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Withania somnifera is highly medicinal plant species of Pakistan floristically placed in the Western Himalayan Province, Himalaya Range of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and in the Soon valley (Salt Range) of Punjab Pakistan. It grows in high altitude of 5500 feet in the Himalayas. Its English name is Winter Cherry and its Urdu name is Asghand/Kutilal. It is the low lying shrub of about 1.50 m in height with erect branching. It grows in dry arid regions of Pakistan, India, China and Bangladesh. Its flowers are bisexual, small, axillary, greenish, solitary and few-flowered cymes. Chemical analysis of Ashwagandha showed that it has alkaloids and steroidal lactones (withanolides) as the main chemical constituent. W. somnifera has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List. However, in Pakistan, W. somnifera is falling under criteria A of endangered category. Asghand (W. somnifera) acquires much therapeutic potential which include sedative, narcotic, thyroid stimulation, anti-inflamma-tory, hypnotic, anti-stress, general tonic, diuretic, antimicrobial, and antitu-mor activities. There are number of threats responsible for the decrease of W. somnifera number in western Himalayan range and salt range of Punjab Pa-kistan which may include deforestation over exploitation and climatic changes. Conservation strategies need to be adopted for improving the population pool of W. somnifera. There is also the dire need to conserve this important medicinal plant species with some standard biotechnological approaches and conservation strategies in future.
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American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2017, 8, 1159-1169
http://www.scirp.org/journal/ajps
ISSN Online: 2158-2750
ISSN Print: 2158-2742
DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2017.85076 April 30, 2017
Current Status of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal:
An Endangered Medicinal Plant from Himalaya
Sumaira Aslam1, Naveed Iqbal Raja1, Mubashir Hussain1*, Muhammad Iqbal1, Muhammad Ejaz1,
Danish Ashfaq2, Hira Fatima3, Muhammad Ali Shah4, Abd-Ur-Rehman1, Maria Ehsan1
1Department of Botany, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
2Department of Botany, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lahore, Sargodha, Pakistan
4Department of Biotechnology, University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
Abstract
Withania somnifera
is highly medicinal plant species of Pakistan floristically
placed in the Western Himalayan Province, Himalaya Range of Azad Jammu
and Kashmir and in the Soon valley (Salt Range) of Punjab Pakistan. It grows
in high altitude of 5500 feet in the Himalayas.
Its English name is Winter
Cherry and its Urdu name is Asghand/Kutilal. It is the
low lying shrub of
about 1.50 m in height with erect branching. It grows in dry arid regions of
Pakistan, India, China and Bangladesh. Its flowers are bisexual, small, axill
ary,
greenish, solitary and few-
flowered cymes. Chemical analysis of Ashwagandha
showed that it has alkaloids and steroidal lactones (withanolides) as the
main
chemical constituent.
W. somnifera
has not yet been assessed for the IUCN
Red List. However, in Pakistan,
W. somnifera
is falling under criteria A of e
n-
dangered category.
Asghand
(
W. somnifera
) acquires much therapeutic p
o-
tential which include sedative, narcotic, thyroid stimulation, anti-inflamma
-
tory, hypnotic, anti-stress, general tonic, diuretic, antimicrobial, and antit
u-
mor activities. There are number of threats responsible for the decrease of
W.
somnifera
number in western Himalayan range and salt range of Punjab P
a-
kistan which may include deforestation over exploitation and cli
matic
changes. Conservation strategies need to be adopted for improving the pop
u-
lation pool of
W. somnifera
. There is also the dire need to conserve this i
m-
portant medicinal plant species with some standard biotechnological approac
h-
es and conservation strategies in future.
Keywords
Withania somnifera
, Endangered, Antimicrobial, Antitumor, Conservation
How to cite this paper:
Aslam, S.,
Raja,
N.I.,
Hussain, M., Iqbal, M., Ejaz, M., Ash
faq,
D.,
Fatima, H., Shah, M.A., Abd-Ur-Rehman
a
nd Ehsan, M. (2017) Current Status of
Wi
-
thania somnifera
(L.) Dunal: An Endan
gered
Medicinal Plant
from Himalaya.
