Research - Withania somnifera / Ashwagandha
A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults
K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, and Sridhar Anishetty1
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 ofAshwagandha 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.
Source : Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Ashwagandha Improves Muscle Strength and Recovery in Men Performing Resistance Training
Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somniferasupplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. November 25, 2015;12:43. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Solanaceae) root is an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to stress. Although it has been shown to have a wide range of beneficial effects, studies of ashwagandha as an ergogenic aid are lacking. The authors hypothesize that ashwagandha supplementation may enhance the physiological adaptation of the body in response to the stress of weight resistance training. Hence, the purpose of this 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was to evaluate the effects of ashwagandha on healthy men performing resistance training.
Healthy men (n = 57, aged 18-50 years) with little experience in resistance training were recruited at a gymnasium in Kolkata, India. Subjects were excluded if they were taking any medication or steroids to enhance physical performance; had weight loss of > 5 kg in the previous 3 months; had history of drug abuse, smoking > 10 cigarettes day, or consuming > 14 grams of alcohol/day; were hypersensitive to ashwagandha; had orthopedic injury or surgery within the previous 6 months; had participated in other clinical studies during the previous 3 months; or had any other condition which the investigators judged problematic. Subjects were instructed not to take anti-inflammatory agents, drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum, Solanaceae) during the study.
Subjects received either placebo (starch) or 600 mg/day ashwagandha root extract (KSM-66®; Ixoreal Biomed; Los Angeles, California) for 8 weeks. The extract was produced using a water-based process and was standardized to contain 5% withanolides. During the 8-week study period, subjects participated in a structured resistance training program based on the publications of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); Colorado Springs, Colorado. Subjects trained every other day (3x/week), exercising the major muscle groups in both the upper body and lower body. During the first 2-week acclimatization phase, each exercise set consisted of 15 repetitions at a lower load to allow the subject's body and neurological system to adjust to the training. The subsequent 6 weeks of training consisted of varying numbers of higher-load repetitions.
The primary endpoints were upper body and lower body muscle strength. The secondary endpoints were muscle size, muscle recovery, serum testosterone level, and body fat percentage. Muscle size was measured at the arm, chest, and upper thigh. Creatine kinase levels were assessed as a measure of muscle recovery (reduction in exercise-induced muscle damage over time). Assessments were made 1-2 days after the first day of training, and 2 days after the end of the 8-week training period.
As expected, the resistance training resulted in improvements in all of the measured parameters in both groups. However, the ashwagandha group had a significantly greater increase in upper body (P = 0.001) and lower body (P = 0.04) strength compared with placebo; it also had significantly better muscle recovery (P = 0.03). Compared with placebo, the ashwagandha group had a significantly greater increase in the muscle size of the arm (P = 0.01) and chest (P < 0.001), but there was no significant difference in the size of the upper thigh. The ashwagandha group had a significantly greater increase in serum testosterone (P = 0.004) and a significantly greater decrease in body fat percentage (P = 0.03), compared to placebo. Ashwagandha was well tolerated, and there were no serious adverse effects.
The focal question of this study was whether ashwagandha supplementation would increase the adaptations to resistance training. At a P value of 0.05, the adaptations as measured by muscle strength, muscle size, testosterone level, and body fat percentage were found to be significantly greater with ashwagandha compared to placebo. The authors conclude that "ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength and suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program." Acknowledged limitations were that only untrained subjects ≤ 50 years were included, the relatively small sample size, and short duration of the study. The authors recommend further studies evaluate the potential benefit of ashwagandha over longer periods of time and for different populations, including females and older adults of both genders.
—Heather S. Oliff, PhD
Source : American Botanical Council - Herbclip
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Ashwagandha attenuates TNF-α- and LPS-induced NF-κB activation and CCL2 and CCL5 gene expression in NRK-52E cells
- Elizabeth Grunz-Borgmann,
- Valeri Mossine,
- Kevin Fritsche and
- Alan R. Parrish
The aging kidney is marked by a chronic inflammation, which may exacerbate the progression of renal dysfunction, as well as increase the susceptibility to acute injury. The identification of strategies to alleviate inflammation may have translational impact to attenuate kidney disease.
