Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L.): A review

  • Nisha Khanchandani
  • Prachi Shah
  • Twinkle Kalwani
  • Anujkumar Ardeshna
  • Darshan Dharajiya Bio Science Research Centre, Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU), Sardarkrushinagar - 385506, Gujarat, India.


Approaches for studying antimicrobial susceptibility and discovering new antimicrobial agents from the plants and other natural sources have been extensively utilized. Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal, commonly known as Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is a popular medicinal plant in Ayurvedic medicine. The principal active compounds include several withanolide-type compounds. Various plant parts, like roots and less often leaves and fruits of Ashwagandha, have been used as plant-derived medicines. The plant possesses various pharmacological activities including antimicrobial activity. Many bacterial and fungal species have been used as a test microorganism for the assessment of the antimicrobial activity of extracts and purified compounds of various plant parts of Ashwagandha. In this article, we tried to compile and to discuss the information about the antimicrobial activity of W. somnifera. This will provide the platform for the researchers to select plants, plant parts, solvent system, test microorganisms, method of evaluation and other related factors affecting the analysis.


Download data is not yet available.


1. Abdallah EM. Antibacterial properties of leaf extracts of Moringa oleifera Lam. growing in Sudan. Journal of Advances in Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016; 5(1):1-5.
2. Dharajiya D, Moitra N, Patel B, Patel RK. Preliminary phytochemical analysis of the Indian medicinal plants for antibacterial activity against bovine mastitis pathogens. Wayamba Journal of Animal Science, 2012; 4:332-342.
3. Balouiri M, Sadiki M, Ibnsouda SK. Methods for in vitro evaluating antimicrobial activity: A review. Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis, 2016; 6(2):71-79.
4. Dharajiya D, Patel P, Moitra N. Antibacterial activity of Emblica officinalis (Gaertn.) Fruits and Vitex negundo (L.) Leaves. Current Trends in Biotechnology and Pharmacy, 2015; 9(4):357-368.
5. Abdallah EM. Plants: An alternative source for antimicrobials. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 2011; 1(6):16-20.
6. Dharajiya D, Khatrani T, Patel P, Moitra N. Evaluation of antifungal activity of Emblica officinalis, Aloe vera and Vitex negundo extracts. Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Sciences, 2015; 5(4):3990-3996.
7. Pathak D, Dave KM, Aliasgar L. Antimicrobial Properties of Rosa indica (A New Start with Nature). Biosciences Biotechnology Research Asia, 2019;;16(2): 403-409.
8. Dharajiya D, Jasani H, Khatrani T, Kapuria M, Pachchigar K, Patel P. Evaluation of antibacterial and antifungal activity of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) extracts. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016; 8(4):212-217.
9. Singh SN, Moses A, David A. Antimicrobial Activity of Emblica officinalis extracts against selected bacterial pathogens. International Journal of Basic and Applied Research, 2019; 9(1):325-330.
10. Dharajiya D, Pagi N, Jasani H, Patel P. Antimicrobial activity and phytochemical screening of Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller). International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 2017; 6(3):2152-62.
11. Durgeshlal C, Khan MS, Prabhat SA, Prasad YA. Antifungal activity of three different ethanolic extract against isolates from diseased rice plant. Journal of Analytical Techniques and Research, 2019; 1:47-63.
12. Dar NJ, Hamid A, Ahmad M. Pharmacologic overview of Withania somnifera, the Indian ginseng. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 2015; 72(23):4445-4460.
13. Bhattacharya SK, Muruganandam AV. Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 2003; 75(3):547-555.
14. Mirjalili M, Moyano E, Bonfill M, Cusido R, Palazón J. Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules, 2009; 14(7):2373-2393.
15. Gregory M, Sarmento B, Dias A. Nanoencapsulation of a Withania somnifera extract with PCL and MPEG-PCL di-block copolymer. Planta Medica, 2014; 80(16):1467–1468.
16. Marslin G, Selvakesavan RK, Franklin G, Sarmento B, Dias AC. Antimicrobial activity of cream incorporated with silver nanoparticles biosynthesized from Withania somnifera. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 2015; 10:5955.
