It exerts an indirect antioxidant action in vivo. Daily administration of Ashwagandha root extract increases hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase activity and decreases hepatic lipid peroxidation, most likely by increasing the activity of endogenous antioxidant enzymes. In vitro Ashwagandha inhibits both the lipid peroxidation and the protein oxidative modification induced by copper. In animal studies the antioxidant actions have been proposed as a possible mechanism for this herb in preventing the negative effects of stroke induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion.
Ashwagandha increases Haematopoiesis:
Animal trials indicate the Ashwagandha increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels and increases haematopoiesis. The iron content of the herb may further contribute to its role in red blood cell formation.
Ashwagandha's immunomodulation effects:
Animal studies have shown immunomodulating effects of Ashwagandha, including an increase in white blood cell, platelet and neutrophil counts. Ashwagandha also affects a in Tumor Necrosis Factor. In vitro, increased nitric oxide production by macrophages has also been reported.
Antibacterial and antifungal activity of Ashwagandha:
Animal and in vitro studies have shown antibacterial effects against bacterial germs like Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella enteridis and Salmonella typhimurium. The methanol and hexane extracts of both the leaves and the roots of Ashwagandha have potent antibacterial activity against S. typhimurium and Escherichia coli; and the steroidal with anolides from the related species W. coagulens have been found to have antifungal activity against germs like Allescheriaboydii, Aspergillus niger, Curvularialunata, Drechslerarostrata, Epidermophytonfloccosum, Microsporumcanis, Nigrosporaoryzae, Pleurotusostreatus and Stachybotrysatra.
Anti-inflammatory activity of Ashwagandha:
The withanolides (steroidal lactones) in Ashwagandha are considered to have anti-inflammatory effects. Ashwagandha as an anxiolytic and antidepressant. Animal studies have found glycowithanolides to exert anxiolytic effects comparable to those of lorazepam, and antidepressant effects comparable to those of the antidepressant drug, imipramine.
Cardioprotective properties of Ashwagandha:
Cardioprotective effects of the Ashwagandha herb have been noted in animal studies. This herb significantly reduced myocardial injury after ischemia and reperfusion. The alkaloids of the herb Ashwagandha are considered to be sedative and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. The with anolides in the herb have a chemical structure similar to cardiac glycosides and have demonstrated mild ionotropic and chronotropic effects on the heart.
Thyroid modulating uses of Ashwagandha:
An in vivo study reported that daily administration of Ashwagandha root extract enhanced serum T4 concentration. Serum T4 concentration is an indication of thyroid functioning.
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