We tested the potential of ashwaganda, sutherlandia and elderberry on tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced chemokine (CCL2 and CCL5) expression in vitro.
Elderberry water-soluble extract (WSE) was pro-inflammatory, while sutherlandia WSE only partially attenuated the TNF-α-induced changes in CCL5. However, ashwaganda WSE completely prevented TNF-α-induced increases in CCL5, while attenuating the increase in CCL2 expression and NF-κB activation. The same pattern of ashwagandha protection was seen using LPS as the pro-inflammatory stimuli.
Taken together, these results demonstrate the ashwaganda WSE as a valid candidate for evaluation of therapeutic potential for the treatment of chronic renal dysfunction.
Source : BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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Systematic Review of Ashwagandha for the Treatment of Anxiety
Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014;20(12):901-908.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Solanaceae; WS) root is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a broad-spectrum remedy or tonic, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anxiolytic properties. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate human studies of WS as a treatment for anxiety.
The PubMed, SCOPUS, CINAHL, Google Scholar, Google, and AYUSH Research Portal databases were searched using the key words ashwagandha or withania in combination with mental health terms such as anxiety, behavior, mood, and stress. The searches were limited to English language reports of randomized, controlled clinical trials evaluating WS as a treatment for anxiety. Studies investigating formulas containing WS, review articles, and duplicate publications were excluded.
Five studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Validity and risk of bias for each study was evaluated using the Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias tool. A meta-analysis could not be conducted because the trials had different primary outcome measures and durations (six to 12 weeks), and evaluated different doses (12,000 mg/day raw herb, 125-2,500 mg/day extract), dosage schedules (one to three times daily), and formulations (raw root, ethanol extracts, or water extracts containing 1.5%, 5%, or 12% withanolides).
One study evaluated 39 patients who were treated with 500 mg twice daily (1000 mg/day) of placebo or WS root ethanol extract (manufacturer and composition not reported) for six weeks. The dose was increased every two weeks as necessary, up to a maximum of 2,500 mg/day. There was a significant improvement on the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A) in the WS group compared with the placebo group (P = 0.026). The risk of bias was rated as high. Limitations of the study were the relatively small sample size and short study duration, inconsistent dosing (500-2,500 mg/day), and 48.7% drop-out rate.
The second study included 130 patients who were treated with 125 mg/day or 250 mg/day Sensoril® (Natreon Inc; New Brunswick, New Jersey); 500 mg/day Essentra® (NutraGenesis LLC; Brattleboro, Vermont); or placebo for 60 days. The Sensoril and Essentra products contained root and leaf material derived from a withaferin A and withanolide glycoside-predominant genetically uniform WS chemotype and extracted using a water-based protocol. The product composition cited in the review (minimum of 8% withanolide glycosides and 32% oligosaccharides) is not consistent with the data reported in the original article (11.90% withanolide glycosides, 1.05% withaferin A, and 40.25% oligosaccharides). There was a significant WS dose-dependent increase on the modified HAM-A (P < 0.001) compared to placebo. The risk of bias was rated as unclear. Limitations of the study were the 24.6% drop-out rate and potential reporting bias (two authors were employed by the company funding the trial).
The third study included 81 patients who were treated with naturopathic counseling plus 300 mg twice daily (600 mg/day) WS root extract standardized to 1.5% withanolides (manufacturer not reported) or psychotherapy plus placebo for 12 weeks. Beck Anxiety Inventory scores significantly improved in the WS group compared with the placebo group (P < 0.0001). The risk of bias was rated as high. Limitations of the study were the 21% drop-out rate, the lack of a true control group, and potential performance bias because the therapists could not be blinded.
The fourth study included 64 patients who were treated with 300 mg twice daily (600 mg/day) WS root extract containing at least 5% withanolides (KSM-66®; Ixoreal Biomed; Hyderabad, Telangana, India) or placebo for 60 days. KSM-66 is produced using an alcohol-free and synthetic solvent-free "green chemistry" extraction process. There was significant improvement on the Perceived Stress Scale and in cortisol levels in the WS group compared with the placebo group (P < 0.0001 and P = 0.0006, respectively). The risk of bias was rated as unclear. A limitation of the study was the relatively small sample size.