American
Journal of Plant Sciences
,
8
, 1159-1169.
https://doi.org/10.4236/ajps.2017.85076
Received:
March 18, 2017
Accepted:
April 27, 2017
Published:
April 30, 2017
Copyright © 201
7 by authors and
Scientific
Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution
International
License (CC BY
4.0).
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Open Access
S. Aslam et al.
1160
1. Introduction
It is commonly recognized that the pace of plant extinction has been reached to
one species per day as a consequence of anthropogenic activities and this decline
rate is believed to be 1000 - 10,000 times faster than that would naturally occur
[1] [2] and if this decline remains constant, 60,000 - 100,000 plant species may
disappear in future [2] [3]. Major reason behind the current issue is the habitat
loss by various anthropogenic activities, resulting in the fragmentation, altera-
tion, and destruction of habitats. Furthermore, climate change is another major
factor in this connection [4].
According to IUCN Red list, categories and criteria, unfortunately, insufficient
work has been done on threatened plants of Pakistan and extremely little bit in-
formation is available on this subject [5]. The moist temperate in Himalaya regions
of Pakistan acquires much attention for the conservation of environment as well as
the sustainable use of all the natural resources. The decline in forest cover and sig-
nificant changes in community structure are responsible for the decline of indi-
genous medicinal flora together with their traditional knowledge [6].
In the present study, distribution, morphology, chemical composition, medi-
cinal properties, major threats, conservation status, and conservation strategies
of the important endangered medicinal plant
W. somnifera
were discussed. Ex-
tensive grazing, deforestation and over-exploitation have caused forest degrada-
tion, habitat fragmentation and species extinction [7]. At high altitudes of Hi-
malaya where possible availability of cultivated land is fairly less, so development
of botanical gardens as well as promotion of kitchen garden or home gardens
may be regarded as the conservation strategy for sustainable utilization of medi-
cinal plants. The people of the native area mainly rely on the plant diversity for
numerous purposes and ultimately lead plants to extinction [8]. Damages to the
plants are smuggling of trees and shrubs; careless and illicit cutting and over-
grazing, loss of habitat, converting the plan slopes in the forests for cultivation
purposes also put forth vast stress on the vegetation and these results in degra-
dation to the environment [9] [10].
2. Distribution of W. somnifera
W. somnifera
(Dunal) is member of family Solanaceae. Its English name is Win-
ter Cherry and its Urdu name is Asghand/Kutilal [6]. This plant is xerophytic in
nature, distributed in the drier parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka,
and in the Mediterranean regions as shown in Figure 1. In Pakistan, it is found
in Nandiar Khuwar, District Battagram of Western Himalayan Province [6] and
in regions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir [11].
W. somnifera
is also associated
with Knotti Garden sites of Soon valley and Anga, Khabeki and (Salt Range) of
Punjab Pakistan [12] [13] [14].
3. Habitat
The plant is distributed in dry areas of sub-tropics and is low lying shrub of 1.50 m
height possessed erect branching. It also grows in dry arid areas of India, Pakistan,
S. Aslam et al.
1161
Figure 1. Distribution of
W. somnifera
(Yellow dots are showing plant distribution).
(a) (b)
Figure 2. (a)
W. somnifera
plant; (b)
W. somnifera
fruits.
China and Bangladesh. It is distributed in the base of hills in
broad-leaved and
Pinus roxburghii
forests [6].
4. Morphological Description
W. somnifera
Dunal (
Synon. Physalis flexuosa L.;
Physalis somnifera L).
is an
erect, stellate-tomentose, grayish, under shrub with 30 - 75 cm in height having
long tuberous roots (Figure 2(a)). Leaves are sub-opposite, broadly ovate to ob-
long, alternate, petiolate, entire and sub-acute with lamina (5 - 10 × 2.5 - 7) cm.
