Antibacterial efficacy of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) an indigenous medicinal plant against experimental murine salmonellosis

Phytomedicine. 2005 Mar;12(3):229-35. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2003.07.012.


In the present study, we evaluated the antibacterial activity of ashwagandha [Withania somnifera L. Dunal (Solanaceae; root and leaves)], an Indian traditional medicinal plant against pathogenic bacteria. Both aqueous as well as alcoholic extracts of the plant (root as well as leaves) were found to possess strong antibacterial activity against a range of bacteria, as revealed by in vitro Agar Well Diffusion Method. The methanolic extract was further subfractionated using various solvents and the butanolic sub-fraction was found to possess maximum inhibitory activity against a spectrum of bacteria including Salmonella typhimurium. Moreover, in contrast to the synthetic antibiotic (viz. chloramphenicol), these extracts did not induce lysis on incubation with human erythrocytes, advocating their safety to the living cells. Finally, the antibacterial efficacy of the extracts isolated from plant (both root and leaves) was determined against experimental salmonellosis in Balb/C mice. Oral administration of the aqueous extracts successfully obliterated salmonella infection in Balb/C mice as revealed by increased survival rate as well as less bacterial load in various vital organs of the treated animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plant Roots
  • Salmonella Infections / prevention & control*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects
  • Withania*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Plant Extracts