Withania somnifera


Other Names:

Indian Ginseng, Withania, Avarada, Indian Winter Cherry


  • Antibacterial
  • Antitumor
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiarthritic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antiviral
  • Immunity
  • Bone-strength
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as “indian ginseng” and “winter cherry”, is a subtropical evergreen shrub belonging to the Solanaceae family which commonly grows in areas of Africa, the East Mediterranean region, Pakistan, and India. The extract or powder from the plant's roots are a popular Ayurvedic herb, used for over 3,000 years to aid in relieving stress, increasing energy levels, and improving concentration.

Ashwagandha is also known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, immune stimulating, and antitumor properties.
The main chemical components of benefit are the plant's high concentration of withanolides, which are steroidal lactones that have been shown to fight inflammation and tumor growth. More than 40 withanolides, approximately 12 alkaloids, and several sitoindosides have been isolated and identified.

There have been numerous research studies on Ashwagandha in humans, chickens, mice and rats. Some of the key benefits discovered in relation to chickens include:
  • E. coli infection. Ashwagandha root extract reduced the severity, mortality, and recovery period of chickens with E. coli infection, and enhanced their humoral and cellular immune responses.
  • Ovarian cancer. Ashwagandha root powder mixed with their basal ration for 90 days at a dosage of 2 g/kg body weight reduced the incidence and progression of ovarian tumors in hens.
  • Infectious bursal disease (IBD). Ashwagandha alleviated infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)-induced stress and histological and immunological alterations and reduced IBDV persistence in the host.

Poultry Specific Studies

TypePlant PartDosageSpecific useResultsRef
Hensroot powder0.5-1% of dietegg productionNo effect on egg quality factors such as egg weight, egg shape index, or thickness.S Kumar et al., 2021
Broilersroot powder1% of feedantiviral, infectious bursal disease virusalleviated infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)-induced stress and histological and immunological alterations and reduced IBDV persistence in the host.Ganguly B et al., 2020
Hensroot powder1% of dietOverall healthSignificantly decreased serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins, while significantly increasing the high-density lipoprotein.S Kumar et al., 2020
Broilersroot extract20% WSR extract at 20 ml/L of waterImmunity, E. coliReduced the severity of clinical signs, mortality, and recovery period of E. coli infection and enhanced the humoral and cellular immune responses.M Kumari et al., 2020
Broilersroot powder250 mg/kg dietOverall healthSignificantly improved daily weight gain, feed conversion efficiency and livability rate.V Singh et al., 2017
Chickensroot powder0.5% of dietOverall healthSignificantly increased Hb, PCV and WBC values and lowered H:L ratio and serum cholesterol concentrations.K Divua et al., 2015
Broilersroot powder0.5% of feedSalmonellaDecreased severity of salmonella gallinarum infectionK Divua et al., 2015
Chicksroot powder0.5-1% of dietoverall healthEnhanced growth rate, feed consumption and feed conversion. Reduced mortality rate.B Probhakar et al., 2013
Broilersroot powder75-150 mg/kgbone strengthSignificantly increased the tibia shear force and stiffness of the bone. Improved Ca retention, bone calcification and mechanical properties.M Mirakzehi et al., 2013
Chickensroot powder2 g/kg BWanticancer, ovarian cancerreduced tumor progression in hens with ovarian cancer.A Barua et al., 2013
Broilersroot powder0.1% of feedprevented cadmium-induced peroxidation of tissues.Bharavi K et al., 2010
Broilersroot powder1% of feedimmunity, heat stressAdding ashwagandha root powder and ascorbic acid in the diet during hot weather was beneficial, because it increased the body weight and improved the weight gain, feed conversion ratio and immune status of birds.Jadhav, S. S. et al., 2008
Chickensroot1% of feedimmunity, heat stressimproved physiological functions in chickens suffering from heat stress. Significant improved packed cell volume, hemoglobin percent, and hemagglutination inhibition titer against Newcastle disease virus, and increased cellular response to dinitrochlorobenzene.Akotkar et al. 2007