The practitioners of the traditional Indian system of medicine regard Withania somnifera Dun. as the 'Indian ginseng'. A new withanolide-free aqueous fraction was isolated from the roots of this plant and was evaluated for putative antistress activity against a battery of tests such as hypoxia time, antifatigue effect, swimming performance time, swimming induced gastric ulceration and hypothermia, immobilization induced gastric ulceration, autoanalgesia and biochemical changes in the adrenal glands. This bioactive fraction exhibited significant antistress activity in a dose-related manner in all the parameters studied. The extract of Withania somnifera root (a commercial preparation available locally) was used to compare the results. A preliminary acute toxicity study in mice showed a good margin of safety.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.