The fifth study included 86 patients who were treated with anupana (milk) plus 4 g raw WS root (source not provided) or placebo three times daily (12,000 mg/day) for 60 days. To prepare the WS treatment, dried root was pulverized, combined with equal quantities of sugar syrup, sieved (40#), and dried to create granules (chemical composition/standardization was not reported). Changes in HAM-A scores were not significant compared with placebo, except for the anxious mood domain (P < 0.001). The risk of bias was rated as unclear.
All five studies concluded that WS was safe. Adverse events in the WS groups were mild and did not differ in frequency or duration compared with the control groups.
In summary, WS significantly improved measures of anxiety compared to the control in most trials. However, most of the studies were methodologically flawed and underpowered, and none attained a low risk-of-bias rating. In addition, the primary outcomes for all of these studies were patient-reported measures. The authors suggest that the addition of objective data obtained from blinded diagnostic interviews and the assessment of biomarkers would strengthen future studies. They also point out several limitations of this review, including the exclusion of studies published in other languages and trials evaluating the traditional use of WS (Ayurvedic formulas containing WS).
The authors conclude that while these "somewhat promising but early, and possibly biased, results" suggest that WS may significantly improve symptoms of stress, "additional research in larger samples and in more clinical contexts is essential to validate its therapeutic capabilities for widespread use." In addition, the optimal WS preparation form, chemical composition, dose, and dosage schedule for the treatment of anxiety remains to be determined.
—Heather S. Oliff, PhD
Source : American Botanical Council
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An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Morgan A. Pratte, BS,1,2 Kaushal B. Nanavati, MD,1 Virginia Young, MLS,3 and Christopher P. Morley,PhD1,4,5
1Department of Family Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.
2Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT.
3Health Sciences Library, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.
4Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.
5Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.
Objective: To assess existing reported human trials of Withania somnifera (WS; common name, ashwagandha) for the treatment of anxiety.
Design: Systematic review of the literature, with searches conducted in PubMed, SCOPUS, CINAHL, and Google Scholar by a medical librarian. Additionally, the reference lists of studies identified in these databases were searched by a research assistant, and queries were conducted in the AYUSH Research Portal. Search terms included “ashwagandha,” “Withania somnifera,” and terms related to anxiety and stress. Inclusion criteria were human randomized controlled trials with a treatment arm that included WS as a remedy for anxiety or stress. The study team members applied inclusion criteria while screening the records by abstract review.
Intervention: Treatment with any regimen of WS.
Outcome measures: Number and results of studies identified in the review.
Results: Sixty-two abstracts were screened; five human trials met inclusion criteria. Three studies compared several dosage levels of WS extract with placebos using versions of the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, with two demonstrating significant benefit of WS versus placebo, and the third demonstrating beneficial effects that approached but did not achieve significance (p=0.05). A fourth study compared naturopathic care with WS versus psychotherapy by using Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores as an outcome; BAI scores decreased by 56.5% in the WS group and decreased 30.5% for psychotherapy (p<0.0001). A fifth study measured changes in Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores in WS group versus placebo; there was a 44.0% reduction in PSS scores in the WS group and a 5.5% reduction in the placebo group (p<0.0001). All studies exhibited unclear or high risk of bias, and heterogenous design and reporting prevented the possibility of meta-analysis.
Conclusions: All five studies concluded that WS intervention resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases) than placebo in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales. Current evidence should be received with caution because of an assortment of study methods and cases of potential bias.
Source : Alternative and Complementary Medicine
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Beneficial Effects of Ashwagandha Root in the Treatment of Male Infertility
by Shari Henson
Reviewed: Gupta A, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, et al. Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: a proton NMR study at 800 MHz. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013;149(1):208-214.
Infertility affects between 10 to 15% of couples worldwide.1 In traditional Indian systems of medicine, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Solanaceae) root is a highly regarded tonic and adaptogenic herb, and it also is used to treat impotence and infertility. There is some experimental evidence that ashwagandha root improves semen quality and decreases spermatorrhea by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress.2,3 This study evaluated the effects of ashwagandha root powder on seminal plasma metabolites, enzymes, and hormones in infertile men by using high-resolution proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
Ashwagandha root contains withanosides, essential and non-essential fatty acids, amino acids, sterols, catecholamines, aromatic alcohols and acids, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and glycerol. The roots for this study (obtained from the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine; New Delhi, India) were dried and ground into a fine powder.
