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Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese Medicine Part 1. Foundation in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects, Clinical Efficacy, and Properties

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a methodical and organized system for the classification of herbal medicines. These classifications have been developed over many hundreds of years of careful observation and documentation of each of the traditional herbs and their effect on the human body. Due to isolation and long distances between different countries and cultures, certain significant herbal medicines (such as Ashwagandha from India) are not currently classified per TCM principles. The systems of Ayurveda and TCM are juxtaposed, herein, to establish a parallel between the two systems. In TCM, each herbal substance has its distinct attributes; therefore, a side-by-side comparison was made between each relevant herb and Ashwagandha. Because of this comparison, in the TCM herbal classification system, Ashwagandha can be categorized as "Tonify Qi" and "Tonify Blood and Essence". This comparison, depicted in (Table 1), provides evidence to classify Ashwagandha in TCM accurately and establishes a methodology by which other relevant herbal medicines can be joined with Chinese medicine and classified under TCM categories and terms.
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Curr Res Complement Altern Med, an open access journal
ISSN: 2577-2201
1Volume 2018; Issue 01
Current Research in
Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Review Article
Forman M and Kerna NA. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133.
Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese
Medicine Part 1. Foundation in Ashwagandha: Physiological
Effects, Clinical Efcacy, and Properties
Michael Forman1,2 and Nicholas A. Kerna1*
1College of Medicine, University of Science, Arts and Technology, Montserrat, BWI
2Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine, USA
*Corresponding author: Nicholas A. Kerna, College of Medicine, University of Science, Arts and Technology, 4288 Young eld
Street, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 USA. Email: nicholas.kerna@usat.edu
Citation: Forman M, Kerna NA (2018) Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese Medicine Part 1. Founda-
tion in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects, Clinical Efcacy, and Properties. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133.
DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
Received Date: 08 September, 2018; Accepted Date: 04 October, 2018; Published Date: 12 October, 2018
DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
Abstract
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a methodical and organized system for the classication of herbal medicines.
These classications have been developed over many hundreds of years of careful observation and documentation of each of the
traditional herbs and their effect on the human body. Due to isolation and long distances between different countries and cultures,
certain signicant herbal medicines (such as Ashwagandha from India) are not currently classied per TCM principles.
The systems of Ayurveda and TCM are juxtaposed, herein, to establish a parallel between the two systems. In TCM,
each herbal substance has its distinct attributes; therefore, a side-by-side comparison was made between each relevant herb and
Ashwagandha. Because of this comparison, in the TCM herbal classication system, Ashwagandha can be categorized as “Tonify
Qi” and “Tonify Blood and Essence”. This comparison, depicted in (Table 1), provides evidence to classify Ashwagandha in
TCM accurately and establishes a methodology by which other relevant herbal medicines can be joined with Chinese medicine
and classied under TCM categories and terms.
Keywords: Abortifacient; Adaptogen; Ashwagandha;
Ayurveda; Chínese Medicine; Dunal; Qi; Materia Medica; TCM;
Withania somnifera
Abbreviations
PDR : Physicians’ Desk Reference
TCM : Traditional Chinese Medicine
Preface
The Compendium of Materia Medica (written by Li
Shizhen), upon which TCM is based, lists and classies, among
grasses and plants, those herbs that were found or known to exist
in China at the time of its writing during the Ming Dynasty (the
rst draft completed in 1578). The essence and purpose of this
paper is to propose well-documented herbs outside of the historical
TCM “universe” be included in Materia Medica; and by doing
so, certain herbal medicines, such as Ashwagandha (Withania
somnifera)–a foundational herb in traditional Indian Ayurveda
(Ayurvedic Medicine)–can be used effectively in accordance with
existing TCM diagnostic criteria and treatment protocol.
Withania somnifera and Withania somnifera (Dunal) are
interchangeable scientic names for the herb Ashwagandha.
Michel Felix Dunal (1789-1856) was a French botanist and
professor of botany in Montpellier, France. Some herbal experts
use “Dunal“to acknowledge the professor involved in classifying
the Solanaceous plant genus, under which Ashwagandha is listed.
(The name Withernia somnifera is sometimes seen in the literature,
mistakenly or not.)
This paper is the rst in a series of papers; the series title
being “Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional
Citation: Forman M, Kerna NA (2018) Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese Medicine Part 1. Foundation in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects,
Clinical Efcacy, and Properties. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133. DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
2Volume 2018; Issue 01
Curr Res Complement Altern Med, an open access journal
ISSN: 2577-2201
Chinese Medicine”. This rst paper’s subtitle is “Foundation
in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects, Clinical Efcacy, and
Properties”. The subsequent papers will investigate apoptogenic
herbs; physiological effects; TCM herb classication and Ayurvedic
herb classication, and a comparison thereof; and a conclusion that
supports the recognition of Ashwagandha in TCM and its inclusion
in Materia Medica which is TCM’s herbal equivalent to Western
medicine’s pharmaceutical PDR. Each paper is standalone, and
can be read as such if the reader simply has an interest in one topic.
However, the papers will also be linked resulting in an in-depth
review of the herb, Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), and its
proposed inclusion and role as a fundamental herb in TCM.
Introduction
The Proposition for the Inclusion of Ashwagandha in
TCM
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a 5,000-year history
and describes the 2,000-year-old tradition of medical theories and
herbal classication and applications for the intervention in and
prevention of illness and for maintaining health and well-being.
In TCM, the primary therapeutic component is herbal substances.