Flowers are bisexual, greenish, small, solitary, axillary, or in few-flowered cymes.
The calyx is gamosepalous possesses five 3 - 5 mm lobes, inflated and acrescent
in a fruit. The corolla is greenish-yellow of five 5 - 8 mm lobes and campanulate.
Stamens are five numbers. The ovary is glabrous, globose and ovoid containing
many ovules. The filiform style as well as 2-lobed stigma, fruit is a globose/berry,
orange-red in color when ripen and covered in the enlarged calyx (Figure 2(b)).
Seeds are many, discoid, yellow and reniform [15] [16] [17].
5. Chemical Constituents
Chemical analysis of Ashwagandha showed that it has alkaloids and steroidal
lactones (withanolides) as its main constituents (Figures 3(a)-(c)). Several si-
S. Aslam et al.
1162
Figure 3. The basic structure of (a) Withanolide (b) Withaferin A and (c) Withanolide A [18].
toindosides, thirty five withanolides and twelve alkaloids from
W. somnifera
plant have been isolated and well-studied. Among all these withanine is the ma-
jor constituent. The withanolides contains C-28 steroidal nucleus along with C-9
side chain and with a six membered lactone ring [19]. Significant Ashwaganda’s
pharmacological activity has been characterized by the two main withanolides,
withaferin A and withanolide D. More chemical analysis has showed the pres-
ence of Alkaloids like Anaferine, Anahygrine, Beta-Sisterol, Chlorogenic acid
(found in leaf only), Cysteine (found in fruit), Iron, Cuscohygrine, Pseudotro-
pine, Somniferinine, Scopoletin, Tropanol, Somniferiene, Withananine, Witha-
nine and Withanolides A-Y Steroidal lactones [20] [21].
6. Importance of W. somnifera
6.1. Source of Fuel and Fodder
The local people use this plant species as source of fuel, for cooking and heating
during winter as they lack the natural gas facility. It is also widely used as a fod-
der plant [11].
6.2. Medicinal Uses
Medicinal plants are nature gift for humanity to treat various human ailments.
Among them,
W. somnifera
possess various biological properties.
W. somnifera
possess high anti-inflammatory activity [22]. Anti-inflammatory activity has
been associated due to biologically active steroids. Withaferin A is a chief com-
ponent of those steroids. Its effectiveness is comparable to hydrocortisone so-
dium succinate dose [23]. The potential chemical constituents of
W. somnifera
are effective against pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses [23] [24]. Asghand
revealed a considerable modulation of immune reactivity in model animals. Wi-
thanolide E specifically affect on T lymphocytes only while Withaferin A poten-
tially affects both B as well as T lymphocytes [25] [26] [27] [28]. Various studies
demonstrated ashwagandha proved to be effective in treatment of osteoarthritis
[29], inflammation [30] [31] [32] as well as tardive dyskinesia [33]. Studies also
showed ashwagandha to be a potent antimicrobial agent, along with antifungal
S. Aslam et al.
1163
activity [34] [35] and moderate antibacterial activity against
Pseudomonas aeru-
ginosa
and
Staphyloccus aureus
[36]. Ashwagandha also revealed an antidepres-
sant effect analogous to that persuaded by imipramine in forced swim-induced
“learned helplessness” and “behavioral despair” tests. Other parallel studies va-
lidate these results, lending support to the utilization of ashwagandha as a potent
anti-stress adaptogen [37] [38].
W. somnifera
though possess an advantage over
Panax ginseng
because it does not results in ginseng-abuse syndrome, a condi-
tion recognized by insomnia, high blood pressure, water retention and muscle
tension [39].
W. somnifera
may also enhance thyroid activity ultimately effects
on cellular antioxidant systems. These results specify ashwaganda as a valuable
plant in treatment of hypothyroidism [40]. Hypo-cholesterolemic, hypoglycem-
ic, and diuretic effects of ashwagandha roots were evaluated in human subjects.
