Ashwaganda has pronounced and diverse anti-cancer activity. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Selective killing of cancer cells by leaf extract of Ashwagandha: Components, activity and pathway analyses.
Cancer Lett. 2008 Jan 9. PMID: 18191020
Ashwagandha, also called as "Queen of Ayurveda" and "Indian ginseng", is a commonly used plant in Indian traditional medicine, Ayurveda. Its roots have been used as herb remedy to treat a variety of ailments and to promote general wellness. However, scientific evidence to its effects is limited to only a small number of studies. We had previously identified anti-cancer activity in the leaf extract (i-Extract) of Ashwagandha and demonstrated withanone as a cancer inhibitory factor (i-Factor). In the present study, we fractionated the i-Extract to its components by silica gel column chromatography and subjected them to cell based activity analyses. We found that the cancer inhibitory leaf extract (i-Extract) has, at least, seven components that could cause cancer cell killing; i-Factor showed the highest selectivity for cancer cells and i-Factor rich Ashwagandha leaf powder was non-toxic and anti-tumorigenic in mice assays. We undertook a gene silencing and pathway analysis approach and found that i-Extract and its components kill cancer cells by at least five different pathways, viz. p53 signaling, GM-CFS signaling, death receptor signaling, apoptosis signaling and G2-M DNA damage regulation pathway. p53 signaling was most common. Visual analysis of p53 and mortalin staining pattern further revealed that i-Extract, fraction F1, fraction F4 and i-Factor caused an abrogation of mortalin-p53 interactions and reactivation of p53 function while the fractions F2, F3, F5 work through other mechanisms.