The herbs utilized have been methodically classied and organized
following Chinese medical theories, which have culminated in
several monumental works detailing the discovery and therapeutic
development of herbal medicines. The following are three classical
written works (Chinese herbal texts) dating back to 125 CE:
Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic (Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing) (200-•
250 CE)
Materia Medica Tang Edition (Tang Ben Cao) (1057 CE)•
Compendium of Materia Medica (Bencao Gangmu) (1578 •
CE)
Two contemporary texts in English are as follows:•
Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, 1st Edition, •
by J. Chen and T. Chen (2004)
Materia Medica, 3rd Edition, by Dan Bensky, et al. (2015)•
In the past century, with the worldwide dominance of
Western medical science and its pharmaceutical intervention
orientation to health management, many herbs have been counter-
classied regarding their physiological effects and potential. These
herbs have now been arranged based on their direct physiological
impact on the body from a microbiological perspective. In this
regard, many herbs fail to meet scientic criteria on par with the
anecdotal evidence of historical and contemporary proponents and
users of the herbs or derivatives. Empirical studies are required
to prove efcacy. These studies and observations must be of high
quality-with peer-review acceptance-making them suitable for the
scientic and medical communities.
The TCM “herbal classics” include mainly herbs found in
China and surrounding areas; those were the herbs principally
at hand during the period these herbs were commonly used, and
subsequently documented. However, some of the herbs included
were those found in other parts of the world, beyond China, where
they were recognized for medicinal properties in those different
cultures and countries. As trade foreign trade found its way with
China, “foreign” herbs found their way into the TCM system
through the purview of Chinese herbal medicine scholars and
authorities [1].
Withenia somnifera (Dunal) is referred to in Indian Ayurvedic
medicine as Ashwagandha. This extraordinary herb, with its
signicant healing and medicinal properties, warrants inclusion in
the TCM Materia Medica. In this way, Ashwagandha would be
included in TCM textbooks, taught at TCM schools, and recognized
by TCM practitioners as an effective herbal medicine in the
treatment and prevention of certain diseases (Table 1).
Table 1: Comparison of Ashwagandha and classic Chinese herbs.
Note: Comparison of characteristics of Ashwagandha with
traditional TCM herbs evidencing Ashwagandha’s similarities thus
supporting the case for its inclusion in Materia Medica. Copyright
© 2016 by Michael Forman.
Classication and Etymology of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is scientically classied as Withania
somnifera (Dunal); it belongs to the botanical family Solanaceae.
Long revered as a cure-all herb in India and its importance in
Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a traditional system of healing
Citation: Forman M, Kerna NA (2018) Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese Medicine Part 1. Foundation in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects,
Clinical Efcacy, and Properties. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133. DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
3Volume 2018; Issue 01
Curr Res Complement Altern Med, an open access journal
ISSN: 2577-2201
that can be traced back to 6,000 BCE. Ashwagandha’s reputation
is one of the essential herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. This “famous”
herb is classied as Rasayana (a tonic), e.g., a group of plants
having properties to rejuvenate the body, promote the body’s
defense against disease, slow the aging process, and enhance
memory [2].
Ashwagandha derives its name from the Sanskrit words
“ashva” (meaning horse) and “gandha” (meaning smell) due to the
horse-like odor of the roots. Another reason for its name is the
belief that consuming the plant’s extracts will give a person the
strength and vitality of a horse [3].
Customarily in India, the root of the plant is considered the
crucial component which is crushed and used as a ne powder,
called “churna”. This powder form allows for easy blending
with water, milk, honey or other uids [4]. Ashwagandha has
been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, diuretic, astringent, and
anti-inammatory Withania Somnifera, 2004. It has been given
to children as a tonic and to elderly for rheumatism, insomnia,
constipation, and nervous breakdown [4].
Description of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha grows as a small, woody shrub, usually 2 to 5
feet tall. It has oval, small yellowish-green leaves with ve-petaled
owers and has red and yellow berries (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Image of the Ashwagandha plant (Withania somnifera) with its
typical smallish green leaves and red and yellow berries. Public domain.
Though the leaves and berries have also been tested and
used for medicinal properties, Ashwagandha’s main therapeutic
components are found in its whitish-brown roots that can grow up
to 2 feet in length Withania Somnifera, 2004 (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Image of the Ashwagandha plant (Withania somnifera) with its
native whitish-brown roots. Public domain.
The plant commonly grows in India, especially in areas
closest to the Himalayan region. It has been found growing in Africa
and the Mediterranean. It blooms year-round and can survive in
hot, arid conditions where many other plants cannot. In Ayurveda,
plants that can survive in harsh conditions are considered to have
strong healing and tonication properties Withania Somnifera,
2004.
Ashwagandha is a known adaptogen; therefore, each TCM
herb that was used for comparison is considered apoptogenic. A
comparison of the active chemical constituents was made, including
phytochemicals and alkaloids, to demonstrate a distinctly close
relationship-on a chemical level-among the herbs compared.
According to the online dictionary meriam-webster.com, an
adaptogen or apoptogenic substance is “a nontoxic substance, and
especially a plant extract, that is held to increase the body’s ability
to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore nor-
mal physiological”; in other words, an herb used to restore homeo-
stasis. To continue from the website medical-dictionary.thefreed-
ictionary.com: “adaptogens may act on serum glucose, leukocytes,
temperature, blood pressure or pulse by increasing or decreasing
the substance of interest” (Table 2)
Citation: Forman M, Kerna NA (2018) Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese Medicine Part 1. Foundation in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects,
Clinical Efcacy, and Properties. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133. DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
4Volume 2018; Issue 01
Curr Res Complement Altern Med, an open access journal
ISSN: 2577-2201
Table 2: A Comparison of Adaptogens in Different Medical Systems.
Note: Comparison of classication and actions of adaptogens
among various disciplines. Adapted from D. Winston and S.
Maimes [5].
Preparation
Ashwagandha is primarily prepared and used as a ne
powder made from drying and crushing the roots. It has, however,
been prepared in a variety of ways. In Ayurveda, the preparation of
many herbs corresponds to the effect one is trying to achieve with
that herb [6].
The most common traditional preparation of Rasayanas is
called the “milk decoction”. The usual method is to mix one-part
herb with eight parts of milk and thirty-two parts of water and boil
it with low heat until the water is evaporated.
