Tokyo: Having trouble falling asleep? Try Ashwagandha, say scientists including one of Indian origin, who have found that an active component in the leaves of the ayurvedic herb significantly induces sleep.
Researchers, including those from University of Tsukuba in Japan, investigated the effect of various components of Ashwaganda on sleep in mice by recording electroencephalogram and electromyography.
They found that the water extract of Ashwaganda leaf rich in triethylene glycol (TEG) promoted non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep significantly and changed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep slightly, while the alcoholic extract containing active withanolides showed no effect on sleep.
The sleep induced by TEG was similar to normal sleep. Commercially available TEG also increased the amount of NREM sleep.
Researchers concluded that TEG is the active component that induces physiologically sound sleep.
The findings of the study could revolutionise the natural plant-based therapies for insomnia and sleep related disorders, said Mahesh K Kaushik of University of Tsukuba.
Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is a central herb in Ayurveda, the traditional home medicine native to India.
Its Latin name somnifera, means sleep-inducing, it has been recommended for sound sleep through centuries, researchers said.
Even though scientific studies also support that crude powder of Ashwagandha promotes sleep, the active component with sleep-inducing property remains unknown, they said.