Withania somnifera(L.)Dunal, also known as Ashwaghanda” in Sanskrit and as”Indian Winter Cherry in english”is an important medicinal herb. It is widely used in Indian systems of medicine as an adaptogen, nerve tonic, anti-stress, memory enhancer and against cognitive deficits, insomnia, anxiety, infectious diseases, infertility, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout over thousands of years. Its formulations are mainly used in Unani and Ayurvedic system of medicine. It is a remarkable centuries old herbal Rasayana used to treat neuronal ailments and is known as ”SattvicKaphaRasayana.
To review neuroprotective properties of Withania somnifera (L.)extract as well as its active constituents in neurodegenerative diseases and other neurological ailments.
The sources of information used in present article include Indian system of Medicine reports on the use of natural products, Medicinal books, research articles and scientific databases like PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, Science-Direct, SciFinder, ACS Publications and Wiley Online Library.
Research reports based largely on preclinical studies as well as few clinicaltrials have highlighted the neuroprotective role of Ashwagandha against many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease in animals as well as in patients. The protective effects of Ashwagandha were accomplished by restoring mitochondrial and endothelial function, mitigation of apoptosis, inflammation, oxidative stress mechanisms.
In this review, we recapitulated neuroprotective properties of Ashwagandha extracts and/or its major constituents and discussed their mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic applications. The pre-clinical as well as clinical studies suggest the use of Withania somnifera (L.) against neurodegenerative disease. However, extensive studies are warranted to validate the use of extract or its single constituents for its clinical use.

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