Function, Sources and Benefits of the Health Supplement Ingredient Sensoril® Optimized Ashwagandha Extract
Sensoril® is a standardized extract of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as winter cherry or Indian ginseng. According to its manufacturer, NutraGenesis, multi-patented Sensoril ashwagandha extract is clinically proven and contains the highest, most potent levels of ashwagandha bioactive constituents in the industry. Ashwagandha is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine and is believed to possess a wide range of health benefits, from stress-relief to cancer-fighting properties. Sensoril ashwagandha extract is used in health, beauty and skin care supplements, such as Female Hormone Balancer and Skin Perfect Hair, Skin and Nails.
Functions of Ashwagandha
The chemical constituents of ashwagandha include steroidal lactones called withanolides (12-deoxywithastramonolide, withanolide-A and withaferin-A), along with alkanoids (anaferine and isopelletierine), saponins (sitoindoside VII and VIII) and iron. These active constituents appear to have beneficial effects in relation to physical, mental and emotional health, including adaptogenic properties that aid the body in handling daily stress.
Sources of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha extract is derived from the Withania somnifera plant, which is more commonly known as ashwagandha. It is sometimes called winter cherry (one of several plants known by that name) or Indian ginseng, although it is not related to the ginseng plant. The roots and leaves of Withania somnifera are most commonly used in ashwagandha extract, though the plant’s berries, seeds and shoots may also be used for medicinal purposes.
Ashwagandha Benefits and Uses
As a dietary supplement ingredient, ashwagandha is usually taken orally to help reduce stress and anxiety, increase energy, enhance concentration and mental acuity, promote restful sleep, reduce swelling and inflammation, support the immune system and cardiovascular health, assist in weight management and protect against the visible signs of aging. Ashwagandha is sometimes applied to the skin as an analgesic (pain reliever) and to treat wounds.
Research also suggests that ashwagandha may be useful in treating a variety of medical conditions. There is some evidence that it may reduce blood-sugar levels in diabetics, lower cholesterol in patients with high cholesterol, and improve attention and impulse control in children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It has been credited with treating the symptoms of arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, and it may be useful in treating infertility. Notably, ashwagandha shows promise as a cancer treatment. Studies have indicated that it contributes to reduced growth of cancer cells in the breast, central nervous system, colon and lungs while enhancing radiosensitivity during radiation therapy and increasing white blood cell counts during radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha and Potential Interactions
Supplements containing ashwagandha are generally considered safe for most adults, though women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid ashwagandha as it may induce a miscarriage. Users with sensitivity to ashwagandha might experience an upset stomach or nausea. Since ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, individuals with stomach ulcers should avoid it.
Ashwagandha’s beneficial effects may be amplified when taken in combination with certain medications, which can have adverse results for some patients. For example, because ashwagandha can lower blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, it may interfere with blood-pressure and diabetes medications, causing blood pressure or blood-sugar levels to drop too low. Since it has been shown to trigger increased activity in the immune system, ashwagandha may exacerbate symptoms in people with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) or lupus, and it may decrease the effectiveness of immunosuppressant medications. Ashwagandha can increase thyroid hormone levels and interact with thyroid medication, so individuals with thyroid disorders should exercise caution when taking supplements with ashwagandha extract. And while ashwagandha promotes restful sleep, it can cause heavy drowsiness when taken in combination with sedative medications such as benzodiazepines and central nervous system (CNS) depressants.
More detailed safety information on ashwagandha side effects and interactions can be found on WebMD. As with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before taking supplements containing Sensoril or ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha Research and Studies
A number of studies have been conducted concerning ashwagandha and its impact on emotional well-being and cognitive function. A group of researchers tested the impact of naturopathic care – including ashwagandha extract – on individuals with moderate to severe anxiety. The results of the study, which appeared in PLOS ONE, indicated that the subjects who took ashwagandha had significantly lower levels of anxiety and demonstrated improvements in mental health, concentration, fatigue, social functioning, vitality and overall quality of life. An article published in Pharmacognosy Research examined the effects of Withania somnifera extract on cognitive and psychomotor performance in humans, and determined that study participants taking Sensoril capsules exhibited significant improvements in both cognitive and psychomotor performance.
Another major area of study has been the use of ashwagandha in cancer research. Studies published in Life Sciences and Clinical Cancer Research found that ashwagandha leaf extract may prevent or decrease the growth of several types of tumors – including cancer cells in the breast, central nervous system, colon and lungs – without impacting normal cells. A 2011 article in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines summarized a number of medical studies featuring ashwagandha, from its anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties to its neuroregenerative and anxiolytic potential. For additional research related to ashwagandha, refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
HGH.com and Skin Perfect Supplements With Sensoril Ashwagandha
Individuals seeking to leverage the beneficial effects of Sensoril optimized ashwagandha extract can find this natural ingredient in health, beauty and skin care supplements from HGH.com and Skin Perfect:
Purity Select Female Hormone Balancer – Sensoril ashwagandha extract is one of the 25 active ingredients in Female Hormone Balancer. Ashwagandha supports emotional well-being, stress-relief and mood-enhancement, while other ingredients in the supplement help to balance estrogen levels, reduce hot flashes and PMS symptoms, and stimulate metabolism and weight loss.
Skin Perfect Hair, Skin and Nails – With 30 active ingredients, this Skin Perfect supplement is designed to improve the condition and appearance of hair, skin and nails. The inclusion of Sensoril ashwagandha extract means that beyond these beauty and skin care benefits, the supplement also promotes mental clarity, concentration and alertness as well as emotional well-being.
References (Function, Sources, Benefits/Uses and Side Effects/Interactions):
Bruno, Gene. “Ashwaganha”; Smart Supplementation, published by Huntington College of Health Sciences; 2009. <http://www.hchs.edu/literature/Ashwaganda.pdf>
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Ashwagandha”; published under “About Herbs, Botanicals & Other Products” within Integrative Medicine area of website; last updated December 21, 2011. <http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/ashwagandha>
WebMD and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. “Ashwagandha”; published under “Vitamins & Supplements”; accessed July 28, 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-953-ASHWAGANDHA.aspx?activeIngredientId=953&activeIngredientName=ASHWAGANDHA>
Cooley, Kieran; Szczurko, Orest; et al. “Naturopathic Care for Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial”; PLOS ONE: A Peer-Reviewed, Open Access Journal; August 31, 2009. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2729375/>
Jayaprakasam, Bolleddula; Zhang, Yanjun; et al. “Growth Inhibition of Human Tumor Cell Lines by Withanolides From Withania Somnifera Leaves”; Life Sciences; November 21, 2003. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14575818>
Pingali, Usharani; Pilli, Raveendranadh; and Fatima, Nishat. “Effect of Standardized Aqueous Extract of Withania Somnifera on Tests of Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance in Healthy Human Participants”; Pharmacognosy Research; January–March 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3897003/>
Singh, Narendra; Bhalla, Mohit; et al. “An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda”; African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines; July 3, 2011. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/>
Widodo, Nashi; Kaur, Kamaljit; et al. “Selective Killing of Cancer Cells by Leaf Extract of Ashwagandha: Identification of a Tumor-Inhibitory Factor and the First Molecular Insights to Its Effect”; Clinical Cancer Research; April 1, 2007. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17404115>