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February 15, 2007

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) For Stress And In Integrative Oncology.

Topics: Medical Science News
Reader AK asks about taking Ashwagandha for anxiety and stress during cancer treatment. Although you should always consult your treating physician before taking any medication or nutritional supplement, ashwagandha has been shown to offer significant benefits in the reduction of anxiety. Additionally, scientific studies support ashwagandha's ability to relieve stress, protect brain cells against the deleterious effects of our modern lifestyles, and even reduce the side effects of chemotherapeutic agents cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel without interfering with the tumor-reducing actions of the drugs (in-vitro studies on human cancer cell lines, and in-vivo on animal subjects. There have been no human trials to date).
Ashwagandha is an exotic Indian herb with remarkable stress-relieving properties that are comparable to those of powerful drugs used to treat depression and anxiety. In addition to its excellent protective effects on the nervous system, ashwagandha may also be a promising alternative treatment for a variety of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Ashwagandha's powerful antioxidant properties seek and destroy free radicals that have been implicated in aging and numerous disease states. And even more remarkable, there is emerging evidence that suggests it has significant anti-cancer benefits as well.

In Altern Med Rev. 2006 Dec;11(4):269-77, M. Winters writes:

Withania somnifera Dunal, commonly known as ashwagandha, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to increase longevity and vitality. Western research supports its polypharmaceutical use, confirming antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and antistress properties in the whole plant extract and several separate constituents. This article reviews the literature pertaining to Withania somnifera and its botanical constituents as antitumor agents and in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Following a search of MEDLINE and EBSCO databases, it can be concluded that Withania somnifera reduces tumor cell proliferation while increasing overall animal survival time. Furthermore, it has been shown to enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy while potentially mitigating undesirable side effects. Withania somnifera also reduces the side effects of chemotherapeutic agents cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel without interfering with the tumor-reducing actions of the drugs. These effects have been demonstrated in vitro on human cancer cell lines, and in vivo on animal subjects, but there have been no human trials to date. Given its broad spectrum of cytotoxic and tumor-sensitizing actions, Withania somnifera presents itself as a novel complementary therapy for integrative oncology care.
Readers will find much more on the benefits of Ashwaghanda in Dale Kiefer's piece at BreastCancer-treatment.us.

Posted by Richard at February 15, 2007 12:26 PM

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