Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): An Overview of Its Traditional Use and Therapeutic Potential - A Review of NCBI Studies


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), often referred as Indian ginseng or winter cherries, is a prominent Ayurvedic medicinal herb. It has been used for thousands of years and is valued for its various health advantages. This article aims to provide an overlook of ashwagandha's traditional use and therapeutic potential, extracting information from research on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database.

Organic Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) roots. Macro close up background texture. Top view.

Traditional Applications:

Ashwagandha has a fairly long history of usage in traditional medicine for a list of diseases. It is classified as an adaptogen herb, meaning that it can aid the body in terms of coping with stress and improving overall well-being. It has also originally been used for:

Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family.

a. Stress and Anxiety Reduction:

Various studies have taken a deep look into the anxiolytic benefits of ashwagandha. An ashwagandha root extract considerably lowered anxiety levels in people with generalized anxiety disorder, according to a paper published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry (PMID: 23439798).

b. Improving Cognitive performance:

According to a study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements (PMID: 28414293), ashwagandha has the ability to improve memory and cognitive performance in healthy people.

c. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties:

Ashwagandha is said to include powerful antioxidants that aid in the neutralization of free radicals and the protection of the body from oxidative stress.. The antioxidative characteristics of ashwagandha, which may contribute to its anti-inflammatory benefits, were discussed in a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (PMID: 22557387).

d. Immunomodulatory Effects:

It has been demonstrated that ashwagandha possesses immunomodulatory characteristics.. According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (PMID: 25256816), ashwagandha root extract significantly increased immune cell activity in animal models.

Withania somnifera, commonly known as Ashwagandha (winter cherry)

e. Potential Anti-Cancer Activity:

Ashwagandha potential anti-cancer activities have also been investigated.. According to a study published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention (PMID: 26339067), ashwagandha root extract exhibited cytotoxic effects on specific cancer cell lines, showing its promise in cancer treatment.

f. Hormonal Health Benefits:

Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to promote hormonal health. Ashwagandha root extract boosted testosterone levels and reproductive health in men, according to a study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (PMID: 23808766).

Holding hand Withania somnifera plant known as Ashwagandha.


Ashwagandha, a well-known traditional herb, has received a lot of attention recently for its therapeutic potential. Ashwagandha has numerous health advantages, ranging from its ability to relieve stress and anxiety to its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities. More evidence may emerge as study progresses, further validating its traditional use and making it a good alternative for a variety of health concerns.


Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). 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. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 54(3), 255-262.

Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2017). Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 573-582.

Archana, R., & Namasivayam, A. (2012). Antistressor effect of Withania somnifera. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 64(1), 91-93.

Deepak, M., Amit, K., Amit, A., & Bal, R. M. (2016). Withania somnifera root extract in the regulation of lead-induced oxidative damage in male mouse. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 10(7), FF01-FF05.

Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12, 43.

Uddin, Q., Samiulla, L., Singh, V. K., & Jamil, S. S. (2012). Phytochemical and Pharmacological Profile of Withania somnifera Dunal: A Review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 17(3), 161-166.