17. Parita B, Kumar SN, Darshan D, Karen P. Elucidation of genetic diversity among ashwagandha [Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal] genotypes using EST-SSR markers. Research Journal of Biotechnology, 2018; 13(10):52-59.
18. Dharajiya D, Patel P, Patel M, Moitra N. In vitro antimicrobial activity and qualitative phytochemical analysis of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal extracts. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, 2014; 27(2):349-354.
19. Singh G, Sharma PK, Dudhe R, Singh S. Biological activities of Withania somnifera. Annals of Biological Research, 2010; 1(3):56-63.
20. Uddin Q, Samiulla L, Singh VK, Jamil SS. Phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Withania somnifera Dunal: a review. Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science. 2012; 2(01):170-175.
21. Verma SK, Kumar A. Therapeutic uses of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) with a note on withanolides and its pharmacological actions. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, 2011; 4(1):1-4.
22. Gupta GL, Rana AC. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A review. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 2007; 1(1):129.
23. Jain R, Kachhwaha S, Kothari SL. Phytochemistry, pharmacology, and biotechnology of Withania somnifera and Withania coagulans: A review. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 2012; 6(41):5388-5399.
24. Arora S, Dhillon S, Rani G, Nagpal A. The in vitro antibacterial/synergistic activities of Withania somnifera extracts. Fitoterapia, 2004; 75(3-4):385-388.
25. Owais M, Sharad KS, Shehbaz A, Saleemuddin M. Antibacterial efficacy of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) an indigenous medicinal plant against experimental murine salmonellosis. Phytomedicine, 2005; 12(3):229-235.
26. Kambiz L, Afolayan AJ. Extracts from Aloe ferox and Withania somnifera inhibit Candida albicans and Neisseria gonorrhoea. African Journal of Biotechnology, 2008;7(1).
27. Mahesh B, Satish S. Antimicrobial activity of some important medicinal plant against plant and human pathogens. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2008; 4(5):839-843.
28. Punetha H, Singh S, Gaur AK. Antifungal and antibacterial activities of crude withanolides extract from the roots of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (Ashwagandha). Environment Conservation Journal, 2010; 11(1-2):65-69.
29. Singariya PR, Mourya KK, Kudhimar PA. Comparative microcidal activity of Withania somnifera and Cenchrus setigerus against the pathogenic micro-organisms. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2011; 3(55):511-515.
30. Datta S, Nandy AK. Inhibition of the emergence of multi drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus by Withania somnifera root extracts. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, 2011; 4(11):917-920.
31. Sundaram S, Dwivedi P, Purwar S. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to bacterial pathogens. Asian Journal of Biotechnology, 2011; 3(2):194-199.
32. Alam N, Hossain M, Mottalib MA, Sulaiman SA, Gan SH, Khalil MI. Methanolic extracts of Withania somnifera leaves, fruits and roots possess antioxidant properties and antibacterial activities. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012; 12(1):175.
33. Singariya P, Kumar P, Mourya KK. Estimation of bio-activity of arial parts of Withania somnifera against the bacterial and fungal microbes. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2012; 4(3):553-557.
34. Singariya P, Kumar P, Mourya KK. Phyto-chemical screening and antimicrobial activities of dhaman grass and Indian Ginseng. Journal of Pharmacy Research, 2012; 5(1):135-139.
35. Baskaran C, Velu S, Kumaran K. The efficacy of Carica papaya leaf extract on some bacterial and a fungal strain by well diffusion method. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 2012; 2:S658-S662.
36. Rizwana H, Al Hazzani AA, Shehata AI, Moubayed NM. Antibacterial potential of Withania somnifera L. against human pathogenic bacteria. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 2012; 6(22):4810-4815.
37. Singariya P, Kumar P, Mourya KK. Qualitative and pharmacological evaluation of root extracts of Withania somnifera against human and plant pathogens. Asian Journal of Research in Chemistry, 2012; 5(6):3.
