• Withania somnifera;
  • toxicity;
  • safety;
  • rats;
  • herbal;
  • ayurveda

Withania somnifera is a widely used medicinal plant for several disorders. Toxicity studies on Withania somnifera are not available. Acute and sub-acute oral toxicities of Withania somnifera root extract in Wistar rats were evaluated in the present study. In the acute toxicity study, WSR extract was administered to five rats at 2000 mg/kg, once orally and were observed for 14 days. No toxic signs/mortality were observed. In the sub-acute study, WSR extract was administered once daily for 28 days to rats at 500, 1000 and 2000 mg/kg, orally. No toxic signs/mortality were observed. There were no significant changes (P < 0.05) in the body weights, organ weights and haemato-biochemical parameters in any of the dose levels. No treatment related gross/histopathological lesions were observed. The present investigation demonstrated that the no observed adverse effect level was 2000 mg/kg body weight per day of hydroalcoholic extract of W. somnifera in rats and hence may be considered as non-toxic. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.