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What Is Ashwagandha Used for Today?
Modern herbalists classify ashwagandha as an adaptogen, a substance said to increase the body's ability to withstand stress of all types. (See the article on Ginseng for more information on adaptogens.) However, the evidence for an adaptogenic effect is limited to test tube and animal studies. 1 Other proposed uses of ashwagandha are based on even weaker evidence, including: preventing cancer, 2 improving immunity , 3 enhancing mental function , 4 and combating anxiety and depression . 5 Some traditional uses of ashwagandha are also invoked today, such as enhancing sexual function in men , increasing fertility in men or women , aiding sleep , and enhancing sports performance ; however, there is no supporting scientific evidence for these uses.
- Kupparanjan K, et al. Effect of ashwaganda ( Withania somnifera Dunal) on the process of aging in human volunteers. J Res Ayurveda Siddha. 1980;1:247-258.
- Devi PU, Sharada AC, Solomon FE, et al. In vivo growth inhibitory effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on a transplantable mouse tumour, Sarcoma 180. Indian J Exp Biol. 1992;30:169-172.
- Ziauddin M, Phansalkar N, Patki P, Diwanay S, Patwardhan B. Studies on the immunomodulatory effects of Ashwagandha. J Ethnopharmacol. 50(2):69-76.
- Dhuley JN. Nootropic-like effect of ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera L.) in mice. Phytother Res. 2001;15:524-528.
- Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Sairam K, et al. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 2000;7:463-469.