38. Mwitari PG, Ayeka PA, Ondicho J, Matu EN, Bii CC. Antimicrobial activity and probable mechanisms of action of medicinal plants of Kenya: Withania somnifera, Warbugia ugandensis, Prunus africana and Plectrunthus barbatus. PloS one. 2013; 8(6):e65619.
39. Jeyanthi T, Subramanian P, Kumaravel P. A comparative analysis of antibacterial activity of Withania somnifera root extract with commercial antibiotics. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 2013; 3(2):98-102.
40. Bisht P, Rawat V. Antibacterial activity of Withania somnifera against Gram-positive isolates from pus samples. Ayu, 2014; 35(3):330.
41. Kumari M, Gupta RP. In vitro antibacterial effect of Withania somnifera root extract on Escherichia coli. Veterinary World, 2015; 8(1):57.
42. Kapoor A, Kaur G, Kaur R. Antimicrobial activity of different herbal plants extracts: a review. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2015; 4(7):422-459.
43. Barnes DA, Barlow R, Singh Nigam P, Owusu-Apenten R. Antioxidant, anticancer and antibacterial activity of Withania somnifera aqueous root extract. Journal of Advances in Biology and Biotechnology, 2016; 5(1):1-6.
44. Dhiman R, Aggarwal N, Aneja KR, Kaur M. In vitro antimicrobial activity of spices and medicinal herbs against selected microbes associated with juices. International Journal of Microbiology, 2016; 2016:1-9.
45. Panchal PK, Sharma N, Singh K. Antibacterial effects of aerial part of Withania somnifera with chloroform extract on pathogenic strains. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2016; 5(8):979-988.
46. Ali S, Ali K, Hussain Z, Khan MS, Khan WM, Wali S, Shuaib M. Phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of selected medicinal plant species. Pure and Applied Biology, 2017; 6(2):418-425.
47. Srinu B, Devi KK, Bedi JS, Rao TM, Reddy KK. Screening of antimicrobial and synergistic activity of Withania somnifera, Aloe vera plant extracts and certain lactic acid bacterial strains against food borne pathogens. Toxicology International, 2017; 24(3):276-280.
48. Lai W, Chen J, Cock IE, Cheesman MJ. The interactive antimicrobial activity of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal root extracts and conventional antibiotics against some bacterial triggers of autoimmune inflammatory diseases. Pharmacognosy Communications, 2018; 8(2).
49. Gupta PK, Priyanka V, Hiremath L, Kumar SN, Srivastava AK. Extraction of phytochemicals from Eucalyptus Spp. & Withania somnifera and their biological testing. American Journal of Microbiological Research, 2018; 6(4):115-123.
50. Bansod S, Rai M. Antifungal activity of essential oils from Indian medicinal plants against human pathogenic Aspergillus fumigatus and A. niger. World Journal of Medical Sciences, 2008; 3(2):81-88.
51. Girish KS, Machiah KD, Ushanandini S, Harish Kumar K, Nagaraju S, Govindappa M, Vedavathi M, Kemparaju K. Antimicrobial properties of a non‐toxic glycoprotein (WSG) from Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha). Journal of Basic Microbiology, 2006; 46(5):365-374.
52. Kaur H, Goyal RR, Bhattacharya A, Gupta R, Lal NK, Arora B, Barua A, Yadav R, Balha M, Rananmay B, Kuanr N. Antifungal activity of phyto-extracts of Piper longum, Aloe vera, and Withania somnifera against human fungal opportunistic pathogen Candida albicans. The Delhi University Journal of Undergraduate Research and Innovation, 2015; 1:107-115.
53. Javaid A, Akhtar R. Antifungal activity of methanolic root extract of Withania sommnifera against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, 2015; 12(5):22-27.
54. Rios JL, Recio MC. Medicinal plants and antimicrobial activity. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2005; 100(1-2):80-84.
3047 Views | 1319 Downloads
How to Cite
Khanchandani N, Shah P, Kalwani T, Ardeshna A, Dharajiya D. Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L.): A review. JDDT [Internet]. 15Oct.2019 [cited 28Nov.2022];9(5-s):154-61. Available from: