Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that provides numerous other benefits for the body. It can boost brain function, support healthy blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may also have a role to play in supporting immune health, according to results of a pilot, randomized, controlled clinical study.
The study, published in Journal of Clinical Medicine 2021 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10163644), analysed the immunomodulatory influence of an ashwagandha root and leaf extract with 35% Withanolide Glycosides on healthy subjects. In the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, subjects were either given 60 mg of ashwagandha extract (as Shoden, from Arjuna Natural Pvt. Ltd.) or placebo for a 30-day period followed by an open-label extension study of another 30 days with the crossover of the placebo group to the ashwagandha extract.
Ashwagandha significantly improved the immune profile of healthy subjects by modulating the innate and adaptive immune systems. The results of this study suggest that ashwagandha exhibits immune support properties and is associated with overall stress-protective activity at low doses. The effect was seen as early as 30 days with an increase in immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG and IgM), T cells (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+), B cells (CD19+), CD45+, and NK cell counts; cytokines (IFN g and IL4); and in platelet count, absolute neutrophil count, lymphocytes, and leukocytes count. The researchers concluded that the ashwagandha extract with its immune-stimulatory activities is a valuable addition as an immunomodulating herbal addition. The significance of the results could be improved in a future study by increasing the number of subjects.
What is also significant was the effective dosage of 60 mg active extract (with 21 mg withanoloid glycosides) in a 180 mg capsule. Further, research has shown how stress can aversely affect sleep, upsetting rejuvenation and restoration, which has a cascading impact on the whole body and overall quality of life. Ashwagandha gives a healthy physiological move to face stressful situations as well as refreshing sleep. It may also be considered as a preventive and effective ingredient for immunomodulation, through which the body's immune system can be strengthened and managed.
Dr Benny Antony, PhD
Joint Managing Director at Arjuna Natural Pvt. Ltd.