as relaxant and spasmolytic, the alkaloids are, however, much weaker than papaverine. This pharmacological activity lends credence to the use of aswagandha in asthma and as a uterine sedative in the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Ashwagandha is classified as tranquilizer, adaptogenic and antiinflammatory. It is found to decrease the degree of anxiety and depression and can be used as antidepresent. The effect of extract of the drug on mouse central nervous system has demonstrated a significant increase of the narcosis time. The recovery of righting reflex was sex and dose dependent. Alongwith Panax ginseng and Tribulus terrestris, ashwagandha was found to give improvement over all psychomotor functions including adaptability of patients, to various stresses and in the building of tissues. The methanolic extract of the drug inhibited the specific binding of GABA showing GABA recepter mediated anticonvulsent activity in mice.
Withaferin A exhibits fairly potent anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory activities. It was found to suppress arthritic syndrome without any toxic effect. Unlike hydrocortisone-treated animals which lost weight, the animals treated with withaferin A showed gain in weight in arthritic syndrome. It is interesting that withaferin A seems to be more potent than hydrocortisone in adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats, a close experimental approximation to human rheumatoid arthritis. In its oedema-inhibiting activity, the compound gave a good dose-response in the dose-range of 12-25 mg./kg. body-wt. of albino rats intraperitoneally and a single dose had a good duration of action, as it could effectively suppress the inflammation after four hours of its administration.
Extract of ashwagandha induced significant decrease in the arterial and diastolic blood pressure in normotensive pentobarbital anaesthetized dogs. It also prevented the hypotensive effect of acetylcholine and increased the hypertensive effect of adrenaline. Alcoholic extract of the drug produced good response against mouse tumor, Sarcoma 180. In combination with gamma-radiation and hyperthermia treatment, ashwagandha significantly increased the tumor cure, growth delay of partially responding tumors and animal survival. Ashwangandha, in addition to having inhibitory effect, also acts as radio sensitizer and heat enhancer.
Ashwagandha produces good sedation and proved to be a better drug in allaying apprehension than promethazine. It is helpful in producing smooth sleep induction with significantly shorter induction period. It does not produce any cardiovascular and respiratory depressant effect in preanaesthetic period, during the course of subsequent anaesthesia and in recovery period. In Ayurvedic medicine, Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is well known for its anti-stress activity.
Ashwagandha alters the concentration of Neurotransmitters - Chemical substances that are known to play an important role in Brain Processes such as Memory. An abnormally high level of Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) or a reduction in the level of Acetylcholine, both Neurotransmitters can affect Memory. The roots contain Fe (0.218), K (1.87), Mg (0.19) and Ni (0.126 mg/gm of dry plant material), along with other elements, which are reported to play a significant role in the diuretic and aphrodisiac activity of the drug.

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Clinical trials:

Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effects of roots of W. somnifera (ashwagandha) were assessed on human subjects. Six mild NIDDM and six mild hypercholesterolemic subjects were treated with the root powder of W. somnifera for 30 days. Suitable parameters were studied in the blood and urine samples. Significant increase in urine volume, sodium in the urine; significant decrease in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (low density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) cholesterol were observed indicating the root of ashwagandha to be a potential source of hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic agents (Andallu and Radhika 2000). The alcoholic extract of the dried roots of the plant as well as the active component withaferin A isolated from the extract showed significant antitumour and radiosensitizing effects in experimental tumours in vivo, without any noticeable systemic toxicity. Further studies are needed to explore the clinical potential of this plant for cancer therapy (Devi 1996).

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Safety data:

No toxicity seen after 90 days of ginseng and ashwagandha to rats (Aphale 1998). Acute LD50 for withaferin A in Swiss mice is around 80 mg/kg (Sharad 1996).

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Contraindications:

Withania somnifera is contraindicated during pregnancy unless under the direction of a qualified medical doctor. Large doses may possess abortifacient properties. It is also contraindicated in conjunction with sedatives such as barbiturates or anxioletics or in cases of stomach ulcer. Berriers may cause severe gastrointestinal pain, should not be eaten.

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References:

Abbas,M.,Tomar S.S.,Nigam,K.B.,1994. Effect of plant density and cultivars of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal ) on its productivity. Research and Development 11:26-28.

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