In the case of Ashwagandha, however, the preferred method
is to cook the herb directly with milk. It is said that milk augments
the tonifying and nutritive effects of the herb. It is important to
note that the preparation should take place in an earthenware pot;
it is also said that earthenware combines with the herbs in a similar
way plants combine with the soil. Currently, Ashwagandha is most
often taken in the form of a powder extract of high concentration,
usually in capsules. [6].
Ashwagandha’s Active Constituents
Various studies have sought to discover the constituents
responsible for Ashwagandha’s observed and professed medicinal
properties. Alkaloids are the primary chemical constituents of
the plant including Isopelletierine, Anaferine, Cuseohygrine,
Anahygrine, Somniferine, Somnine, Somniferinine, Withananine,
Pseudo-Withanine, Tropine, Pseudo-Tropine, and Cuscohygrine
[7]. It also contains signicant amounts of saponins and steroidal
lactones including withanolides and withaferins [8-10].
Currently, twelve alkaloids including thirty-ve withanolides and
many sitoindosides (withanolides containing glucose at C-27)
have been isolated from the plant and studied. The withanolides
have been extensively investigated and are believed to be the main
constituents responsible for Ashwagandha’s medicinal effects.
Two withanolides, withaferin A and withaferin D, were found to
be the most medicinally active [11]. Withanolides are steroidal and
resemble the ginsenosides found in Panax ginseng (Ginseng) both
in structure and activity [4].
Alkaloids, Withanolides, and Sitoindosides
(Glycowithanolides)
Alkaloids are active compounds, found in naturally occurring
substances, consisting of nitrogen-containing bases. There are
many well-known alkaloids, such as morphine, strychnine, quinine,
ephedra, and nicotine. They are found in owering varieties of
plants and have been studied extensively. Alkaloids are believed
to be the waste materials given off by a plant during the metabolic
process and are very powerful. It has been suggested that they
may play a role in a natural insecticide action as a mechanism
to preserve plant quality [12]. The primary chemical structures
of alkaloids contain at least one nitrogen atom in an amine type
structure. They are called alkaloids because, like their inorganic
counterparts, they react with acids to form salts [12].
The medical properties of alkaloids are well known; they
are potent and have been the basis for the formation of many, if
not most, pharmaceutical drugs over the past 100 years. Many
analgesics, like morphine and codeine, are derived from plants,
and less addictive substances have been developed that treat
cardiac and respiratory impairments. One of the more common
alkaloids is nicotine derived from the tobacco plant and smoked
in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Many hallucinogens are alkaloid-
based substances, such as mescaline and psilocybin mushrooms;
these have given way to inorganic hallucinogens like LSD made
from lysergic acid [12].
Withanolides, a type of alkaloid found in Ashwagandha,
are believed to be the active ingredient that provides the healing
effects. The primary withanolides, which have been isolated
chemically, are withaferin A and withaferin D. These two
isolates are steroidal; they are fat-soluble organic compounds
that synthesize readily in the body and can function as signaling
molecules to affect the cell membranes. These characteristics help
explain many of the anti-inammatory and analgesic properties
associated with Ashwagandha, like those found in other alkaloid
plant compounds [13]. Sitoindosides (Glucowithanolides) are
withanolides containing a glucose molecule at carbon-27. The
active sitoindosides are sitoindoside VII and VIII; they have been
shown to have a dramatic inhibitory effect on the inammatory
process [9].
Citation: Forman M, Kerna NA (2018) Merging Ayurvedic Ashwagandha with Traditional Chinese Medicine Part 1. Foundation in Ashwagandha: Physiological Effects,
Clinical Efcacy, and Properties. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133. DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
5Volume 2018; Issue 01
Curr Res Complement Altern Med, an open access journal
ISSN: 2577-2201
Doses and Contraindications
Ashwagandha has been recognized for thousands of years
as an herb that can be taken long term with no toxic effects. It is
extremely safe when used in a predened range of doses. Many
toxicity studies have indicated Ashwagandha to be completely
safe [14]. A study by Sharma et al., as cited in Aphale, Chhibba,
Kumohakarna, Mateebuddin, & Dahat (1998) [15], showed that
Ashwagandha exhibited no toxic effects in laboratory rats after
eight months of continuous daily dosing. A follow-up study by
Aphale et al. (1998) [15] also showed no signicant organ damage
from prolonged doses of Ashwagandha.
A study by Raut et al. (2012) [16] on the human tolerability
of Withania (in which 18 subjects were given doses of aqueous
extract of Ashwagandha root in doses of 750mg/day graduating
to 1,250mg/day for 30 days) found no immediate intolerance or
adverse effects in any vital functions or organ health. Also, no
adverse effects were noted in the quality of sleep, appetite or bowel
habits. Padmavathi, Rath, Rao, & Singh (2005) [17] showed that
continuous doses of Withania had no adverse effects on the P450
system in laboratory mice and body weight gain prole.
The recommended dosage of the roots is different for each
form of the herb and different depending on the source. Yance
(2013) [14] suggests–for an average size adult–the raw dried root
can be taken in doses of 3-10 grams per day, a standardized powder
extract (1:1) up to 1000 mg/day or a concentrated liquid extract 2-8
ml per day. Other researchers suggest slightly higher doses; with
all agreeing that staying within recommended ranges is critical
for long-term safety. As with any substance, large doses should
be avoided and have been associated with gastrointestinal upset,
diarrhea, and vomiting. Large quantities may also be abortifacient
and should, therefore, be used with caution during pregnancy.
[14]
Conclusion
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a 2,000-year recorded
history. Most of TCM’s historical ndings, prescriptions, and
practices are noted in the extensive Materia Medica which was
compiled over twenty-seven years during the Ming Dynasty by
a scientic naturalist, Li Shizhen; the rst draft was completed in
1578 AD. At that time, due to the long distances and lack of prompt
communications between other countries and cultures, many
herbs, renowned in their country of origin–such as Ashwagandha
from India’s Ayurvedic tradition–were not known or included in
these earlier Chinese reference books. Even though Ashwagandha
has been proven over Ayurvedic’s 6,000-year history, it is yet to
be included in TCM’s Materia Medica. Currently, studies are
underway to investigate Ashwagandha’s bioactive physiological
components on a microbiological level that seem to support certain
practitioners’ and patients’ historical health benet claims.
