Withania somnifera root extract extends lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans

Ann Neurosci. 2013 Jan;20(1):13-6. doi: 10.5214/ans.0972.7531.200106.


Background: In the ancient Indian herbal medicine system several ayurvedic preparations are claimed to have longevity enhancing effects. But, so far, no clear scientific evidence has been provided. One among them, is the roots of the plant, commonly known as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal- WSD), which is supposed to have myriad of beneficial effects including long life.

Purpose: Here, we evaluated both the root extract (RE) and its purified ingredients (PI-RE) with a similar composition as in RE obtained from the roots of WSD for lifespan extension in the well established model system, C. elegans. PI-RE could extend the lifespan of C. elegans.

Methods: We used wild type C. elegans (N2) or RB918: acr-16 (ok789); andNL2099: rrf-3 (pk1426) mutant worms and analysed their lifespan assay in Ashwagandha extract spreaded on plates containing Bacterial Lawns.

Results: Strangely, while there was no effect on the wild type worms, the mutant for the human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, nAchR, α7 equivalent, acr-16, showed around ~20% lifespan extension when treated with PI-RE.

Conclusion: Thus, we are able to show that one of the age old healthy longlife supplements, Ashwagandha does extend lifespan of C. elegans.

Keywords: Ashwagandha; C. elegans; Lifespan extension; Withanolides.