Ashwagandha extracts play a significant role in traditional Indian medicine to help treat a wide range of disorders from amnesia, erectile dysfunction, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, stress, anxiety, and many more. Ashwagandha root is enriched with bioactive plant metabolites of which withanolides are the most important ones. The concentration and constitution of withanolides primarily determine ashwagandha's potency and pharmacology. Various factors modulate the withanolide constitution in the plant-derived extracts, rendering inconsistent therapeutic efficacy. Standardisation of the extraction protocol and a better understanding of the pharmacology mechanism of different extracts with varied withanolide constitutions is therefore critical for developing reliable, repeatable, and effective ashwagandha-based treatment.
Here, we work toward defining indication mechanisms for two varieties of ashwagandha extract—ASHWITH (ASH-Ext1) and Regenolide (ASH-Ext2)—with different proprietary withanolide proportions.
ASH-Ext1 was studied for antioxidant signaling modulation using HEK293, HeLa, and A549 cells, and ASH-Ext2 was studied for subcellular drug targets associated with the reactivation and longevity of human hair follicles, using primary human hair follicle dermal papilla cells (HFDPCs).
Study findings support the antioxidant activity and Nrf2 signaling modulation by ASH-Ext1 in various cell models. Of note, ASH-Ext2 was found to increase β-catenin and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) protein expression levels in HFDPCs.
The results of drug target modulation show us that the withanolide constitution associated with different extraction protocols influences the pharmacological potential of the extract significantly and points to the value of standardisation not only of total withanolide content but also of internal withanolide proportions.