Considerable increases in urine volume, urine sodium, decreases in serum cho-
lesterol as well as triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins were moreover seen
[41]. Ashwagandha revealed stimulatory effects, both
in vitro
in addition to
in
vivo
on the production of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and depicted the potential to
suppress tumor growth [42]. The chemo-preventive activity of plant is owing to
the antioxidant or free radical scavenging action of the extract [43].
7. Conservation Status
W. somnifera
has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List. However, Siddi-
que
et al.
[44] and Sharma
et al.
[45] declared
W. somnifera
as endangered and
rare plant. In Pakistan,
W. somnifera
is falling in criteria A of endangered cate-
gory [6]. So there is need to conserve this species like highly medicinal wild plant
species [46] and economically important plants
Citrus reticulata
[47].
8. Threats towards Extinction of W. somnifera
The various threats are facing by
W. somnifera
which leads towards the extinc-
tion of this highly medicinal species. Increase in human population and constant
unplanned over exploitation of this plant for medicinal, firewood and fodder
purposes has resulted damage into the Withania species.
8.1. Deforestation
Deforestation in the salt valley and Himalayas is mainly due to the demographic
pressure and many further related effects like livestock population increase in
demand of land for cultivation, and utilization of the forests to meet growing
needs for fuel as well as fodder. Conversely, social issues such as perceptions, so-
cial relationships together with the natural resources as seen by various social
groups, concerns of access to as well as control over natural resources, and mat-
ters of power relative to deforestation, have hardly ever been discussed in litera-
ture as probable driving forces to deforestation.
8.2. Improper Collection and over Exploitation
In Pakistan medicinal plants are mostly collected from the wild areas. Unfortu-
S. Aslam et al.
1164
nately local collectors are unaware about the best plant collection procedures. It
was observed that commercial gatherers collect medicinal plants in large
amounts from remote areas of the Himalayan range. This activity is likely
grounds in rapid depletion of medicinal plant resources in the area. Similar ac-
tivities have been reported in other areas such as Swat [48] whereas Choudhry
et
al.
[49] reported that five hundred local families are engaged in medicinal plant
collection and that they annually collected 5000 tons of medicinal plants. Same is
the case with
W. somnifera
and its population size has been lessened up to 67%
owing to loss of habitat by local people and its improper medicinal collection
[6].
8.3. Climatic Changes
During last many years, less rain fall and large scale deforestation in the Hima-
layan range has rigorously changed the environment owing to which lush green
slopes have been transformed to barren land [12]. Similar to global warming,
this is causing progressive rise in temperature resulting in loss of many impor-
tant medicinal plants such as Withania
species [50].
9. Conservation Strategies
W. somnifera
is a highly important medicinal plant and used globally in phar-
maceutical industry. Withania propagates vegetative in its natural state, but this
propagation rate is much slow to meet demand of high quality planting material
for commercial cultivation [51]. The
W. somnifera
plant is a set and valuable
resource that requires wise, efficient as well as sustainable management and
conservation strategies. Therefore, instant conservation measures as projected
below are immediately necessary in order to protect the plant from extinction.
The conservation strategies should be adopted for the conservation of highly
medicinal plants [52] [53].
Biotechnological techniques can help us to conserve this miracle plant. A swift
and extremely effective method is the micropropagation method for elite selec-
tion of Withania
by auxiliary branching method utilizing shoot tip as explants
was standardized by [51]. Shoot cultures were initiated on MS medium contain-
ing BA (0.5 - 2.0 mg/L) with NAA (0.2 - 0.5 mg/L) containing 3% commercial
sucrose and 0.8% agar. This fast and competent regeneration protocol could be
used for large production of selected cultivated varieties at commercial scale.
This direct regeneration method which lessens genetic flux that is normally
come across during callus mediated regeneration will assist in production of
large number of selected superior chemo types ashwagandha which has high-
quality demand in the present drug market. Iqbal
et al.
