In Vivo Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Extract on the Activation of Lymphocytes

In Vivo Effects of Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera) Extract on
the Activation of Lymphocytes

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2009 (Apr); 15 (4): 423430

Jeremy Mikolai, Andrew Erlandsen, Andrew Murison, Kimberly A. Brown, M.S.O.M., William L. Gregory, Ph.D., Padma Raman-Caplan, N.D., and Heather L. Zwickey, Ph.D.

Helfgott Research Institute,
National College of Natural Medicine,
Portland, OR.

Address reprint requests to:
Heather Zwickey, Ph.D.,
Helfgott Research Institute,
049 SW Porter Street,
Portland, OR 97239

Objective:   This study investigated the immunologic effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on four types of immune cells in a human sample to determine the immunologic mechanism.

Design:   Five (5) participants consumed 6mL of an Ashwagandha root extract twice daily for 96 hours. Ashwagandha was administered with anupana (whole milk). Peripheral blood samples were collected at 0, 24, and 96 hours and compared for differences in cell surface expression of CD4, CD8, CD19, CD56, and CD69 receptors by flow cytometry.

Results:   Significant increases were observed in the expression of CD4 on CD3+ T cells after 96 hours. CD56+ NK cells were also activated after 96 hours as evidenced by expression of the CD69 receptor. At 96 hours of use, mean values of receptor expression for all measured receptor types were increased over baseline, indicating that a major change in immune cell activation occurred across the sample.

Conclusions:   Effects on immune cell activation with use of Ashwagandha warrant further study.



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