Botanical Name – WITHANIA SOMNIFERA
Family Name – SOLANACEAE
Common Name – WITHANIA, WINTER CHERRY, INDIAN WINTER CHERRY, INDIAN GINSENG, ASHWAGANDHA, INDIAN GINSENG
Part Used – Root, Leaves
Product Offered – Roots
Active Compounds – alkaloids and withanoloids
Habitat – Cultivated throughout drier parts of India
Compounds known as withanolides are believed to account for the multiple medicinal applications of Ashwagandha. These molecules are steroidal and bear a resemblance, both in their action and appearance, to the active constituents of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) known as ginsenosides.
Generally, Ashwagandha stimulates the immune system. It has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory.
Uses: It is Tonic, Abortifacient, Astringent, Deobstruent, Nervine, Aphrodisiac and Sedative. It is official Indian Pharmacopeia. It gives vitality and vigor and helps in building greater endurance. It has been used in diseases such as rheumatism, leprosy and arthritis.
Ashwagandha has many significant benefits, but is best known for its powerful adaptogenic properties, meaning that it helps mind and body adapt better to stress. It nourishes the nerves and improves nerve function to help you maintain calm during stressful situations.
It is also good for people who do physical labor or exercise a lot, to help the body adapt to physical stress.It is a powerful Rasayana, meaning that it acts as an overall tonic for greater vitality and longevity. It nourishes all the bodily tissues (Dhatus), including the joints and nerves.
It is also a powerful Medhya Rasayana, which means that it enhances all three aspects of mind power (Dhi — comprehension; Dhriti — memory; and Smriti — recollection). Ashwagandha nourishes the crucial mind-body connection and psychoneuro immune response (called PNI). It helps coordinate the mind and senses, as well, which is essential for good quality sleep.
Ashwagandha enhances virility and has aphrodisiac properties, especially for men. It is also well known for its powerful immune enhancing benefits.
It is considered among the best of all substances for balancing Vata. It also pacifies Kapha at the same time, which is a rare combination.
Benefits of Ashwagandha:
Stress: Investigation both clinical and experimental have observed that Ashwagandha acts as an anti-stress and adaptogenic herb
Stress : Investigation both clinical and experimental have observed that Ashwagandha acts as an anti-stress and adaptogenic herb
Digestive Disorder : The root of the plant is used for treating digestive disorders like dyspepsia and loss of appetite. It corrects the disorder processes of nutrition and restores the normalcy in the system.
General Debility : Its root finds its use in treating general debility. It is taken in 2-gram doses for this purpose.
Arthritis : The root is effective in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It should be taken in 3-gram doses in treating this condition.
Insomnia : The root is also narcotic, inducing deep sleep and hence beneficial in treating insomnia without inducing the effects of sedatives and tranquilizers
Women’s Diseases : The herb helps to cure female sterility. Powder of the roots in 6 gram doses can be taken with milk for 5 to 6 successive nights after menstruation.
Skin Disorders : The leaves of the plant are beneficial in treating several skin disorders. Fomentation of the leaves is good for boils and swollen hands and feet. A paste of the leaves is locally applied to kill lice infesting the body and on carbuncles (painful swelling inside the skin) and syphilitic sores. An ointment prepared by boiling the leaves in fat such as ghee can be applied in case of bedsores and wounds. A paste made of it roots and; leaves is also a useful application over carbuncles, ulcers and swelling.
Brain Tonic : Ashwagandha as; Rasayana and Balya Roots of winter Cherry are highly acclaimed tonic for brain and nervous system in Ayurveda. Regular use of Ashwagandha improves Stress tolerance. It is also to improve the immune functions and acts as an anabolic during convalescence period.
Aphrodisiac : Two to four grams of root with milk or ghee can be taken as an aphrodisiac to enhance libido. The drug is beneficial for the treatment of spermatorrhoea or involuntary ejaculations. Two to four gram of powdered root can also be taken daily with sugar, honey, long pepper and ghee in the treatment of these conditions
Dosage: 1 to 2 capsules with milk or as directed by the physician.
Preparation: Decoctions, ghee, oil, powder (1/4-3 tsp.) herbal wine.