[54] established a proto-
col for synthetic seed production by using artificial coating material (sodium al-
ginate) and complexing agent (calcium chloride) through somatic embryogene-
sis. This synthetic seed technology can also be very helpful for medicinal plants
such as Withania species. Siddique
et al.
[44] have reported an easy and efficient
protocol for micropropogation of the endangered medicinal plant
W. somnifera
.
S. Aslam et al.
1165
This protocol can be used for booming and rapid technique that can be utilized
for ex-situ conservation. The implementation of these protocols can aid to dimi-
nish the pressure on wild populations and contribute toward the conservation of
the valuable plant
W. somnifera
.
It is anticipated that a standard protocol to persuade multiple shoots in cul-
tures may offer more homogenous source of this important medicinal plant. Si-
milarly a mass awareness campaign must be launched on both governmental as
well as community level in order to endorse consciousness among the people
about the importance of plants and conservation of the flora. Moreover, proper
documentation and conservation of indigenous knowledge requires to be done.
Appropriate training of the local communities regarding the conservation and
sustainable use of flora needs to be given. Anthropogenic impacts like deforesta-
tion and overgrazing should be reduced. These species should also be grown in
botanical gardens. Permanent monitoring programs should be developed. So
there is the urgent need to conserve this plant species like other threatened plant
species [55] [56] [57] [58] [59].
10. Conclusion
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that low rain fall, over grazing,
population pressure, natural and accidental fires, soil aridity, deforestation, and
over exploitation of medicinal plants are the major threats to biodiversity in the
Himalayan and salt range. If the local people were not provided exchange of
these problems, then the triumphing disturbances will rapidly eliminate the re-
maining patches of vegetation, predominantly medicinal flora of this biodiversi-
ty, rich areas including
W. somnifera.
This review has been compiled to high-
light ample information about the status of
W. somnifera
, major threats to Hi-
malayan biodiversity and conservation strategies to maintain population of im-
portant medicinal plants such as
W. somnifera
. Instantaneous and complete
protection, effective community participation, efficient recovery system and
biotechnological approaches for long term conservation are essential for sus-
tainable use of
W. somnifera
in future.
Conflict of Interest Statement
We declare that we have no conflict of interest.
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... However, this plant is adapted to both drought and a wide range of temperatures that can span from 5-45°C in a single growing season (optimal temperatures 20-30°C). Ashwagandha is also tolerant to high altitudes and can be found thriving at 1600m above sea level (Aslam et al., 2017;Farooqui et al., 2001). ...
... Each berry is approximately 5 mm in diameter and contains ~20-40 kidney-shaped seeds (Figure 2.2). Ashwagandha is known for its characteristically large and odorous taproot that has a fleshy texture and creamy colouring (Aslam et al., 2017;Farooqui et al., 2001). Leaf shape varies based on phenotype and stage of maturity and has been reported as elliptic-lanceolate, oblanceolate, oval, ovate or oblong. ...
... Due to ashwagandha's native and cultivated locations, it is susceptible to many of the environment-related issues discussed in previous sections (Chapter 1.3). While ashwagandha grows in plentiful amounts in some areas of the world, in others, it is already endangered or at risk due to pressures like overharvesting, climate change, or loss of arable land (Aslam et al., 2017;De silva et al., 2009). Withania somnifera populations are also particularly vulnerable because of poor germination rates and increased pressure due to climate change and is unable to repopulate at a faster rate than it is being removed (Aslam et al., 2017). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) production of medicinal plants is a proposed way to increase the availability of standardised, phytochemically uniform or enhanced raw materials for plant-based medicines. This thesis explored the status of medicinal plants within this modern era of agriculture, and investigated the production of a valued medicinal plant, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal). To begin establishing horticultural recommendations towards the development of a CEA production-strategy framework for W. somnifera, studies were conducted to evaluate germination, net carbon exchange rate (NCER) responses under increasing photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) or varying qualities (wavelengths in nm), effects of supplemental UV-A light on antioxidant activity, and the effects of repeated harvesting on biomass production. Findings suggest that W. somnifera is a highly adaptive plant, as positive responses were seen under a wide range of spectral conditions, and plants did not exhibit negative responses when subjected to UV-A or repeated harvest treatments.
