Why should we not use Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves in our formulations?

Ministry of AYUSH has published an Advisory for refrain from use of Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves. It has come to the notice of Ministry of AYUSH, that Ashwagandha leaves is being used by some manufacturers in their formulations.

In this connection following are the view of this Ministry-

  • Withania somnfera (Aswagandha) root is widely used drug in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) systems of medicine since ancient period.
  • Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha systems refer the drug as Aswagandha, Asgandh and Amukkura respectively.
  • Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India defines that the Asvagandha consists of dried mature roots of Withania somnfera Dunal (API, Part I, Vol.1).
  • All these systems use roots of the Withania somnfera as useful part in different single and compound classical formulations.
  • As such, the use of leaves of Withania somnfera has not been reported in classical texts of ASU systems of medicine.
  • However, some of the OTC formulations of Withania somnfera leaves are available in markets but neither their safety and efficacy is vividly studied nor reported in ASU classical texts.
  •  No substantial evidence and literature is available to endorse the efficacy of crude drug! extract of Withania somnfera leaves.
  • Considering this, it would not be appropriate to consider the Withania somnfera leaves as ASU medicine at this stage.
  • Extensive studies are required to establish the safety and efficacy of leaves of Withania somn?fera for different indications. Till then, the usage of leaves may not be considered for therapeutic purpose in ASU systems.

However, considering the above and in the background of available textual/literature evidences. It is advised that the manufacturers of the crude drug/extracts, sellers, ASU drug manufacturing companies. Also, ASU drug exporters not to use Withania somnifera leaves either in crude or extract or any other form. Moreover, for therapeutic purposes under the ambit of ASU drugs as per textual indications or as a food supplements in the name of ASU drugs.

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