Ashwagandha is scientically classied as Withania
somnifera (Dunal); it belongs to the botanical family Solanaceae. It
is a sturdy plant, of two to ve feet in height, able to survive in hot
climates. Ayurvedic considers such plants to have strong healing
and tonication properties. Its whitish-brown roots are rich in
bioactive ingredients of alkaloids, withanolides, and sitoindosides
(glycowithanolides); therefore, it is usually ingested in the form
of a powder in a liquid mix or capsule form. If consumed in the
recommended doses, Ashwagandha can be taken long term without
any signicant adverse effects. Caution must be used in pregnancy
as Ashwagandha has potential abortifacient properties. In a side-
by-side comparison of Ayurvedic and TCM herbs, Ashwagandha
can be categorized in TCM as having the properties to “Tonify Qi”
and “Tonify Blood and Essence”.
In subsequent articles, Ashwagandha will be investigated
as an adaptogenic herb. Also, the physiological effects of
Ashwagandha will be explored including anti-inammatory and
analgesic properties, immunostimulating and immunoprotective
properties, neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties,
anticancer and anti-tumor properties, among others. A review of
TCM and Ayurvedic herb classications will follow, as well as a
specic and comparative study between Ashwagandha and ve
fundamental TCM herbs. The series will conclude with a summary
and support for Ashwagandha being included in Materia Medica
resulting in more specic and effective treatment by Traditional
Chinese Medicine practitioners, in being readily available and
condently utilized by the public, and in gaining further recognition,
acceptance, and integration by Western allopathic medicine.
Acknowledgments
None
Conict of Interest Statement
The authors declare that this paper was written in the
absence of any commercial or nancial relationships that could be
construed as a potential conict of interest.
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Clinical Efcacy, and Properties. Curr Res Complement Altern Med. CRCAM-133. DOI:10.29011/ 2577-2201 /100033
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... Indian winter cherry has been used in Ayurveda, Indian system of traditional medicine. It is a small evergreen shrub that grows to roughly four to five feet tall (Singh et al., 2001;Khare, 2007;Forman & Kerna, 2018). The species name somnifera means 'sleep-inducing' in Latin, indicating that to it are attributed sedating properties, but it has been also used for sexual vitality and as an adaptogen (Langade et al., 2019). ...
... Withania somnifera, however, has an advantage over Panax ginseng in that it does not appear to result in ginseng-abuse syndrome, a condition characterized by high blood pressure, water retention, muscle tension, and insomnia (Khare, 2007;Modhvadia, 2009;N. Singh et al., 2011;Bagetta et al., 2012;Forman & Kerna, 2018). This plant is used in more than 100 formulations in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha such as Shwagandhadi-churna, Ashwagandha-rasayana, Ashwagandha-ghrita, Ashwagandha-rishta, Ashwagandha-taila, Madhyamanarayana-taila, Brihat Ashwagandha-ghrita, Brihachchhagaladyaghrita, Saraswata-churna, Pramehamihira-taila. Ashwagandha is one of the prime drugs of Ayurveda material medica (N. ...
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Withania somnifera (L) Dunal (Ashwagandha) has been used in Ayurveda, Indian system of traditional medicine. Ashwagandha is one of the prime drugs of Ayurveda material medica. The present investigation to find out seeds Germination Percentage and Plant Growth of W. somnifera.
... Other parts including leaves, shoots, seeds and berries have also been used to improve health and increase longevity. In Ayurvedic system, it is classified as "Rasayana" means "tonic" and mainly act as body rejuvenator, defense against disease, slows aging and enhances memory (Samadi, 2013;Forman and Kerna, 2018). ...
... Currently, Ashwagandha from India is not classified as per Chinese traditional system (CTS) may be due to isolation and distance of countries and their cultures. However, on the basis of comparison between various relevant herbs with Ashwagandha, it can be categorized in CTS as "Tonify Qi" and "Tonify Blood and Essence" (Forman and Kerna, 2018).Though, China on the basis of scientific research and evidences are more successful in promoting the uses of various herbs including Withania sominifera (Patwardhan et al., 2005). ...
Article
Ethnopharmacological relevance: Withania somnifera (Family: Solanaceae), commonly known as Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng is distributed widely in India, Nepal, China and Yemen. The roots of plant consist of active phytoconstituents mainly withanolides, alkaloids and sitoindosides and are conventionally used for the treatment of multiple brain disorders. Aim of the review: This review aims to critically assess and summarize the current state and implication of Ashwagandha in brain disorders. We have mainly focussed on the reported neuroactive phytoconstituents, available marketed products, pharmacological studies, mechanism of action and recent patents published related to neuroprotective effects of Ashwagandha in brain disorders. Materials and methods: All the information and data was collected on Ashwagandha using keywords “Ashwagandha” along with “Phytoconstituents”, “Ayurvedic, Unani and Homeopathy marketed formulation”, “Brain disorders”, “Mechanism” and “Patents”. Following sources were searched for data collection: electronic scientific databases such as Science Direct, Google Scholar, Elsevier, PubMed, Wiley On-line Library, Taylor and Francis, Springer; books such as AYUSH Pharmacopoeia; authentic textbooks and formularies. Results: Identified neuroprotective phytoconstituents of Ashwagandha are sitoindosides VII–X, withaferin A, withanosides IV, withanols, withanolide A, withanolide B, anaferine, beta-sitosterol, withanolide D with key pharmacological effects in brain disorders mainly anxiety, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Schizophrenia, Huntington's disease, dyslexia, depression, autism, addiction, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorders. The literature survey does not highlight any toxic effects of Ashwagandha. Further, multiple available marketed products and patents recognized its beneficial role in various brain disorders; however, very few data is available on mechanistic pathway and clinical studies of Ashwagandha for various brain disorders is scarce and not promising. Conclusion: The review concludes the results of recent studies on Ashwagandha suggesting its extensive potential as neuroprotective in various brain disorders as supported by preclinical studies, clinical trials and published patents. However vague understanding of the mechanistic pathways involved in imparting the neuroprotective effect of Ashwagandha warrants further study to promote it as a promising drug candidate.