One hundred and eighty infertile male subjects aged 22 to 45 years recruited from the infertility clinic at King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, India — plus an additional 50 healthy, age-matched men — were included in the study and subdivided into the following groups (experimental subjects: n=180; control subjects: n=50):
Normozoospermic (NZ; n=60) men who had a normal semen profile (>20 x 106 spermatozoa/mL, >40% motility, and >40% normal morphology) and infertility of unknown etiology;
Oligozoospermic (OZ; n=60) men who had a sperm concentration <20 x 106/mL, >40% motility, and >40% normal morphology;
Asthenozoospermic (AZ; n=60) men who had a sperm concentration >20 x 106/mL, but <40% motility, and >40% normal morphology; and
An additional 50 healthy, age-matched men (>20 x 106 spermatozoa/mL, >40% motility, and >40% normal morphology) who served as controls (CZ; n=50).
The subjects in the NZ, OZ, and AZ groups were prescribed ashwagandha root powder (five grams daily taken orally with milk in a single dose; qualitative analysis of the roots not provided) for three months. Semen and blood samples were collected at baseline and after three months of treatment.
Seminal plasma samples were analyzed using proton NMR spectroscopy to determine concentrations of the metabolites lactate, alanine, glutamate, glutamine, citrate, lysine, choline, glycerophosphocholine (GPC), glycine, tyrosine, histidine, phenylalanine, and uridine. Sperm concentration, motility, lipid peroxide (LPO), enzyme, and hormone levels also were measured.
The concentrations of lysine, choline, glutamine, glycine, tyrosine, and uridine did not change significantly in any group post-treatment. Compared with baseline values, alanine, glutamate, citrate, GPC, and histidine increased significantly in the NZ, OZ, and AZ groups after three months of treatment. Phenylalanine concentrations decreased significantly compared with baseline values in NZ and OZ groups, while lactate concentrations showed significant differences compared with baseline values in OZ and AZ groups. Sperm concentration, motility, and LPO levels also improved significantly in these groups compared with baseline values.
According to the authors, this is the first study to analyze metabolite concentrations using an 800 MHz NMR spectrometer to measure levels of the enzymes alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and isocitrate dehydrogenase in the seminal plasma of infertile males in an attempt to elucidate the physiological effects of ashwagandha. Enzyme levels increased significantly in all groups of infertile subjects post-treatment compared with baseline, except for LDH in the NZ group.
Compared with baseline, there was a significant increase in luteinizing hormone and testosterone in all groups post-treatment. Follicle-stimulating hormone and prolactin levels decreased in all three groups of infertile subjects but were significant only in OZ and AZ groups.
The authors note that “[a]berrations of endogenous metabolites, enzymatic activities, and hormone levels commonly precede the onset of infertility.” An important finding in this study is that oral intake of ashwagandha for three months by infertile men resulted in substantial enhancement of seminal plasma metabolic profiles and improvements in enzymatic, hormonal, and clinical parameters (sperm concentration, motility, and LPO). The authors conclude that ashwagandha “can be used as an alternative empirical therapy for the treatment and clinical management of male infertility.”
However, this study could have benefitted from the inclusion of a placebo group, randomization, and both baseline and endpoint measurements of control group blood and semen values (the authors procured and evaluated only one blood and semen sample for each control group member during the study). Also, the authors could have provided demographic information of the subjects involved in the study.
1. Callister LC. Global infertility: are we caring yet? MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2010;35(3):174.
2. Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, et al. Withania somnifera improves semen quality in stress-related male fertility. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:576962. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep138.
3. Ahmad MK, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, et al. Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertil Steril. 2010;94(3):989-996.
