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Molecules 2009, 14(7), 2373-2393; doi:10.3390/molecules14072373

Steroidal Lactones from Withania somnifera, an Ancient Plant for Novel Medicine

Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University, G.C., Evin, Tehran, Iran
Departament de Ciencies Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Av. Doctor Aiguader 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Laboratori de Fisiologia Vegetal, Facultat de Farmacia. Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XXIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 May 2009 / Revised: 23 June 2009 / Accepted: 2 July 2009 / Published: 3 July 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Triterpenes and Triterpenoids)
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Withania somnifera, commonly known as Ashwagandha, is an important medicinal plant that has been used in Ayurvedic and indigenous medicine for over 3,000 years. In view of its varied therapeutic potential, it has also been the subject of considerable modern scientific attention. The major chemical constituents of the Withania genus, the withanolides, are a group of naturally occurring C28-steroidal lactone triterpenoids built on an intact or rearranged ergostane framework, in which C-22 and C-26 are appropriately oxidized to form a six-membered lactone ring. In recent years, numerous pharmacological investigations have been carried out into the components of W. somnifera extracts. We present here an overview of the chemical structures of triterpenoid components and their biological activity, focusing on two novel activities, tumor inhibition and antiangiogenic properties of withaferin A and the effects of withanolide A on Alzheimer's disease. The most recent attempts in biotechnological production of withanolides are also discussed.
Keywords: Withania somnifera; withanolides; withaferin A; withanolide A; triterpenoids Withania somnifera; withanolides; withaferin A; withanolide A; triterpenoids

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mirjalili, M.H.; Moyano, E.; Bonfill, M.; Cusido, R.M.; Palazón, J. Steroidal Lactones from Withania somnifera, an Ancient Plant for Novel Medicine. Molecules 2009, 14, 2373-2393.

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