Multipurpose efficacious medicinal plant Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (Ashwagandha)

Khanna, P.K.; Arun Kumar; Ashok Ahuja; Kaul, M.K.

Journal of Plant Biology 33(3): 185-192.

2006


ISSN/ISBN: 1226-9239
Accession: 013430252

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Abstract
Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) is a multi-purpose medicinal plant offering solutions for a number of diseases and for restoration of healthy balance of life. Traditional uses and research results on biological activities of Ashwagandha have been reviewed here. Traditionally, Ashwagandha roots are used for nervousness, insomnia, weakness, anaemia, rheumatic pains, general debility and impotence and has abortificient, anodyne, bactericidal, contraceptive, emenagogual, narcotic, sedative, spasmolytic and tonic properties. Research has shown that the roots have antiinflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, tranquilizer, immunostimulatory, aphrodisiac, diuretic and adaptogenic uses. Considering the importance of bioprospection of medicinal plants for molecules of therapeutic use, future research on this plant should concentrate on bulk production of the commercially important secondary metabolites and their applications using modern tools such as biotechnology, information technology, nanotechnology, proteomics, genomics and chemistry to improve its commercial importance.