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Reverse Ayurvedic Pharmacology of Ashwagandha as an Adaptogenic Anti-Diabetic Plant: A Pilot Study

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Aim of this study was to define oral dose range and treatment regimen of a pharmaceutically well-standardized Withania somnifera root extract (WS) potentially useful for treatments of diabetes-associated comorbidities. Normal and diabetic male mice were treated daily with graded oral doses of WS for 10 consecutive days. On the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 10th days of treatments, the animals were subjected to a foot shock stress-triggered hyperthermia tests. Changes in body weights and basal core temperatures of experimental animals during the course of the experiments were also recorded. In addition, plasma glucose, insulin, and cortisol levels and weights of adrenal glands and spleen of diabetic animals were quantified after 10 daily WS doses. No statistically significant effects of a single oral dose of WS on any of the quantified parameters were observed even after its highest oral dose (400 mg/kg) tested. However, dose and duration of treatment dependant protective effects of WS against body weight losses and elevated core temperatures caused by daily handling and intermittent foot shock stress, as well as against stress-triggered transient hyperthermia were observed in both normal and diabetic mice after its repeated daily doses. Dose dependant efficacy of the extract against elevated plasma glucose, insulin, and cortisol levels, and alterations in adrenal gland and spleen weights of diabetic animals were apparent after its 10 daily doses. Reported observations add further experimental evidence justifying traditionally known medicinal uses of Withania somnifera for treatment of mental health problems commonly associated with numerous lifestyle-related chronic diseases.

Keywords: Ashwagandha; Withania somnifera; adaptogens; diabetes; foot-shock; hyperthermia; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2015

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