ASHWAGANDHA, Withania somnifera

ASHWAGANDHA


Latin nameWithania somnifera
English name: Indian ginseng, Winter cherry

Indian name: Ashgandh
Sanskrit name: Ashwagandha

Medicinal parts used: Leaves, Roots, Bark

Ashwagandha is a small perennial shrub with white flowers and orange red berry found in warmer regions of India. Today the herb is completely domesticated and is cultivated extensively in central and western India. The roots are used in the preparation of various formulations of Ayurvedic origin.
Roots of Winter cherry are highly acclaimed tonic for brain and nervous system in Ayurveda. Its usage is recommended in preventive health care. It is considered as “Medhya” which implies to its beneficial effects to the brain. Detail investigations, both clinical and experimental, observed that Ashwagandha acts as an anti-stress and adaptogenic herb. Regular use of Ashwagandha improves stress tolerance, thereby enhancing the mental capabilities. It is also known to improve the quality of immune functions. By virtue of these uses it is often referred to as “Indian Ginseng”. Ashwagandha is characterized by the presence of steroidal lactones, alkaloids and flavonoids. The steroidal lactones of Ashwagandha are collectively known as Withanolides. Ashwagandha roots are reported to contain more than 30 steroidal lactones and about 20 alkaloids. Many of the chemical constituents have been investigated for different biological activities.

Therapeutic use:

  • It acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems, having a rejuvenative effect on the body, and is used to improve vitality and aid recovery after chronic illness.
  • The whole plant, but especially the leaves and the root bark, are abortifacient, adaptogen, antibiotic, aphrodisiac, deobstruent, diuretic, narcotic, strongly sedative and tonic.
  • Internally, it is used to tone the uterus after a miscarriage and also in treating post-partum difficulties.
  • It is also used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility, insomnia, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility, multiple sclerosis etc.
  • Externally it has been applied as a poultice to boils, swellings and other painful parts.
  • Evidence shows that it acts as good immunomodulator. It can also be used as blood purifier.

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