... In Ayurvedic, Ashwagandha means "odour of the horse" as its root smells like a horse. It is classified as "Rasayana" means tonic because it mainly acts as body rejuvenator, defence against disease, slows ageing and enhances memory (Samadi 2013;Forman and Kerna, 2018) [23,9] . It is cultivated specifically for its root, which is germicidal, aphrodisiac and diuretic and used to treat ulcers, fever, cough, consumption, dropsy, rheumatism and leukoderma (Agarwal et al., 2014) [1] . ...
... In Ayurvedic, Ashwagandha means "odour of the horse" as its root smells like a horse. It is classified as "Rasayana" means tonic because it mainly acts as body rejuvenator, defence against disease, slows ageing and enhances memory (Samadi 2013;Forman and Kerna, 2018) [23,9] . It is cultivated specifically for its root, which is germicidal, aphrodisiac and diuretic and used to treat ulcers, fever, cough, consumption, dropsy, rheumatism and leukoderma (Agarwal et al., 2014) [1] . ...
... Other parts including leaves, shoots, seeds and berries have also been used to improve health and increase longevity. In Ayurvedic system, it is classified as "Rasayana" means "tonic" and mainly act as body rejuvenator, defense against disease, slows aging and enhances memory (Samadi, 2013;Forman and Kerna, 2018). ...
... Currently, Ashwagandha from India is not classified as per Chinese traditional system (CTS) may be due to isolation and distance of countries and their cultures. However, on the basis of comparison between various relevant herbs with Ashwagandha, it can be categorized in CTS as "Tonify Qi" and "Tonify Blood and Essence" (Forman and Kerna, 2018).Though, China on the basis of scientific research and evidences are more successful in promoting the uses of various herbs including Withania sominifera (Patwardhan et al., 2005). ...
Article
Ethnopharmacological relevance Withania somnifera (Family: Solanaceae), commonly known as Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng is distributed widely in India, Nepal, China and Yemen. The roots of plant consist of active phytoconstituents mainly withanolides, alkaloids and sitoindosides and are conventionally used for the treatment of multiple brain disorders. Aim of the review: This review aims to critically assess and summarize the current state and implication of Ashwagandha in brain disorders. We have mainly focussed on the reported neuroactive phytoconstituents, available marketed products, pharmacological studies, mechanism of action and recent patents published related to neuroprotective effects of Ashwagandha in brain disorders. Materials and methods All the information and data was collected on Ashwagandha using keywords “Ashwagandha” along with “Phytoconstituents”, “Ayurvedic, Unani and Homeopathy marketed formulation”, “Brain disorders”, “Mechanism” and “Patents”. Following sources were searched for data collection: electronic scientific databases such as Science Direct, Google Scholar, Elsevier, PubMed, Wiley On-line Library, Taylor and Francis, Springer; books such as AYUSH Pharmacopoeia; authentic textbooks and formularies. Results Identified neuroprotective phytoconstituents of Ashwagandha are sitoindosides VII–X, withaferin A, withanosides IV, withanols, withanolide A, withanolide B, anaferine, beta-sitosterol, withanolide D with key pharmacological effects in brain disorders mainly anxiety, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Schizophrenia, Huntington's disease, dyslexia, depression, autism, addiction, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorders. The literature survey does not highlight any toxic effects of Ashwagandha. Further, multiple available marketed products and patents recognized its beneficial role in various brain disorders; however, very few data is available on mechanistic pathway and clinical studies of Ashwagandha for various brain disorders is scarce and not promising. Conclusion The review concludes the results of recent studies on Ashwagandha suggesting its extensive potential as neuroprotective in various brain disorders as supported by preclinical studies, clinical trials and published patents. However vague understanding of the mechanistic pathways involved in imparting the neuroprotective effect of Ashwagandha warrants further study to promote it as a promising drug candidate.
... The preparation is prepared by mixing W. somnifera, milk, and water with a ratio of 1:8:32 in an earthenware pot. The milk increases the nutrition effects of W. somnifera (21). The local people in Omo River Valley, Ethiopia, used W. somnifera leaves to treat diarrhea and stomachache. ...
Article
Withania somnifera belongs to the family of Solanaceae. It is widely used by the locals, especially in India, as a medicinal plant. W. somnifera is rich in alkaloid and steroidal lactone that account for various pharmacological activities. The present study aimed to review all the evidence on the ethnobotanical perspective of W. somnifera in some countries. This review also analyses the bioactive compounds that account for the pharmacological activities. The online medical literature databases such as ScienceDirect, PubMed, and Google Scholar were used to search articles up to March 2022. W. somnifera is widely used in Asian and African countries like India and South Africa, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and Lesotho. In India, W. somnifera is prepared by boiling and crushing the leaves and roots to make a tonic poultice, juice, and paste to treat bacterial infections and bruises. Numerous in vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated that W. somnifera exerts pharmacological effects such as anti-Parkinson’s, anti-Alzheimer’s, cardioprotective, antidiabetic, antiarthritic, and antibacterial properties. Withaferin A and withanolide are the major bioactive compounds contributing to the pharmacological effects. W. somnifera is a valuable plant that has been used in traditional medicine systems for a long time and is supported by its wide range of pharmacological activities. The extensive medicinal uses of W. somnifera are a sign of its great potential.
