Ashwagandha May Treat Cancer, Bones, Parkinson’s

Ashwagandha parkinson's
Ashwagandha improves bone health

Research has been confirming that the ancient Ayurvedic remedy called Ashwagandha may provide one of our safest anticancer treatments, as well as treatments for anxiety, osteoarthritis and possibly even Parkinson’s disease.

Cancer and Ashwagandha

A study from India’s Amravati University confirmed other recent research that a biochemical constituent of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) will inhibit the growth of cancer by interfering with the cancer cell’s ability to prevent destruction by the immune system.

When a cell begins to mutate into a cancerous cell, a healthy immune system will typically knock out the cell by destroying it. This cell destruction, called apoptosis, takes place through the immune system’s ability to trigger the self-destruct switch within the cell.

However, when the immune system is weaker, the cancer cell may develop the ability to counteract this process of immune system apoptosis. The cancer cell often uses an enzyme protein called survivin to inhibit the apoptosis system.

But researchers have found that withanone – one of Ashwagandha’s primary constituents – has the unique ability to attach to and interfere with the survivin protein – making the cell once again available for the immune system to knock it out.

This process makes Ashwagandha one of the most unique cancer-fighting potentials currently known, because unlike the so-many chemotherapy drugs that also aim to kill cancer cells – Ashwagandha has no known adverse side effects and does not kill healthy cells.

Ashwagandha promotes bone healing

To the contrary, Ashwagandha promotes healing. In another recent study, another one of Ashwagandha’s constituents was found to speed up healing of bone injuries and increase bone formation.

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The constituent, called withaferin A, was found to increase the proliferation of osteoblasts as well as their differentiation. As this takes place, the formation of bone is sped up.

The researchers also found that withaferin A also sped up the bone healing process through stimulating an enzyme called E3 ubiquitin ligase.

The researchers then tested withaferin A against two FDA-approved drugs bortezomib and alendronate, and found withaferin A had superior influence on healing bone injury.

This research confirms a clinical study published in 2010 from India’s University of Poona. Here the researchers gave a combination of Ashwagandha and two other Ayurvedic herbs (Boswellia serrata and Curcuma longa), or a placebo to 42 patients with osteoarthritis. After three months of treatment, the herbal treatment group had significantly less pain and better mobility than the placebo group.

Ancient Ayurvedic remedy for many disorders

Ancient Ayurvedic physicians understood the healing power of Ashwagandha, as they used it clinically to promote healing and stimulate the immune system. They knew of the power of Ashwagandha as they applied the herb for many ailments, including anxiety, depression, wound healing, immunosuppression and many others.

Clinical and laboratory research has increasingly supported these effects. For example, in 2009, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine conducted a study of 91 people with anxiety found that Ashwagandha and deep breathing exercises significantly helped people with their anxiety.

Laboratory research has shown Ashwagandha may improve cognition and help prevent or improve neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease as well. In fact, a number of laboratory studies have confirmed its ability to improve motor function for “treating catecholamines, oxidative damage and physiological abnormalities,” according to one study.

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REFERENCES:

Wadegaonkar VP, Wadegaonkar PA. Withanone as an inhibitor of survivin: A potential drug candidate for cancer therapy. J Biotechnol. 2013 Aug 29. doi:pii: S0168-1656(13)00375-1. 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2013.08.028.

Grover A, Singh R, Shandilya A, Priyandoko D, Agrawal V, Bisaria VS, Wadhwa R, Kaul SC, Sundar D. Ashwagandha derived withanone targets TPX2-Aurora A complex: computational and experimental evidence to its anticancer activity. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30890. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030890.

Wolanin K, Magalska A, Mosieniak G, Klinger R, McKenna S, Vejda S, Sikora E, Piwocka K. Curcumin affects components of the chromosomal passenger complex and induces mitotic catastrophe in apoptosis-resistant Bcr-Abl-expressing cells. Mol Cancer Res. 2006 Jul;4(7):457-69.

Chiou SK, Jones MK, Tarnawski AS. Survivin – an anti-apoptosis protein: its
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Grover A, Shandilya A, Punetha A, Bisaria VS, Sundar D. Inhibition of the NEMO/IKKβ association complex formation, a novel mechanism associated with the NF-κB activation suppression by Withania somnifera’s key metabolite withaferin A. BMC Genomics. 2010 Dec 2;11 Suppl 4:S25. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-11-S4-S25.

Vaishnavi K, Saxena N, Shah N, Singh R, Manjunath K, Uthayakumar M, Kanaujia SP, Kaul SC, Sekar K, Wadhwa R. Differential activities of the two closely related withanolides, Withaferin A and Withanone: bioinformatics and experimental evidences. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44419. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044419.

Khedgikar V, Kushwaha P, Gautam J, Verma A, Changkija B, Kumar A, Sharma S, Nagar GK, Singh D, Trivedi PK, Sangwan NS, Mishra PR, Trivedi R. Withaferin A: a proteasomal inhibitor promotes healing after injury and exerts anabolic effect on osteoporotic bone. Cell Death Dis. 2013 Aug 22;4:e778.

Cooley K, Szczurko O, Perri D, Mills EJ, Bernhardt B, Zhou Q, Seely D. Naturopathic care for anxiety: a randomized controlled trial ISRCTN78958974. PLoS One. 2009 Aug 31;4(8):e6628. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006628.

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Mikolai J, Erlandsen A, Murison A, Brown KA, Gregory WL, Raman-Caplan P, Zwickey HL. In vivo effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on the activation of lymphocytes. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Apr;15(4):423-30. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0215.

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RajaSankar S, Manivasagam T, Sankar V, Prakash S, Muthusamy R, Krishnamurti A, Surendran S. Withania somnifera root extract improves catecholamines and physiological abnormalities seen in a Parkinson’s disease model mouse. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Sep 25;125(3):369-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.08.003.

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Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.