Sleep-promoting activity of amylase-treated Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L. Dunal) root extract via GABA receptors

Chun Woong Park, Ki Bae Hong, Hyung Joo Suh, Yejin Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L. Dunal), an Indian medicinal plant that has been used for centuries to treat insomnia, exhibits a variety of biological activities, such as improving cognitive function, immunity and anxiety. In this study, the effect of enzyme-treated Ashwagandha root extract (EA) and on sleep was evaluated using rodent models. Starch contained in the Ashwagandha root extract was removed by amylase treatment to prepare EA. To evaluate the sleep-promoting activity of EA, a pentobarbital-induced sleep test and electroencephalogram analysis were performed. In addition, the sleep-promoting mechanism of EA was elucidated by analyzing the expression of sleep-related re-ceptors. In the pentobarbital-induced sleep test, EA dose-dependently increased sleep duration. Additionally, electroencephalogram analysis revealed that EA significantly increased d-wave and non-rapid eye movement sleep times, which are involved in deep sleep, thereby improving sleep quality and quantity. EA also effectively relieved caffeine-induced insomnia symptoms. Furthermore, the g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) content in the brain and mRNA and protein expression of GABAA, GABAB1, and serotonin receptors were significantly increased by EA compared to the normal group. In particular, EA showed sleep-promoting activity by binding to various GABAA receptor sites. Collectively, EA exhibited sleep-promoting activity through the GABAergic system and may be used as a functional material to improve sleep deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)278-288
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Food and Drug Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Technology development Program (RS-2022-00167151) funded by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS, Korea).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taiwan Food and Drug Administration.


  • Antagonist
  • Electroencephalogram
  • GABA receptor
  • NREM sleep
  • Withania somnifera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Pharmacology


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