Study Title:

Keeping abreast about ashwagandha in breast cancer.

Study Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance: Ashwagandha has been used as an ayurvedic medicine in the form of 'Rasayana' (as a tonic) even before 3000 BCE in India. As per Ayurveda, it has long been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, weakness, impotence, pulmonary tuberculosis. This plant is also beneficial in lumbago and leucorrhea in the female. In the recent past, Withania has shown its anti-cancerous activity in various experimental models. In addition, Withania also possesses many other properties such as anti-oxidant, anti-stress, adaptogenic, and regenerative which will eventually be beneficial and safe in treating cancer patients.

Aim of the study: This review aims to provide experimental evidence along with a deeper insight into molecular mechanisms of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) through which it acts as a chemotherapeutic agent against different types of breast cancer.

Materials and methods: Literature searches with the help of electronic online databases (Elsevier, Google Scholar, Scopus, Springer Link, ScienceDirect, ResearchGate, PubMed) were carried out. The timeline for collection of data for the review article was from 2000 to 2019. The plant name was validated from The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on 21st March 2020).

Results: Various forms of Withania somnifera were used and several in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies were reported by researchers. They found ashwagandha to exhibit anti-apoptotic, anti-metastatic, anti-invasive and anti-inflammatory properties and gave the evidence that ashwagandha has a capability for averting and treating breast cancer.

Conclusion: Various in vitro and in vivo studies suggested Ashwagandha may possess a potential for treating breast cancer, especially ER/PR positive breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. A clinical trial has also been conducted in the past that suggested its potential in refining quality of life in breast cancer patients. Studies directed towards molecular pathways have helped in unravelling the key mechanisms of ashwagandha. Future research should be directed towards translational studies involving breast cancer patients. These will reinforce the ancient power of our Ayurvedic medicine.

Study Information

J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 Apr 6;269:113759. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2020.113759. Epub 2020 Dec 25. PMID: 33359916.

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