Updated: Sep 7
Ashwagandha is an herb from the Solanaceae family that is used for many conditions including arthritis, anxiety, insomnia and respiratory conditions (emphysema, asthma). It is also used for conditions associated with immune-compromised diseases, like cancer, AIDS and neurological diseases.
Effective Against Cancer
Ashwagandha as an adaptogenic formula is very effective for patients with cancer, during and after chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Its immune-modulating properties are well documented in the research.
Research shows that ashwagandha can help increase white blood cells and platelets and raise antibody responses and red blood cells in animals as well as help guard against immune suppression resulting from chemotherapy and radiation.
(Agarwal R, Diwanay S, Patki P, Patwardhan B, 1999, Studies on immuno-modulatory activity of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) extracts in experimental immune inflammation, J Ethnopharmacol Oct;67(1):27-35)
Ziauddin M, Phansalkar N, Patki P, Diwanay S, Patwardhan B, 1996, Studies on the immuno-modulatory effects of Ashwagandha, J Ethnopharmacol Feb;50(2):69-76
Davis L, Kuttan G, 2000, Effect of Withania somnifera on cyclophosphamide-induced urotoxicity, Cancer Lett Jan 1;148(1):9-17
Other research using animal models shows the anti-tumor and radiation-sensitizing properties of Ashwagandha through the alcoholic extract of the dried roots of the plant and its antioxidant and detoxifying properties. This helps prevent systemic toxicity from radiation and chemotherapy agents.
Prakash J, Gupta SK, Kochupillai V, Singh N, Gupta YK, Joshi S., 2001, Chemopreventive activity of Withania somnifera in experimentally induced fibrosarcoma tumors in Swiss albino mice, Phytother Res May;15(3):240-4
Devi PU, Sharada AC, Solomon FE, Kamath MS, 1992, In vivo growth inhibitory effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on a transplantable mouse tumor, Sarcoma 180. Indian J Exp Biol Mar;30(3):169-72
Devi PU, 1996, Withania somnifera Dunal (Ashwagandha): potential plant source of a promising drug for cancer chemotherapy and radiosensitization, Indian J Exp Biol Oct;34(10):927-32
Khuttan G, 1996, Use of Withania somnifera Dunal as an adjuvant during radiation therapy, Indian J Exp Biol Sep;34(9):854-6
Research also shows that Withaferin-A – bioactive compound from Ashwagandha offers anti-tumor properties and is effective in inhibiting breast cancer, prostate and colon cancer cells and some brain cancers (glioblastoma)
Lahat G, Zhu QS, Huang KL, Wang S, Bolshakov S, Liu J, Torres K, Langley RR, Lazar AJ, Hung MC, Lev D. Vimentin is a novel anti-cancer therapeutic target; insights from in vitro and in vivo mice xenograft studies, PLoS One. 2010 Apr 16;5(4):e10105.
Hahm ER, Moura MB, Kelley EE, Van Houten B, Shiva S, Singh SV. Withaferin A-induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells is mediated by reactive oxygen species. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23354. Epub 2011 Aug 10.
(Source: Donald Yance’s research summary of Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera))