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Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Multiple Mechanism/s of Action of Ashwagandha (Pharmacology of Ashwagandha)



Ashwagandha is an herb (classified as an Adaptogen) - that helps improve stress-related detriments in Health. It also has nootropic (memory improving) and anti-anxiety and anti-obsessive-compulsive effects.


Ashwagandha has many mechanism of actions in nerve cells.

                                            FOR OCD 


Ashwagandha has been shown to be effective in treating obsessive-compulsive-disorder (1); as OCD can be remedied by modulating the glutamatergic system - a simple search turned up Ashwagandha as indeed, modulating this system(2)...
Those afflicted with OCD tend to have low-activity at the NMDA glutamate receptor complex(3), Ashwagandha potentiates (amplifies function and activity of) NMDA-subpopulations in certain areas of the HIPPOCAMPUS (4). Ashwagandha MIMICS glycine which can provide anti-OCD effects by activating the NMDA - glutamate complex - it may also have anti-psychotic effects by this mechanism(5) (6) (7).

Ashwagandha also DECREASES the sensitivity of serotonin 5-HT1A-receptors...(8) this may lead to increased serotonin activity at the type 2 serotonin receptors - leading to a host of pathological changes. The decrease in 5-HT1A reactivity may improve OCD by yet again, lessening serotonin's inhibitory influence on glutamate and increasing glutamatergic activity(9).

Those afflicted with Depression and Anxiety tend to benefit from reduction of 5-HT1A receptor activity(10) (11).


 FOR GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER AND SOCIAL ANXIETY

Ashwagandha is also a GABA-mimetic; which means it acts like GABA - bypassing the need to produce it endogenously and bypassing the need for excessive dietary intervention. Ashwagandha effectively allows one to be assured and at peace knowing that the compounds within it are NOT dependent on other miscellaneous factors ; so if you can't produce GABA or have genetic mutations/polymorphisms that make it hard to or can't produce the chemical YOURSELF - Ashwagandha is a great supplement. There is no evidence that Ashwagandha lowers the body's production of the neurotransmitter , even in healthy individuals so there's no harm EVEN IF you do produce it naturally. 

By ACTING *like* the calming neurotransmitter GABA; Ashwagandha effectively alleviate anxiety and reduces pessimistic thinking. :)


FOR MEMORY AND MILD DEMENTIA

Ashwagandha acts similarly to the ANTI-ALZHEIMER'S Drug " Donepezil" - it blocks the activity of ACETYL-CHOLINESTEARASE (AChE) thus PREVENTING or SLOWING the breakdown of the endogenous neurotransmitter ACETYLCHOLINE; by doing so, nerve cell transmission is enhanced and synaptic strength is increased - increasing acetylcholine may also improve anxiety disorders by reducing excessive sympathetic nervous system activity. (12) (13) (14) (15)


CHOLINERGIC TRANSMISSION (DartMouth College)
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