... It is a perennial shrub that grows to 75 cm in height with tomentose branches, oval yellowish green leaves, orange red berries and a papery calyx and it survives harsh climatic conditions. In Ayurveda, it is believed that the plants which survive harsh conditions have strong healing and tonification properties (Forman and Kerna 2018). ...
... Ashwagandha is also referred to as Indian ginseng by some herbalists because it is used in Ayurvedic medicine like Chinese ginseng i.e Panax ginseng in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) [11]. Various health care benefits of Withania somnifera is discussed in Figure 1. ...
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Covid-19 is a disease caused by virus named SARC CoV type II of Corona virus family and is announced as Pandemic disease by WHO in the month of March 2020. Virus is spreading at exponential rate and causing more than 1.3 lack death globally today. Covid-19 has been announced as one of the biggest threat to the mankind in last 100 years. Antiviral drugs and the vaccines are under clinical phases, to combat this outbreak, it is essential to maintained good health condition with boosted immune activity. Ashwagandha has been a medicinal plant under Ayurvedic studies for various therapeutic uses since ancient times of India. It has been regarded as the most important plant as every part of the plant can serve as a remedial/curative alternative. Despite the versatility of the plant, scanty research has been done to explore its potential in creating varied healthcare and value-added allied products used as immune system booster in situation similar to Covid 19 outbreak. There is a huge lacuna in literature dedicated to documenting the prospective applications of Ashwagandha healthcare products. This work is an attempt to compile current literature with an eye on the possibility of creating healthcare and value addition products based on this versatile medicinal plant. The paper provides a historical perspective on the evolution of and investigations carried out to explore the applications of Ashwagandha as a medicinal plant. It the wake of a sudden interest in herbal plants, this work will act as a primer for the herbal-based solutions in the areas of cancer treatment, neural disorders, immune boosters especial for Covid 19 cause of viral outbreak, stress-relief, and rejuvenation. It also finds applications as cardio-respiratory endurance enhancer, anti-ageing, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, hypocholesterolemic and as an effective adaptogen. To reach out to a wider audience the paper concludes with open research issues, challenges in using Ashwagandha as a medicinal plant in the current scenario.
... • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) [29][30][31][32][33]. ...
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Adaptogen is a term used for specific substances that increase the body's resistance to nonspecific stress. Adaptogens contribute to a biochemical change in an organism that generates a more effective response than the body might exhibit without them. Noted Soviet researcher, Nikolai V. Lazarev described an adaptogen as "an agent that allows an organism to counter adverse physical, chemical , or biological stressors by raising nonspecific resistance toward such stress, thus allowing the organism to adapt to the stressful circumstances". Some of the earliest scientific research on natural adaptogens was done on Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) that was found to enhance physical performance in Soviet athletes. Subsequently, thousands of clinical trials were performed on over four thousand plants and the results published in peer-reviewed journals. Adaptogenic herbs can influence the corticosteroidal effect of the adrenal glands through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, enhance endurance capacity, improve cardiovascular function, and alter metabolic function. The bioactive constituents of many adaptogenic herbs fall into two general chemical classes, terpenes or polyphenols, that are secondary metabolites of specific adaptogenic plants. Also, polysaccharides act, in part, as immunomodu-lators. Adaptogens can increase oxygen and neuroreceptor efficiency, influence the levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides, and enhance the physiological response to stressors. Over time, many definitions of adaptogens have been put forth, which demonstrates a lack of consensus regarding adaptogens in the scientific community, specifically to their characteristics and mechanisms of action. However, their beneficial effects in humans seem far-reaching and have been reported by scientists and observed for centuries in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). There remains the challenge of establishing the efficacy of these adaptogenic herbs as each herb contains numerous constituents; however, an isolated constituent might or might not work as well as the whole phytocomplex. Although many of these herbal remedies have been used for hundreds to thousands of years, the scientific evidence regarding their safety and efficacy is inadequate and inconclusive. Nevertheless, the beneficial effects of long-term administration of specific adaptogenic herbs is more established than those of short-term administration. This review provides a historical backdrop to the research regarding adaptogenic herbs and their proposed (and in some cases confirmed) beneficial applications in the body's response to stress.
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Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is a plant used in medicine from the time of Ayurveda, the ancient system of Indian medicine. The dried roots of the plant are used in the treatment of nervous and sexual disorders. From chemistry point of view, the drug contains group of biologically active constituents known as withanolides. The chemical structures of withanolides have been studied and they are widely distributed in family Solanacae. Withaferin-A is therapeutically active withanolide reported to be present in leaves. In animal studies, withaferin-A has shown significant anticancer activity. Majority of the anticancer drugs like Vinblastine, Vincristine, and Taxol have been derived from green flora. Today there is much interest in natural products with anticancer activity. Withanolides are of under research potential as far treatment of cancer is concerned. The article reviews the scope of studies published in favor of anticancer potential of withaferin-A.
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Context: Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, which can lead to underperformance and adverse clinical conditions. Adaptogens are herbs that help in combating stress. Ayurvedic classical texts, animal studies and clinical studies describe Ashwagandha as a safe and effective adaptogen. Aims: The aim of the study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha roots in reducing stress and anxiety and in improving the general well-being of adults who were under stress. Settings and design: Single center, prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Materials and methods: A total of 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress were enrolled into the study after performing relevant clinical examinations and laboratory tests. These included a measurement of serum cortisol, and assessing their scores on standard stress-assessment questionnaires. They were randomized to either the placebo control group or the study drug treatment group, and were asked to take one capsule twice a day for a period of 60 days. In the study drug treatment group, each capsule contained 300 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum extract from the root of the Ashwagandha plant. During the treatment period (on Day 15, Day 30 and Day 45), a follow-up telephone call was made to all subjects to check for treatment compliance and to note any adverse reactions. Final safety and efficacy assessments were done on Day 60. Statistical analysis: t-test, Mann-Whitney test. Results: The treatment group that was given the high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction (P<0.0001) in scores on all the stress-assessment scales on Day 60, relative to the placebo group. The serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced (P=0.0006) in the Ashwagandha group, relative to the placebo group. The adverse effects were mild in nature and were comparable in both the groups. No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.