... e leaves are simple, glabrous, and ovate and elongate up to 10 cm in height with greenish or lurid yellow flowers. Globally, it has been distributed from Southern Mediterranean regions to the Canary Island; from Palestine to North India covering Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan; and from South to East Africa including Ethiopia [16,17]. In Ethiopia, W. somnifera is distributed throughout the region and known with different local names such as "Giziewa" in Amharic [18], "Lallaafaa" in Afaan Oromoo [19], and "Agol" in Tigray [20]. ...
... (p < 0.001), and 54.69% (p < 0.001), respectively. e reduction of weight at the 100 mg/kg, 200 mg/kg, and 400 mg/kg was 7.57% (p < 0.05), 16.45% (p < 0.001), and 46.97% (p < 0.001), respectively. ...
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Background: Withaniasomnifera is an important medicinal plant for the treatment of diarrhea in Ethiopian folklore medicine. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antidiarrheal activity of Withania somnifera leaves in Swiss albino mice. Materials and methods: Hydromethanolic crude extraction and solvent fractionation were done using cold maceration technique. 80% methanol was used as a solvent in crude extraction, while distilled water, n-butanol, and chloroform were employed during fractionation. Castor oil-induced diarrhea, enteropooling, and gastrointestinal motility models were employed to evaluate antidiarrheal activity. Mice were randomly divided into five groups (six mice per group): negative control, which received 2% Tween 80 in distilled water; positive control, which received 3 mg/kg loperamide; and three test groups (III, IV, and V), which were treated with 100 mg/kg, 200 mg/kg, and 400 mg/kg of crude extract and solvent fractions, respectively. Results: The crude extract, aqueous, and n-butanol fractions significantly delayed the onset of diarrhea at 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg dose. There was a significant reduction in the number and weight of stools at all tested doses of the crude extract and aqueous fraction, and at 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg of n-butanol fraction. Significant reduction in volume and weight of intestinal contents was observed at all tested doses of the crude extract, and at 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg of aqueous and n-butanol fractions. All tested doses of the crude extract and 200 mg/kg and 400 mg/kg of the aqueous and n-butanol fractions significantly reduced the motility of charcoal meal. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the crude extract and solvent fractions of the Withania somnifera leaves have antidiarrheal activity and supported the folklore use of the plant.
... Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), a member of family Solanaceae, having several medicinal properties, has been used as a remedy in the ancient system of Indian medicine [171,172]. The underground (roots) parts of this plants are dried and are used to cure various nervous and sexual disorders. ...
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Traditionally, medicinal plants have long been used as a natural therapy. Plant-derived extracts or phytochemicals have been exploited as food additives and for curing many health-related ailments. The secondary metabolites produced by many plants have become an integral part of human health and have strengthened the value of plant extracts as herbal medicines. To fulfil the demand of health care systems, food and pharmaceutical industries, interest in the cultivation of precious medicinal plants to harvest bio-active compounds has increased considerably worldwide. To achieve maximum biomass and yield, growers generally apply chemical fertilizers which have detrimental impacts on the growth, development and phytoconstituents of such therapeutically important plants. Application of beneficial rhizosphere microbiota is an alternative strategy to enhance the production of valuable medicinal plants under both conventional and stressed conditions due to its low cost, environmentally friendly behaviour and non-destructive impact on fertility of soil, plants and human health. The microbiological approach improves plant growth by various direct and indirect mechanisms involving the abatement of various abiotic stresses. Given the negative impacts of fertilizers and multiple benefits of microbiological resources, the role of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) in the production of biomass and their impact on the quality of bio-active compounds (phytochemicals) and mitigation of abiotic stress to herbal plants have been described in this review. The PGPR based enhancement in the herbal products has potential for use as a low cost phytomedicine which can be used to improve health care systems.
