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Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review.

Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC), 16200 E Amber Valley Dr., Whittier, CA 90609-1166.
Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic (Impact Factor: 4.86). 09/2000; 5(4):334-46.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective of this paper is to review the literature regarding Withania somnifera (ashwagandha, WS) a commonly used herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Specifically, the literature was reviewed for articles pertaining to chemical properties, therapeutic benefits, and toxicity.
This review is in a narrative format and consists of all publications relevant to ashwagandha that were identified by the authors through a systematic search of major computerized medical databases; no statistical pooling of results or evaluation of the quality of the studies was performed due to the widely different methods employed by each study.
Studies indicate ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic, and rejuvenating properties. It also appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems. The mechanisms of action for these properties are not fully understood. Toxicity studies reveal that ashwagandha appears to be a safe compound.
Preliminary studies have found various constituents of ashwagandha exhibit a variety of therapeutic effects with little or no associated toxicity. These results are very encouraging and indicate this herb should be studied more extensively to confirm these results and reveal other potential therapeutic effects. Clinical trials using ashwagandha for a variety of conditions should also be conducted.

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    ABSTRACT: Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is an important Rasayana herb and widely considered as Indian ginseng in Ayurveda. In traditional system of Indian medicine, it is used as tonic to rejuvenate the body and increase longevity. In Ayurvedic preparations, various parts of the plant have been used to treat variety of ailments that affect the human health. However, dried roots of the plant are widely used for the treatment of nervous and sexual disorders. The major active chemical constituents of this plant are withanolides, which is responsible for its wide range of biological activities. Since the beginning of the 20 th century, a significant amount of research has been done and efforts are ongoing to further explore other bioactive constituents, and many pharmacological studies have been carried out to describe their disease preventing mechanisms. In this chapter, we have reviewed the chemistry and pharmacological basis of W. somnifera in various human ailments.
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    ABSTRACT: Arsenic is present in the environment and human all over the world are exposed to small amounts, mostly through food, water, and air. In the developing countries like Bangladesh and India, the high prevalence of contamination, the isolation and poverty of the rural population and the high cost and complexity of arsenic removal systems have imposed a programmatic and policy challenge on an unprecedented scale. Although in India, Arsenic poisoning in ground water in Gangetic basin especially the districts adjoining the river Ganges right from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar to West Bengal is the major problem of concern. Due to which, major health related problems are arising in the population.To combat the present problem, a pre-clinical study was done on Charles foster rats and sodium arsenite at the dose of 8 mg Kg-1 body weight per day was administered to these rats for 60 days and upon these arsenic pretreated rats, novel plant extracts of Withania somnifera and Pteris longifolia were administered for 45 days to study the antidote effects of these plant extracts. These plants not only eliminated the toxic effects of arsenic but also reversed the normal physiological activity in the animal. Thus, the present study concludes that these novel plants possesses the best bioremedial impact against arsenic induced toxicity.
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    ABSTRACT: Withania somnifera is an important medicinal plant and used to cure many diseases. Direct regeneration method was standardized for the nodal explants of W. somnifera. In this method, the maximum of 42.4 ± 2.68 shoots produced per explant was achieved at 1.5 mg l−1 BAP with 0.3 mg l−1 IAA in the second subculture. Transformation was performed in the nodal explants of W. somnifera via direct regeneration using Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain EHA105 that harbored a binary vector pGA492, which carrying kanamycin resistant (nptII), phosphinothricin resistant (bar) and an intron containing β-glucuronidase (gus-intron) genes. The sensitivity of nodal explants to kanamycin (300 mg l−1) was determined for the selection of transformed plants. Transformation was confirmed by histochemical β-glucuronidase (GUS) assay and amplification of the nptII gene by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR and southern blot analyses confirmed the integration of nptII gene in the genome of W. somnifera and the transformation frequency of 3.16 % has been achieved. This is the first report on the genetic transformation of W. somnifera using nodal explants, which may aid in the transformation of any other character gene for improving therapeutic value.
    Acta Physiologiae Plantarum 08/2014; 36(8):1969-1980. DOI:10.1007/s11738-014-1572-2 · 1.52 Impact Factor

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