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Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) (WS), a "rasayana" drug, is recommended for balavardhan and mamsavardhan. The study was intended to evaluate dose-related tolerability, safety, and activity of WS formulation in normal individuals. The design was prospective, open-labeled, variable doses in volunteers. Eighteen apparently healthy volunteers (12M:6F, age:18-30 years, and BMI: 19-30) were enrolled. After baseline investigations, they received WS capsules (Rx) (aqueous extract, 8:1) daily in two divided doses with increase in daily dosage every 10 days for 30 days (750 mg/day ×10 days, 1 000 mg/day × 10 days, 1 250 mg/day × 10 days). Volunteers were assessed for symptoms/signs, vital functions, hematological and biochemical organ function tests. Muscle activity was measured by hand grip strength, quadriceps strength, and back extensor force. Exercise tolerance was determined using cycle ergometry. Lean body weight and fat% were computed from skin fold thickness measurement. Adverse events were recorded, as volunteered by the subjects. Repeated measures ANOVA, McNemar's test, and paired t test were employed. All but one volunteer tolerated WS without any adverse event. One volunteer showed increased appetite, libido, and hallucinogenic effects with vertigo at the lowest dose and was withdrawn from study. In six subjects, improvement in quality of sleep was found. Organ function tests were in normal range before and after the intervention. Reduction in total- and LDL- cholesterol and increase of strength in muscle activity was significant. Total body fat percentage showed a reduction trend. WS, in escalated dose, was tolerated well. The formulation appeared safe and strengthened muscle activity. In view of its traditional Rasayana use, further studies are planned to evaluate potential of this drug in patients of sarcopenia.
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We evaluated the cancer chemopreventive efficacy of the Withania somnifera root, which has been used in the Indian traditional medicine system for many centuries for the treatment of various ailments. Since, studies showing its mechanism-based cancer chemopreventive efficacy are limited, this was investigated in the present study. We studied the effect of dietary administration of Withania root on hepatic phase I, phase II and antioxidant enzymes by estimation of its level/activity, as well as in attenuating carcinogen-induced forestomach and skin tumorigenesis in the Swiss albino mouse model. Our findings showed that roots of W.somnifera inhibit phase I, and activates phase II and antioxidant enzymes in the liver. Further, in a long-term tumorigenesis study, Withania inhibited benzo(a)pyrene-induced forestomach papillomagenesis, showing up to 60 and 92% inhibition in tumor incidence and multiplicity, respectively. Similarly, Withania inhibited 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene-induced skin papillomagenesis, showing up to 45 and 71% inhibition in tumor incidence and multiplicity. In both studies, Withania showed no apparent toxic effects in mice as monitored by the body weight gain profile. Together, these findings suggest that W.somnifera root has chemopreventive efficacy against forestomach and skin carcinogenesis and warrants the identification and isolation of active compounds responsible for its anticancer effects, which may provide the lead for the development of antitumor agents.
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Panax ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine for many years mainly among Asian peoples for developing physical strength. We undertook this study to determine the immune-enhancement effect of P. ginseng using a forced swimming test (FST) and by measuring cytokine production in MOLT-4 cell culture and mouse peritoneal macrophages. P. ginseng was orally administered to mice once a day for 7 days. The anti-immobility effect of P. ginseng on the FST and blood biochemical parameters related to fatigue, glucose (Glc); blood urea nitrogen (BUN); latic dehydrogenase (LDH); total protein (TP) and production of cytokines in human T cell line, MOLT-4 cells and mouse peritoneal macrophages were investigated. After two and seven days, the immobility time was decreased in the P. ginsengadministrated mice as compared to the control group; however, this reduction was not significant. In addition, the amount of TP in the blood serum was significantly increased. However, the levels of Glc, BUN, and LDH did not show a significant change. P. ginseng significantly (P<0.05) increased interferon (IFN)-gamma production and expression as compared to control at 48 h in MOLT-4 cells. P. ginseng plus recombinant IFN-gamma instead of P. ginseng alone significantly increased the production of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in the mouse peritoneal macrophages. Our results suggest that P. ginseng may be useful for an immune promoter. Further studies are needed to understand the mechanism of its action.
