Effects of Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera) on neurodegenerative diseases

Biol Pharm Bull. 2014;37(6):892-7. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b14-00022.


Neurodegenerative diseases commonly induce irreversible destruction of central nervous system (CNS) neuronal networks, resulting in permanent functional impairments. Effective medications against neurodegenerative diseases are currently lacking. Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera Dunal) is used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) for general debility, consumption, nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and loss of memory. In this review, we summarize various effects and mechanisms of Ashwagandha extracts and related compounds on in vitro and in vivo models of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / adverse effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry
  • Neuroprotective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / drug therapy
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology
  • Withania / chemistry*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ashwagandha