Ashwagandha Mode of Action
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” because of its similar functions to the Ginseng plants and its function as an adaptogen. However, only plants belonging to the genus Panax which contain ginsenosides are considered true ginsengs.
The root of the Ashwagandha plant is the part of the plant commonly used medicinally but the root and leaves can also be utilized topically. The bioactive chemical constituents include the steroidal lactones of withanolides and withaferins, alkaloids, and saponins. Other chemical compounds found in the aerial parts of the plant contain withanolide-R and withasomniferin-A.
Research in animals (which may not be representative of the effects in the human body) suggests that Ashwagandha creates an anti-stress effect through corticosterone signaling and suppressing glutamate neuron excitations, notably through the withanolide glycosides. Although it is not fully understood at this time, Ashwagandha appears to protect the animal brain from glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. Withanolides can induce antioxidant activity after ingestion and may also prevent corticosterone (a glucocorticoid) release, creating a neuroprotective effect in animals.
Further research in animals (which, again, may not be representative of the effects in the human body) suggests that Withanolide-A works on the cholinergic system by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine). Ashwagandha may increase serotonin receptor signaling and enhances the signals through GABAa receptors (a subclass of GABA receptors). Ashwagandha’s effects on the adrenergic neurotransmission pathways are also not understood at this time but suggest its involvement in this area.
Ashwagandha Capsules provide 300 mg per capsule. Suggested use for adults is 1 capsule by mouth up to three times daily, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.
Ashwagandha Capsules Side Effects & Toxicity
The formulation of Ashwagandha involves milk, and this product contains milk constituents.
Side effects to Ashwagandha may include gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea and vomiting; and rarely, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and burning/itching/discoloration of the skin.
Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing.