Does ashwagandha affect immune health?

    Last Updated: November 3, 2023

    It is uncertain whether ashwagandha affects immune health by reducing stress, but chronic stress does tend to suppress healthy immune function.[1][2][3] Ashwagandha’s general immunomodulatory capability (as exerted by 60–500 mg for 1–4 weeks) has been explored through direct assessment of immune parameters (immunoglobulins A, M, G, cytokines, natural killer cell content/activity, and lymphocytes) with encouraging results for fighting infection.[4][5][6][7][8][9] These findings, however, still require replication with more robust methodological approaches.

    When examining the prevention or treatment of respiratory infection, studies tended to take a more complete ayurvedic approach by using ashwagandha alongside additional therapies and/or herbs. While these studies indicate promising initial results, variation in methods and intervention used may need to be addressed before conclusions can be drawn or generalized.[5][10][11][8][9]

    Animal studies suggest that some of ashwagandha’s benefits for immune health may also be due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.[12] A few human clinical trials in adults with and without health conditions appear to reflect this possibility, too. Ashwagandha use (500–5,000 mg daily for 8–12 weeks) correlated with increases in antioxidants and decreases in oxidation markers such as malondialdehyde, along with improvements in exercise recovery, fertility, lung function, oxygen uptake, perceived stress signs and symptoms, and quality of life.[13][14][15] Several studies have also explored ashwagandha for treating arthritis (500–1,000 mg daily for 8–12 weeks), where anti-inflammatory capacity was the proposed mechanism of action, though this mechanism and effect still has yet to be confirmed.[16][17][18]

    References

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    4. ^Tharakan A, Shukla H, Benny IR, Tharakan M, George L, Koshy SImmunomodulatory Effect of (Ashwagandha) Extract-A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Trial with an Open Label Extension on Healthy Participants.J Clin Med.(2021-Aug-18)
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    7. ^Jeremy Mikolai, Andrew Erlandsen, Andrew Murison, Kimberly A Brown, William L Gregory, Padma Raman-Caplan, Heather L ZwickeyIn vivo effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on the activation of lymphocytesJ Altern Complement Med.(2009 Apr)
    8. ^Vyas P, Chandola HM, Ghanchi F, Ranthem SClinical evaluation of Rasayana compound as an adjuvant in the management of tuberculosis with anti-Koch's treatment.Ayu.(2012-Jan)
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    10. ^Deepa Chitre, Satej Nadkarni, Namdev Jagtap, Rahul Tulle, Amol Gitte, Prashant Rahate, Sunetra Chaskar, Debendranath DeyPhase III randomized clinical trial of BV-4051, an Ayurvedic polyherbal formulation in moderate SARS-CoV-2 infections and its impact on inflammatory biomarkersPhytother Res.(2023 Apr)
    11. ^Arvind Chopra, Narayanam Srikanth, Bhushan Patwardhan, AYUSH CCRAS Research GroupWithania somnifera as a safer option to hydroxychloroquine in the chemoprophylaxis of COVID-19: Results of interim analysisComplement Ther Med.(2021 Nov)
    12. ^Nishant P Visavadiya, A V R L NarasimhacharyaHypocholesteremic and antioxidant effects of Withania somnifera (Dunal) in hypercholesteremic ratsPhytomedicine.(2007 Feb)
    13. ^Shashank Tiwari, Sandeep Kumar Gupta, Anklesh Kumar PathakA double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera dunal.) root extract in improving cardiorespiratory endurance and recovery in healthy athletic adultsJ Ethnopharmacol.(2021 May 23)
    14. ^Kamla Kant Shukla, Abbas Ali Mahdi, Vivek Mishra, Singh Rajender, Satya Narain Sankhwar, Devender Patel, Mukul DasWithania somnifera improves semen quality by combating oxidative stress and cell death and improving essential metal concentrationsReprod Biomed Online.(2011 May)
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    17. ^Chopra A, Lavin P, Patwardhan B, Chitre DA 32-week randomized, placebo-controlled clinical evaluation of RA-11, an Ayurvedic drug, on osteoarthritis of the knees.J Clin Rheumatol.(2004-Oct)
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