Botanical Name(s): Withania Somnifera
Species: W. somnifera
Popular Name(s): Withania, Winter Cherry, Indian Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng, Ashgand, Achuvagandi Ashgandh, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi, Samm Al Ferakh
Parts Used: Roots, leaves
Habitat: Cultivated throughout drier parts of India
Also known as Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry, ashwagandha is used in Indian traditional systems of medicine, namely Ayurveda and Unani. It is a stout shrub that reaches a height of about 170 cm (5 to 6 ft). The erect branched shrub is berry-like in shape and size and bears greenish or lurid yellow flowers and red fruits. The plant is grown in various parts of India like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is also cultivated in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
(+)- withanine, somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, anhydrine, methanol, hexane, diethyl ether, alkaloid (0.13-0.31%), choline, tropanol, pseudotopanol, cuscokygrene, 3-tigioyloxytropana, isopelletierine, withaferin-A, starch, glycosides, dulcitol, withancil, aspartic acid, glycine, tyrosine, alanine, glutamic acid, cysteine.
Uses & Benefits of Ashwagandha
- Ashwagandha is beneficial in stress related disorders, like arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, general debility, etc.
- It works as a rasayan that helps in preventing early aging and rejuvenates the whole body.
- The herb is considered as an adaptogen that stimulates the immune system and improves the memory.
- Ashwagandha increases the white blood cell count and prepares the body to produce antigens against different infections and allergies.
- Since it has excellent healing properties, it is greatly effective in healing wounds and injuries.
- Due to its good penetrating powers, the herb promotes calmness and mental satisfaction.
- Ashwagandha helps in increasing the number and quality of sperms.
- It revitalizes the body and decreases untimely fatigue that is caused due to weak body strength, which results from accumulation of negative energies in the body.
- Due to presence of vata-suppressant properties, ashwagandha relieves stress and helps in nurturing nervous system.
- It provides nourishment to the brain for better functioning and greater ability to work.
- Since the herb is a powerful aphrodisiac, it assists in enhancing sexual powers and promotes long-lasting endurance.
- Ashwagandha seeds are used to thicken milk in India.
- It helps in improving mental ability and mental concentration, gaining retaining power and increasing the production of bone marrow.
- The herb works as a powerful immune booster that helps in fighting any foreign invasion in the body.
- Since ashwagandha possesses the properties that suppress kapha, the plant gives good results in leucorrhoea.
- It is used as a liver tonic and anti-inflammatory agent that treats asthma, ulcers, insomnia and senile dementia.
- Incorporation of the herb in the diet prevents or decreases the growth of tumors in humans.
- The use of ashwagandha is significant in anxiety, cognitive and neurological disorders, inflammation and Parkinson’s disease.
- Do not take ashwagandha, if you are suffering from congestion.
- In case you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not use the herb, as the complications are unknown.