Source : Herbal Gram - American Botanical Council
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Ashwagandha Improves Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance in Healthy Adult Males
—Heather S. Oliff, PhD
Pingali U, Pilli R, Fatima N. Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants. Pharmacognosy Res. 2014;6(1):12-18.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is used in Ayurvedic medicine to enhance memory and overall brain function. Many in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate the potential benefits of ashwagandha; however, human studies are limited. The purpose of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was to evaluate the cognitive and psychomotor effects of a standardized aqueous ashwagandha extract in healthy young male subjects.
Healthy men (n = 20, aged 20-35 years) participated in this study conducted at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences; Punjagutta, Hyderabad, India. The authors confirmed that the subjects were healthy by conducting a detailed medical history; physical examination; evaluation of hematological, hepatic, and renal parameters; electrocardiogram (ECG); and chest X-ray. Subjects were excluded for any evidence of physical illness, drug abuse, or aberrant laboratory findings during screening. All the subjects were required to abstain from nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to and during the test day. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or 1000 mg/day of an aqueous ashwagandha root and leaf extract (Sensoril®; Natreon Inc.; New Brunswick, New Jersey) for 14 days. As determined by high-performance thin layer chromatography analyses of the extract and standard references, each capsule contained "not less than 10% withanolide glycosides, not more than 0.5% of withaferin-A, and not less than 32% of oligosaccharides." The identical placebo capsules contained microcrystalline cellulose, lactose, and magnesium stearate.
There was a 14-day washout period before the subjects were crossed over to the other treatment for 14 days. The following psychomotor performance tests were conducted at baseline and at the end of each crossover period: finger tapping test (evaluates motor system performance), simple reaction test (assesses attention and sensory-motor performance), choice discrimination test (assesses attention and sensory-motor performance and response speed), digit symbol substitution test (assesses attention, response speed, central integration, and visuo-motor coordination), digit vigilance task (assesses alertness and vigilance while placing minimal demands on the selectivity and capacity components of attention), and card sorting test (assesses sensory, motor, central integrative, and executive functions).
Compared with placebo and baseline, ashwagandha significantly improved the reaction time for the following tests: digit symbol substitution (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively), simple reaction (P < 0.01 for both), choice discrimination (P < 0.05 for both), digit vigilance (P < 0.01 for both), and card sorting (P < 0.05 for both). There was no significant effect on motor system performance according to the finger tapping test. The mean percent reduction in reaction time between groups at study end was statistically significant for digit symbol substitution (P < 0.05), digit vigilance (P < 0.01), and simple reaction (P < 0.05).
In summary, 1000 mg/day of standardized ashwagandha extract improved cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy young adult males when taken for 14 days. However, the data cannot be extrapolated to patients with medical conditions, elderly healthy men, or healthy women of any age. Another limitation of the study is the small population size. The authors conclude that "multicentric long-term clinical studies in patients are required to confirm its therapeutic efficacy in disease states associated with impaired cognition and psychomotor function."
Source : American Botanical Council
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Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study
Vijay R. Ambiye,1 Deepak Langade,2 Swati Dongre,3 Pradnya Aptikar,4 Madhura Kulkarni,5 and Atul Dongre3
1Mahalaxmi Clinic, Nanaddham, Sulochana Shetty Marg, Sion (E), Mumbai, Maharashtra 400022, India
2Department of Pharmacology, B.V.D.U. Dental College & Hospital, Sector-7, C.B.D., Belpada, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra 400614, India
3Trupti Hospital & Santati Fertility Center, Thane, Maharashtra 400607, India
4Arya Clinic, Thane, Maharashtra 400601, India
5Arogyadham, Manpada, Thane, Maharashtra 400607, India
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been described in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac that can be used to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility. This pilot study was conducted to evaluate the spermatogenic activity of Ashwagandha root extract in oligospermic patients. Forty-six male patients with oligospermia (sperm count < 20 million/mL semen) were enrolled and randomized either to treatment (n=21) with a full-spectrum root extract of Ashwagandha (675 mg/d in three doses for 90 days) or to placebo (n=25) in the same protocol. Semen parameters and serum hormone levels were estimated at the end of 90-day treatment. There was a 167% increase in sperm count (9.59 ± 4.37 × 106/mL to 25.61 ± 8.6 × 106/mL; P<0.0001), 53% increase in semen volume (1.74 ± 0.58 mL to 2.76 ± 0.60 mL; P<0.0001), and 57% increase in sperm motility (18.62 ± 6.11% to 29.19 ± 6.31%; P<0.0001) on day 90 from baseline. The improvement in these parameters was minimal in the placebo-treated group. Furthermore, a significantly greater improvement and regulation were observed in serum hormone levels with the Ashwagandha treatment as compared to the placebo. The present study adds to the evidence on the therapeutic value of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), as attributed in Ayurveda for the treatment of oligospermia leading to infertility.
