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A biologically active constituent of withania somnifera (ashwagandha) with antistress activity


In Ayurvedic medicine,Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is well known for its anti-stress activity. A passive rat experimental model, where the animals are subjected to multiple stress of cold, hypoxia, restraint (C-H-R) has been developed to evaluate adaptogenic properties of various fractions of W. somnifera root extracts. We have carried out extraction of roots of W. somnifera with water and further isolated one of the active constituents called compound X and also tested its anti-stress activity in C-H-R model. The effect of administration of W. somnifera water suspension (360 mg/Kg bw) and compound X (20mg/Kg bw) on the fall and recovery of colonic temperature was noted. There was an increase of ≈38% and ≈54% in the time taken to attain Trec 23°C by rats given a single dose of fresh aqueous suspension and biologically active constituent (Compound X) respectively, where as decrease in the recovery time to attain Trec 37°C is ≈13% and ≈33% respectively, as compared to control group. It is clear that rats treated with the fresh aqueous suspension and compound X ofWithania somnifera, could withstand the multiple stress of C-H-R better than control group.

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Kaur, P., Mathur, S., Sharma, M. et al. A biologically active constituent of withania somnifera (ashwagandha) with antistress activity. Indian J Clin Biochem 16, 195–198 (2001).

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Key words

  • Withania somnifera
  • anti-stress
  • cold-hypoxia-restrainted model