Ashwagandha for Anxiety, Arthritis & Alzheimer's

Ashwagandha for Anxiety, Arthritis & Alzheimer's

Research shows that ashwagandha may reduce anxiety and offer protection from inflammatory disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an important herb in the Ayurvedic system of healing of India, where it's classified as a Rasayana (tonic). Also known as Indian Ginseng, ashwagandha is highly valued as an adaptogenic, an agent that enables to body to maintain homeostasis during times of stress. While the herb has been used to treat a variety of conditions, there is increasing evidence that ashwagandha may reduce anxiety, enhance cognitive function and combat pain and inflammation associated with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

One of the actions of ashwagandha withanolides is to mimic gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an important central nervous system neurotransmitter that regulates muscle tone and brain activity. In contrast to other neurotransmitters that excite, like dopamine and serotonin, GABA minimizes firing between neurons, promoting a sense of calm. Research also shows that these compounds may reverse the toxic effects of beta-amyloid 42, a peptide found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients that contributes to the formation of amyloid plaque and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles in the brain.

Ashwagandha is also being studied for its potential therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Current research shows that oral treatment with the root extract exerts an antioxidant effect in PD-induced mice, significantly reducing nitrite and lipid peroxidation in the mid-brain and improving behavior.

Current research shows that ashwagandha also appears to help regulate cortisol, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands that produces the “fight or flight” response. Chronic emotional or environmental stress is typically accompanied by excessive levels of circulating cortisol, which in turn increases levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1beta. Cytokines are important components of the immune system; they serve as signaling molecules that communicate information to cells in order to direct them to sites of injury or infection. When regulation of cytokines is compromised, the immune system fails to differentiate between “self” and invading “non-self” molecules and mistakenly launches an attack on healthy tissue. Autoimmune inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis are driven by this response. Because studies demonstrate that ashwagandha inhibits the production of tumor necrosis factor and nitric oxide production without side effects, the herb shows promise as an alternative or complementary therapy for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Ashwagandha root may be prepared as tea or tinctured. The powdered root is encapsulated and taken as a dietary supplement. View Organic Ashwagandha Root and other botanicals ...

References

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 Dec;20(12):901-8

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25405876

Singh N1, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M.; An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda.; Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-13

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22754076

Kurapati KR, Atluri VS, Samikkannu T, Nair MP.; Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) reverses β-amyloid1-42 induced toxicity in human neuronal cells: implications in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND).; PLoS One. 2013 Oct 16;8(10):e77624

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24147038

Minhas U, Minz R, Bhatnagar A.; Prophylactic effect of Withania somnifera on inflammation in a non-autoimmune prone murine model of lupus.; Drug Discov Ther. 2011 Aug;5(4):195-201

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22466301

Lee W, Kim TH, Ku SK, Min KJ, Lee HS, Kwon TK, Bae JS.; Barrier protective effects of withaferin A in HMGB1-induced inflammatory responses in both cellular and animal models.; Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2012 Jul 1;262(1):91-8

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22561332

Maitra R, Porter MA, Huang S, Gilmour BP.; Inhibition of NFkappaB by the natural product Withaferin A in cellular models of Cystic Fibrosis inflammation.; J Inflamm (Lond). 2009 May 13;6:15

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19439083

Sankar SR, Manivasagam T, Krishnamurti A, Ramanathan M.; The neuroprotective effect of Withania somnifera root extract in MPTP-intoxicated mice: an analysis of behavioral and biochemical variables.; Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2007;12(4):473-81

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17415533

Prakash J, Yadav SK, Chouhan S, Singh SP.; Neuroprotective role of Withania somnifera root extract in maneb-paraquat induced mouse model of parkinsonism.; Neurochem Res. 2013 May;38(5):972-80

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23430469

Dey D, Chaskar S, Athavale N, Chitre D.; Inhibition of LPS-induced TNF-α and NO production in mouse macrophage and inflammatory response in rat animal models by a novel Ayurvedic formulation, BV-9238.; Phytother Res. 2014 Oct;28(10):1479-85

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24706581

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