Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root extract on amelioration of oxidative stress and autoantibodies production in collagen-induced arthritic rats

J Complement Integr Med. 2015 Jun;12(2):117-25. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2014-0075.


Background: Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder. Withania somnifera Dunal (Solanaceae) (WS), is a common medicinal plant used in traditional systems of medicine for the treatment of arthritis, and is an ingredient of anti-arthritic polyherbal formulations such as Habb-e-Asgand® and Arthritin™. In the present study, we evaluated the antioxidant and anti-arthritic activity of aqueous extract of WS root (WSAq) in collagen-induced arthritic (CIA) rats.

Methods: CIA rats were treated by using three doses of WSAq (100, 200, 300 mg/kg b. wt., orally) and methotrexate (MTX, 0.25 mg/kg b. wt. i.p.) as a standard reference drug for 20 days. The anti-arthritic effect was assayed by measuring the arthritic index, autoantibodies such as rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody (a-CCP), anti-nuclear antibody (ANA), anti-collagen type II antibody (a-CII) and inflammatory marker like C-reactive protein (CRP). The oxidative stress parameters were also measured.

Results: Treatment with WSAq resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in arthritic index, autoantibodies and CRP (p < 0.05) with maximum effect at dose of 300 mg/kg b. wt. and the results were comparable to that of MTX-treated rats. Similarly, oxidative stress in CIA rats was ameliorated by treatment with different doses of WSAq, as evidenced by a decrease in lipid peroxidation and glutathione-S-transferase activity and an increase in the glutathione content and ferric-reducing ability of plasma (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The results showed that WSAq exhibited antioxidant and anti-arthritic activity and reduced inflammation in CIA rats and suggests the potential use of this plant in the treatment of arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / blood
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Collagen
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Withania*


  • Antioxidants
  • Autoantibodies
  • Cytokines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Collagen
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Ashwagandha
  • Methotrexate