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An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Sep; 98(37):e17186.M

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) is a herb traditionally used to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing. The aim of this study was to investigate its anxiolytic effects on adults with self-reported high stress and to examine potential mechanisms associated with its therapeutic effects.

METHODS

In this 60-day, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study the stress-relieving and pharmacological activity of an ashwagandha extract was investigated in stressed, healthy adults. Sixty adults were randomly allocated to take either a placebo or 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract (Shoden) once daily. Outcomes were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale -21 (DASS-21), and hormonal changes in cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEA-S), and testosterone.

RESULTS

All participants completed the trial with no adverse events reported. In comparison with the placebo, ashwagandha supplementation was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the HAM-A (P = .040) and a near-significant reduction in the DASS-21 (P = .096). Ashwagandha intake was also associated with greater reductions in morning cortisol (P < .001), and DHEA-S (P = .004) compared with the placebo. Testosterone levels increased in males (P = .038) but not females (P = .989) over time, although this change was not statistically significant compared with the placebo (P = .158).

CONCLUSIONS

These findings suggest that ashwagandha's stress-relieving effects may occur via its moderating effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. However, further investigation utilizing larger sample sizes, diverse clinical and cultural populations, and varying treatment dosages are needed to substantiate these findings.

TRIAL REGISTRATION

Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI registration number: CTRI/2017/08/009449; date of registration 22/08/2017).

Authors+Show Affiliations

College of Science, Health, Engineering, and Education (SHEE), Murdoch University, Perth. Clinical Research Australia, Duncraig, Western Australia, Australia.College of Science, Health, Engineering, and Education (SHEE), Murdoch University, Perth. Clinical Research Australia, Duncraig, Western Australia, Australia.Heamatology Centre Bhopal, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.Saibaba Healthcare, Wagholi, Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Language

eng

PubMed ID

31517876

Citation

Lopresti, Adrian L., et al. "An Investigation Into the Stress-relieving and Pharmacological Actions of an Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) Extract: a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study." Medicine, vol. 98, no. 37, 2019, pp. e17186.
Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, et al. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186.
Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine, 98(37), e17186. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000017186
Lopresti AL, et al. An Investigation Into the Stress-relieving and Pharmacological Actions of an Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) Extract: a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186. PubMed PMID: 31517876.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. AU - Lopresti,Adrian L, AU - Smith,Stephen J, AU - Malvi,Hakeemudin, AU - Kodgule,Rahul, PY - 2019/9/14/entrez PY - 2019/9/14/pubmed PY - 2019/10/1/medline SP - e17186 EP - e17186 JF - Medicine JO - Medicine (Baltimore) VL - 98 IS - 37 N2 - BACKGROUND: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) is a herb traditionally used to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing. The aim of this study was to investigate its anxiolytic effects on adults with self-reported high stress and to examine potential mechanisms associated with its therapeutic effects. METHODS: In this 60-day, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study the stress-relieving and pharmacological activity of an ashwagandha extract was investigated in stressed, healthy adults. Sixty adults were randomly allocated to take either a placebo or 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract (Shoden) once daily. Outcomes were measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale -21 (DASS-21), and hormonal changes in cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEA-S), and testosterone. RESULTS: All participants completed the trial with no adverse events reported. In comparison with the placebo, ashwagandha supplementation was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the HAM-A (P = .040) and a near-significant reduction in the DASS-21 (P = .096). Ashwagandha intake was also associated with greater reductions in morning cortisol (P < .001), and DHEA-S (P = .004) compared with the placebo. Testosterone levels increased in males (P = .038) but not females (P = .989) over time, although this change was not statistically significant compared with the placebo (P = .158). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that ashwagandha's stress-relieving effects may occur via its moderating effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. However, further investigation utilizing larger sample sizes, diverse clinical and cultural populations, and varying treatment dosages are needed to substantiate these findings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI registration number: CTRI/2017/08/009449; date of registration 22/08/2017). SN - 1536-5964 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31517876/An_investigation_into_the_stress_relieving_and_pharmacological_actions_of_an_ashwagandha__Withania_somnifera__extract:_A_randomized_double_blind_placebo_controlled_study_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000017186 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -