Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an Ayurvedic shrub that forms a common ingredient of health supplements, tonics, and Indian home remedies designed to promote health and quality of life.
Though sustained through experience and history, there are only a limited laboratory studies and experimental evidence to its effects.
Scientists tried to characterize Ashwagandha activities and their molecular mechanisms, they initially prepared leaf extract of Ashwagandha (i-Extract) that showed tumor-inhibitory activity.
In the present study, they demonstrated that a major component of i-Extract and withanone (i-Factor) protected the normal human fibroblasts against the toxicity caused by withaferin A.
It increased the in vitro division potential of normal human cells that appeared to be mediated by decreased accumulation of molecular damage, downregulation of the senescence-specific beta-galactosidase activity and the senescence marker protein, p21(WAF-1), protection against oxidative damage, and induction of proteasomal activity.
It is the first example of phytochemical(s) (i-Extract and withanone) that have both anticancer and antiaging activities and point to the molecular link between aging and cancer.