Article
Withania somnifera (Ashawagandha) is very revered herb of the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine as a Rasayana (tonic). It is used for various kinds of disease processes and specially as a nervine tonic. Considering these facts many scientific studies were carried out and its adaptogenic / anti-stress activities were studied in detail. In experimental models it increases the stamina of rats during swimming endurance test and prevented adrenal gland changes of ascorbic acid and cortisol content produce by swimming stress. Pretreatment with Withania somnifera (WS) showed significance protection against stress induced gastric ulcers. WS have anti-tumor effect on Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell carcinoma. It was also found effective against urethane induced lung-adenoma in mice. In some cases of uterine fibroids, dermatosarcoma, long term treatment with WS controlled the condition. It has a Cognition Promoting Effect and was useful in children with memory deficit and in old age people loss of memory. It was also found useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzeimer’s diseases. It has GABA mimetic effect and was shown to promote formation of dendrites. It has anxiolytic effect and improves energy levels and mitochondrial health. It is an anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic agent and was found useful in clinical cases of Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. Large scale studies are needed to prove its clinical efficacy in stress related disorders, neuronal disorders and cancers. Key words: Withania somnifera, rejuvenator, adaptogen / anti-stress, anti-tumor, neuroregenerative, anti-arthritic. doi: 10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9
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Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, which means "the scripture for longevity". It represents an ancient system of traditional medicine prevalent in India and in several other south Asian countries. It is based on a holistic view of treatment which is believed to cure human diseases through establishment of equilibrium in the different elements of human life, the body, the mind, the intellect and the soul [1]. Ayurveda dates back to the period of the Indus Valley civilization (about 3000 B.C) and has been passed on through generations of oral tradition, like the other four sacred texts (Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvanaveda) which were composed between 12(th) and 7(th) century B.C [2, 3]. References to the herbal medicines of Ayurveda are found in all of the other four Vedas, suggesting that Ayurveda predates the other Vedas by at least several centuries. It was already in full practice at the time of Buddha (6(th) century B.C) and had produced two of the greatest physicians of ancient India, Charaka and Shushrutha who composed the basic texts of their trade, the Samhitas. By this time, ayurveda had already developed eight different subspecialties of medical treatment, named Ashtanga, which included surgery, internal medicine, ENT, pediatrics, toxicology, health and longevity, and spiritual healing [4]. Ayurvedic medicine was mainly composed of herbal preparations which were occasionally combined with different levels of other compounds, as supplements [5]. In the Ayurvedic system, the herbs used for medicinal purposes are classed as brain tonics or rejuvenators. Among the plants most often used in Ayurveda are, in the descending order of importance: (a) Ashwagandha, (b) Brahmi, (c) Jatamansi, (d) Jyotishmati, (e) Mandukparni, (f) Shankhapushpi, and (g) Vacha. The general appearance of these seven plants is shown in Fig.1. Their corresponding Latin names, as employed in current scientific literature, the botanical families that each of them belongs to, their normal habitats in different areas of the world, as well as the common synonyms by which they are known, are shown in the Table 1. The scientific investigations concerning the best known and most scientifically investigated of these herbs, Ashwagandha will be discussed in detail in this review. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, WS), also commonly known, in different parts of the world, as Indian ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi and Samm Al Ferakh, is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family. It is also known in different linguistic areas in India by its local vernacular names [6]. It grows prolifically in dry regions of South Asia, Central Asia and Africa, particularly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Congo and Jordon [7]. In India, it is cultivated, on a commercial scale, in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan [6]. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha, the Indian name for WS, means "odor of the horse", probably originating from the odor of its root which resembles that of a sweaty horse. The name"somnifera" in Latin means "sleep-inducer" which probably refers to its extensive use as a remedy against stress from a variety of daily chores. Some herbalists refer to ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, since it is used in India, in a way similar to how ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a large variety of human diseases [8]. Ashwagandha is a shrub whose various parts (berries, leaves and roots) have been used by Ayurvedic practitioners as folk remedies, or as aphrodisiacs and diuretics. The fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, in order to leach out undesirable constituents. The berries are sometimes used as a substitute to coagulate milk in cheese making. In Ayurveda, the herbal preparation is referred to as a "rasayana", an elixir that works, in a nonspecific, global fashion, to increase human health and longevity. It is also considered an adaptogen, a nontoxic medication that normalizes physiological functions, disturbed by chronic stress, through correction of imbalances in the neuroendocrine and immune systems [9, 10]. The scientific research that has been carried out on Ashwagandha and other ayurvedic herbal medicines may be classified into three major categories, taking into consideration the endogenous or exogenous phenomena that are known to cause physiological disequilibrium leading to the pathological state; (A) pharmacological and therapeutic effects of extracts, purified compounds or multi-herbal mixtures on specific non-neurological diseases; (B) pharmacological and therapeutic effects of extracts, purified compounds or multi-herbal mixtures on neurodegenerative disorders; and (C) biochemical, physiological and genetic studies on the herbal plants themselves, in order to distinguish between those originating from different habitats, or to improve the known medicinal quality of the indigenous plant. Some of the major points on its use in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders are described below.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are widely used as geriatric tonics. Both individually have not shown any toxicity on long term administration. Study was planned to assess the safety of the combination by doing subacute toxicity study in rats with 90 days oral administration using three doses. Food consumption, body weight, haematological, biochemical and histopathological parameters were studied. There was significant increase in body weight, food consumption and liver weight, and improved hematopoiesis was observed. Brain, heart, lung, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, testis and ovaries were normal on gross examination and histopathologically. Subacute toxicity studies in rats did not reveal any toxicity.
Article
The plant Withania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha), also known as Indian ginseng, is widely used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine to treat tumors, inflammation, arthritis, asthma, and hypertension. Chemical investigation of the roots and leaves of this plant has yielded bioactive withanolides. Earlier studies showed that withanolides inhibit cyclooxygenase enzymes, lipid peroxidation, and proliferation of tumor cells. Because several genes that regulate cellular proliferation, carcinogenesis, metastasis, and inflammation are regulated by activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), we hypothesized that the activity of withanolides is mediated through modulation of NF-kappaB activation. For this report, we investigated the effect of the withanolide on NF-kappaB and NF-kappaB-regulated gene expression activated by various carcinogens. We found that withanolides suppressed NF-kappaB activation induced by a variety of inflammatory and carcinogenic agents, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1beta, doxorubicin, and cigarette smoke condensate. Suppression was not cell type specific, as both inducible and constitutive NF-kappaB activation was blocked by withanolides. The suppression occurred through the inhibition of inhibitory subunit of IkappaB alpha kinase activation, IkappaB alpha phosphorylation, IkappaB alpha degradation, p65 phosphorylation, and subsequent p65 nuclear translocation. NF-kappaB-dependent reporter gene expression activated by TNF, TNF receptor (TNFR) 1, TNFR-associated death domain, TNFR-associated factor 2, and IkappaB alpha kinase was also suppressed. Consequently, withanolide suppressed the expression of TNF-induced NF-kappaB-regulated antiapoptotic (inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1, Bfl-1/A1, and FADD-like interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme-inhibitory protein) and metastatic (cyclooxygenase-2 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1) gene products, enhanced the apoptosis induced by TNF and chemotherapeutic agents, and suppressed cellular TNF-induced invasion and receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand-induced osteoclastogenesis. Overall, our results indicate that withanolides inhibit activation of NF-kappaB and NF-kappaB-regulated gene expression, which may explain the ability of withanolides to enhance apoptosis and inhibit invasion and osteoclastogenesis.