... Withania somnifera (Family Solanaceae) is an important wild plant being used in folk medicines a thousand years ago (Dhanani et al. 2017). It is a small woody shrub native to Indian subcontinent, Southern Europe, and North Africa (Aslam et al. 2017). It contains interesting chemical constituents' profile that are biologically active such as alkaloids, withanone, withasomniferols A-C, steroidal compounds, steroidal lactones, withanolides A-Y, withaferin A, withasomniferin-A, and withasomidienone (Tiruveedi et al. 2018). ...
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Background Ascochyta blight caused by a fungal pathogen, Ascochyta rabiei , is a serious disease of chickpea in most chickpea growing areas of the world. The disease can be controlled by fungicides to reduce the environmental pollution. Main body This study reports the control of Ascochyta blight by using extracts and dry biomass of a weed plant, Withania somnifera (Family Solanaceae). In a laboratory bioassay, a 0.2% concentration of methanolic leaf extract of W. somnifera significantly inhibited the pathogenic fungal growth. Methanolic leaf extract was fractionated with 4 organic solvents of different polarities namely n- hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate, and n- butanol. The effect of different concentrations (3.125, 6.25, 12.5, 25, 50, 100, 200 mg ml ⁻¹ ) of the 4 organic solvent fractions was assessed on in vitro growth of the pathogen. Among these, ethyl acetate and n- butanol fractions completely inhibited the fungal growth. Ethyl acetate fraction was further subjected to thin layer chromatography to separate the potent antifungal compounds A and B. Compound A was found highly effective against the targeted fungal pathogen with MIC 31.25 μg ml − 1 , followed by B with MIC value of 250 μg ml ⁻¹ as compared to 7.81 μg ml ⁻¹ MIC of a commercial fungicide mancozeb. In pot trial, the soil was amended by 1, 2, and 3% dry leaf material of the test plant species. Disease incidence was significantly reduced in 3% dose. Conclusions This study concludes that W. somnifera contains potent antifungal compounds that can be effectively exploited for the control of A. rabiei .
... This plant is present in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Spain, parts of the Middle East Africa and the Canary Islands. In Pakistan, W. somnifera is falling under criteria A of endangered category (Aslam et al., 2017). Withania somnifera belong to family solanaceae, which also include the medicinal plant of Withania coagolans. ...
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Withania somnifera is an important medicinal plant used in Pakistan from the old time by the herbalists in making different medicines. The history of this plant comes from Unani and Ayurvedic system. Ethnopharmacological and chemical research on Withania somnifera proves that plant extracts have a wide range of applications. The Withania somnifera mostly utilized for its anti-inflammatory effect, anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal, cardiovascular effects and for various other activities as well. Its chemical constituents also showed an awesome antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Pesudomanas fluorescens, Bacillus stubtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Xanthomonas axonopodis and Puccinia malvacearum. Still, a well conducted biological research for several applications of this plant is required. The variability in chemistry of this plant seems important, so future studies and research on the pharmacological activities of these plant extracts should provide more chemical profile which will increase their validity.
... However, several species face the risk of extinction from indiscriminate collection and habitat loss (Bentley 2010;Sher et al. 2013;Jeelani et al. 2018), while certain wild resources are severely weakened with raising human population and plant overconsumption (Ross 2011). This not only leads in extinction, but puts biodiversity at high risk (Aslam et al. 2017;Iqbal et al. 2017;Saira and Iqbal 2017;Shaheen et al. 2017). MAPs' production via cultivation can minimize the high pressure on populations of wild MAPs and maintain uniformity in production. ...
