Spotlight on Withania

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Continuing Education Is the Engine of Great Nutritional Consults

Hi Friends and Patients,

Yes, I’m a total phyto-nerd.

The idea of sitting in a hotel and listening to an Australian speak about arcane research on herbs would turn most people into a Zombie — but I love it.

You see when I learn a little known fact about an herb like Withania that lets me know it can support patients convalesing from cancer surgery while at the same time protecting them against the effects of radiation therapy — that is a big win in my book.

So many women are dealing with breast cancer. Many have had surgery followed by radiation and feel really knocked down by it.

Knowing about an herb like Withania is very helpful for these women.

With so many people getting their information from Dr. Google and not having the critical eye and background knowledge to discern good information from bad — a trained professional is important.

However, a google scholar search of scientific articles on Withania yeilds over 14,000 results. The abstract to the right is just one, but it gives you a sense of how important this herb is.

And while research is imporant to confirm our understanding — traditional use of this herb has been going on for over 4000 years as part of the Auyervedic healing tradition.

4000 years later the research is just now catching up.

Eat well and keep in touch, 

Dr. Olejak

Sources:
Withania & radiation
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22377401

Withania & fatigue
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23142798

 

Withania Somnifera in the Vedic Literature was known to “impart the strength and vigor of a horse.”

Summary:
Withania somnifera (aka Ashawagandha / WS) is very revered herb of the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine as a Rasayana (tonic). It is used for various kinds of disease processes and specially as a nervine tonic. Considering these facts many scientific studies were carried out and its adaptogenic / anti-stress activities were studied in detail. In experimental models it increases the stamina of rats during swimming endurance test and prevented adrenal gland changes of ascorbic acid and cortisol content produce by swimming stress. Pretreatment with Withania somnifera (WS) showed significance protection against stress induced gastric ulcers.

 

WS have anti-tumor effect on Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell carcinoma. It was also found effective against urethane induced lung-adenoma in mice. In some cases of uterine fibroids, dermatosarcoma, long term treatment with WS controlled the condition. It has a Cognition Promoting Effect and was useful in children with memory deficit and in old age people loss of memory.

It was also found useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzeimer’s diseases. It has GABA mimetic effect and was shown to promote formation of dendrites. It has anxiolytic effect and improves energy levels and mitochondrial health. It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agent and was found useful in clinical cases of Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. Large scale studies are needed to prove its clinical efficacy in stress related disorders, neuronal disorders and cancers.

Keywords: Withania somnifera, rejuvenator, adaptogen / anti-stress, anti-tumor, neuroregenerative, anti-arthritic

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How is it possible for a single herb to have so many different actions? The answer lies in its action as an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stressors.

The phytonutrient in this plant (glycowithanolides) provide the body with the ability to mobilize heat shock proteins.
These proteins unravel genes in the cell that allow the body to adapt more effectively to stressors by producing different proteins that allow for survival.

Many companies are actively looking to turn these compounds into drugs, but that is really a failed strategy because quite often phytonutrients work in concert and for this reason MediHerb uses a whole plant part extraction method.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/

 

 

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