Medicinal Herbs and ADHD


Scientific Name: Withania somnifera


  • Steroidal Saponins & Lactones: withanolides (mainly A & B) & withanosides I-VII (mainly V), withaferin A & sitoindosides VII–X
  • Alkaloids (withasomine, cuscohygrine and anahygrine)
  • Nutrients & Minerals (iron)

Medicinal actions:

  • Adaptogen
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Cytotoxic (Anti-cancer)
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Hypolipidemic
  • Immunomodulator
  • Nervine Tonic & Relaxant
  • Reproductive Tonic

Mechanism of Action & Pharmacology:

  • Potent antioxidant effects may be largely responsible for Withania’s diverse pharmacological properties.
  • Steroidal Lactones & Saponins (Sitoindosides & Withanolides e.g. withaferin A) have been widely studied and found to possess strong free radical scavenging properties, and significantly reduce lipid peroxidation, increase levels of the superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and ascorbic acid activity, as well as enhance levels of interferon-γ, interleukin-2, and the activity of macrophages to destroy pathogens.
  • Withanolides have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects similar to glucocorticoid drugs, and act as anti-inflammatory agents by inhibiting lymphocyte proliferation, complement system, and delayed-type hypersensitivity. They can also inhibit COX-2 and possess antimicrobial activity. Withanoside VI and withanolide A facilitate the regeneration of axons and dendrites by reconstructing pre and post-synapses in neurodegenerative diseases, and preventing pathogenesis and neuronal death. Withanolides and their glycosides (withanosides) possess neuroprotective effects and reversed behavioral deficits, plaque pathology, and accumulation of β-amyloid peptides in animal models of Alzheimer disease.
  • Withaferin A has anti-tumor, apoptotic, anti-angiogenesis, radiosensitizing and anti-inflammatory activity. Is also considered an effective neurological, immunological and anti-stress agent, and has exhibited specific immunosuppressive effects on human B and T lymphocytes. Sitoindosides VII & VIII and withaferin A have exhibited significant anti‐stress activity.
  • Sedative properties of alkaloids have been confirmed in a number of animal models. Have also demonstrated hypotensive, spasmolytic, bradycardic, respiratory stimulant, and a depressant effect on higher cerebral centres in high doses.
  • High iron content helps increase RBC, WBC and platelet counts.


  • Decoction
  • Tincture
  • Capsules

Safety & Toxicity Concerns:

  • Avoid in patients with known allergy to Nightshades (Solanaceae family).
  • May cause digestive discomfort.
  • Pregnancy & lactation (controversial).
  • High doses may cause hypotension, bradycardia, and respiratory stimulant actions, and may have a depressant/sedative effect upon the nervous system and higher cerebral centers.


  • Potential additive effects with CNS depressants (e.g. barbiturates), and may cause drowsiness and reduced coordination.

Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.