Withania somnifera L.: Insights into the phytochemical profile, therapeutic potential, clinical trials, and future prospective

Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2020 Dec;23(12):1501-1526. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2020.44254.10378.


Withania somnifera L. is a multipurpose medicinal plant of family Solanaceae occurring abundantly in sub-tropical regions of the world. The folk healers used the plant to treat several diseases such as fever, cancer, asthma, diabetes, ulcer, hepatitis, eyesores, arthritis, heart problems, and hemorrhoids. The plant is famous for the anti-cancerous activity, low back pain treatment, and muscle strengthening, which may be attributed to the withanolide alkaloids. W. somnifera is also rich in numerous valued secondary metabolites such as steroids, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolics, saponins, and glycosides. A wide range of preclinical trials such as cardioprotective, anticancer, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-depressant, and hypoglycemic have been attributed to various parts of the plant. Different parts of the plant have also been evaluated for the clinical trials such as male infertility, obsessive-compulsive disorder, antianxiety, bone and muscle strengthening potential, hypolipidemic, and antidiabetic. This review focuses on folk medicinal uses, phytochemistry, pharmacological, and nutrapharmaceutical potential of the versatile plant.

Keywords: Clinical trials; Folk medicinal uses; Nutraceuticals; Pharmacological attributes; Phytonutrients; Withanolides.

Publication types

  • Review