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   Oct 02

Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera fights fatigue in breast cancer patients

(foodconsumer.org) — A new trial reported in Integrative & Complementary Medicine suggests that breast cancer patients who are treated with chemotherapy can benefit from taking a dietary supplement or herbal supplement called Ashwagandha or otherwise known as Withania somnifera.

Breast cancer patients suffer a great deal of fatigue caused by the disease itself and chemotherapy and their quality of life is affected by the treatment.

Biswa Mohan Biswal, MD, DNB from Universiti Sains Malaysia in Kelantan, Malaysia and colleagues conducted the trial and found Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera not only relieved fatigue in the study group of breast cancer patients, but also improved their quality of life and improved the 2-year survival odds.

Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera is an herb that can protect against oxidation, inflammation, cancer, stress and has adaptogenic properties. The researchers conducted the study because they believed this herbal supplement may help breast cancer patients. Animal studies show that the herb helps relieve stress and traditional Indian medicine enlists this herb for centuries to alleviate fatigue.

For the study, 100 patients with breast cancer diagnosed in all stages were given either a combination of chemotherapy and oral Withania somnifera extract or chemotherapy alone. Chemotherapies included taxotere, adriamycin, cyclophosphamide or 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide. Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera was administered in a dose of 2 grams every 8 hours over the course of chemotherapy.

The quality-of-life and fatigue scores were assessed before, during, and on the last around of chemotherapy, using the EORTC QLQ-C30 (Version 3), Schwartz Cancer Fatigue Scale (SCFS-6) and Piper Fatigue Scale (PFS).

It was observed that breast cancer patients in the control group experienced significantly higher estimated marginal means of fatigue score, compared with those receiving the herbal supplement.

Also, various symptom scales evaluated by the EORTC QLQ-C30 were found statistically significant in 7 out of 18 symptoms in breast cancer patients given Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera extract, compared with the control group.

The overall 24-month survival rate was 72% in the breast cancer patients using Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera, compared with 56% in the control group.

The researchers concluded “Withania somnifera has potential against cancer-related fatigue, in addition to improving the quality of life (in breast cancer patients who received Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera).”

What are Ashwagandha benefits?

Ashwagandha benefits include protecting against stress, slowing aging process, improving thinking ability or cognitive function, memory and mental agility, alleviating pain and swelling, boosting the immune system and helping fight colds and coughing, and increasing fertility and sperm count.

Recently, orange berries from Ashwagandha have been found to have a therapeutic effect against skin ulcers, carbuncles, tumors and other health conditions such as diabetes, bone cancer, constipation, rheumatism, bipolar disorder, impotency, nerve problem, memory loss, and arthritis.

Ashwagandha has also been found to have the same effect as antidepressant drugs and tranquilizers when taken orally. (DL)

Source: Food Consumer

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