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Indiscriminate harvest of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) from their natural habitats affects availability and endangers existence of these plants. Therefore, approaches for promoting cultivation must be sought for the maintenance of these plants and the improvement of livelihood in local communities. Understanding factors affecting cultivation of MAPs is of paramount importance, particularly in developing countries, but research on this issue is scarce. This study aimed at identifying and prioritizing driving and inhibiting factors affecting cultivation of MAPs in Rasht, Iran, using the Delphi method. Multiple-response techniques were used to analyze the content (effective factors), using properly designed questionnaires. Data were analyzed using conventional techniques such as means, variation ratios, Shannon entropy, and triangular fuzzy numbers. Crucial factors promoting the cultivation of MAPs in the region were: (1) the identification of important native medicinal species compatible with the ecological conditions of the province, (2) the establishment of facilities for processing MAPs, and (3) providing experimental spaces for the domestication of wild medicinal species. On the other hand, the most important factors inhibiting the cultivation of these plants in the region were: (1) the lack of information that would motivate cultivation of medicinal plants, (2) the lack of herbal medicine companies in the province area, and (3) the lack of coordination between research centers and environment agencies in the context of decision making. Values of Kendall’s W were found to be 0.203 for the driving factors and 0.219 for the inhibiting factors, implying agreement of the experts, so that an additional round of Delphi was not required. Findings shed light on factors that could help policy-makers at national and international level to promote the cultivation of MAPs, thus linking regular quantity of MAPs for the pharmaceutical industry and ensuring livelihood and socioeconomic development of the local communities as well as conservation of the natural resource base.
Chapter
Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal, commonly known as Ashwagandha, is a high value medicinal plant of the family Solanaceae. Besides the drier parts of India, it also grows up to a hight of 1,700 meters in Himalayan region (mainly Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir). It possesses a wide array of health benefits due to the presence of several bio-active metabolites in it, mainly belonging to a class called as Withanolides (a group of steroidal lactones with a basic C-28 framework) and have been repeatedly found effective against some of the important human ailments. With the growing market of herbal drugs and increase in the market demand of Ashwagandha, the major challenges in this crop (low seed viability, losses due to pest/diseases, quality maintenance of herbal products etc.) need to be addressed in a systematic manner. Several efforts have been made to explore the variability (morphological, genetic and chemotypic) in its germplasm and also to identify the key genes of the withanolide biosynthetic pathway. Many attempts have also been made to increase the production of bio-actives in W. somnifera both under in vivo and in vitro conditions. Keeping this in mind, the present book chapter have been structured to discuss the major challenges and major crop improvement/breeding objectives in this crop. Further, we have tried to highlight the OMICS (proteomic, transcriptomic, genomic and metabolomic) studies made in this plant which, will may help in designing suitable strategies for the improvement of this medicinal plant crop. Various biotechnological intervention (tissue culture, genetic transformation etc.) tried in this crop for its improvement have also been discussed, which will provide a holistic view of the crop improvement efforts made in this important medicinal plant species.
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Medicinal plants are the nature’s gift for the humanity to treat various diseases and to spend a prosperous healthy life. There are almost 500 species of Artemisia. Among them, Artemisia absinthium (A. absinthium) which is commonly known as wormwood is a well-known herb. It is mentioned in almost all the herbal medicinal books of the Western world. The aim of this review article is to gather information about A. absinthium which is currently scattered in form of various publications. Through this review article tried to attract the attention of people for therapeutic potential of A. absinthium. The present review comprises upto date information of active ingredients, up and down in absinthe, controversy, essential oil, traditional uses, in vitro production of secondary metabolites for pharmaceutical, pharmacology such as antitumor, neurotoxic, neuroprotective, hepatoprotective, antimalarial, anthelminitc, antipyretic, antidepressant, antiulcer, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiprotozoal and challenges of A. absinthium. Some progress has been made, but still consistent efforts are required to explore the individual compounds isolated from A. absinthium to validate and understand its traditional uses and clinical practices. This review article provides preliminary information and gives a direction for the basic and clinical research on A. absinthium (wormwood).
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