Source : Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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Neuroprotective response of the hippocampus region of the brain to Withania somnifera and Asparagus racemosus root extract: An in vitro study
Maheep Bhatnagar*, Prahlad Meena, Satyendra Barbar and Chetan Joshi
Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University College of Science, Mohanlal Sukhadia University, Udaipur-313001, India.
Neuroprotective effects of two medicinally important herbs Withania somnifera (WS) and Asparagus racemosus (AR) were investigated in primary hippocampal neuron cell culture. The root extracts of WS and AR were obtained by Soxhlet extraction using distilled water as solvent. The 7 to 8 days old hippocampal cells in culture were treated with100 µM Glutamate (Glu) for 10 min at room temperature in Hank's balanced saline solution (HBSS). One hour (1 h) after exposure to Glu, cells were treated with root extract of WS, AR or WS + AR [10 µg/ml dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)], respectively. Results of the study suggested that percent cell viability [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay] was more significant in groups treated with Glu + WS and Glu + WS + AR, when compared to group treated with Glu + AR. More than two-fold increase in free Ca2+ was observed in culture in presence of Glu, but after treatment with WS, this increase was significantly reduced (P < 0.01). No significant change was observed in presence of AR. A significant decrease in lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) was observed after WS, AR as well as WS + AR, when compared with Glu treated group. There was significant (P < 0.01) decrease in malondialdehyde (MDA) in presence of WS or AR. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was significantly inhibited in both Glu + WS and Glu + AR treated group, compared to Glu and Glu + WS + AR treated group. Significant elevation of reduced glutathione (GSH) and glutathione disulfide (GSSG) was also obtained after WS and AR treatment. A marked increase in nerve growth factor (NGF) and pro-brain derived growth factor (pro-BDNF) expression was observed after AR and WS + AR treatment; whereas no observable change was observed in WS treated group. It was therefore, concluded that both plants in combination (WS + AR) have more effective role in neuroprotection. Study also showed neurotrophic factor modulatory activity of these plants. Present study suggest that WS + AR in combination could have alternative therapeutic potency for treatment of diseases associated with neuron cell loss.
Source : Journal of Medicinal Plants Research
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Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility
Abbas Ali Mahdi,1 Kamla Kant Shukla,1 Mohammad Kaleem Ahmad,1 Singh Rajender,2 Satya Narain Shankhwar,3 Vishwajeet Singh,3 and Deepansh Dalela1
1Department of Biochemistry, C.S.M. Medical University, Lucknow 26003, India
2Endrocrinology Division, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow 226001, India
3Department of Urology, C.S.M. Medical University, Lucknow 226003, India
Stress has been reported to be a causative factor for male infertility. Withania somnifera has been documented in Ayurveda and Unani medicine system for its stress-combating properties. However, limited scientific literature is available on this aspect of W. somnifera. We undertook the present study to understand the role of stress in male infertility, and to test the ability of W. somnifera to combat stress and treat male infertility. We selected normozoospermic but infertile individuals (N = 60), further categorized in three groups: normozoospermic heavy smokers (N = 20), normozoospermics under psychological stress (N = 20) and normozoospermics with infertility of unknown etiology (N = 20). Normozoospermic fertile men (N = 60) were recruited as controls. The subjects were given root powder of W. somnifera at a rate of 5 g/day for 3 months. Measuring various biochemical and stress parameters before and after treatment, suggested a definite role of stress in male infertility and the ability of W. somnifera to treat stress-related infertility. Treatment resulted in a decrease in stress, improved the level of anti-oxidants and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of individuals. The treatment resulted in pregnancy in the partners of 14% of the patients.
Source : Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 576962, 9 pages doi:10.1093/ecam/nep138
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