Biological Name: Withania Somnifera, Physalis flexuosa
Other Names: Ashwagandha, winter cherry, Ashgandh, Achuvagandi, Amikkira-gadday, Amkulang-kalang, Amukkira-kilzhangu, Amukran-kizhangu, Asagandha, Asana, Asgandh, Asundha, Asvagandhi, Fatarfoda, Hirimaddina-gadday, Hirre- gadday, Penneroo-gadda, Pevette, Sogade-beru
This herb is used for 4000 years plus in India. It is a very important herb in ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine. It is used for tumors, inflammation (including arthritis), and a wide range of infectious diseases. The shoots and seeds are also used as food and to thicken milk in India.
Traditional uses of ashwagandha among tribal peoples in Africa include fevers and inflammatory conditions. Ashwagandha is frequently a constituent of Ayurvedic formulas, including a relatively common one known as shilajit.
A native of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Aswagandha is an important herb used in Ayurveda. The name comes from the peculiar odor of this herb, smell akin to that of a sweaty horse.
Aswagandha is an erect branched shrub with a greenish or lurid yellow flowers. Aswagandha in India is akin to ginseng in other parts of the orient. Both are touted for their longevity enhancing and sexually stimulating properties.
Parts Used: Root
alkaloids and withanoloids
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. (Some people do call ashwagandha as “Indian ginseng”.)
Generally, ashwagandha stimulates the immune system. It has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory. Taken together, these actions support the traditional reputation of ashwagandha as a tonic or adaptogen. It counteracts the effects of stress and generally promote wellness.
Action: alterative, aphrodisiac, astringent, nervine, rejuvenative, sedative, tonic
Seeds possess the property of coagulating milk, but they also contain poisonous properties. Leaves and root are narcotic. Root is diuretic and deobstruent, tonic, alterative and aphrodisiac.
Known as Indian ginseng, this herb builds marrow and semen, and inhibits aging. It is one of the best herbs for the mind (clarity, nurturing).
cancer- for general strength during and after chemotherapy
HIV support, AIDS
immune system problems
mental function, clarity
muscle energy loss
nerve exhaustion, overwork, fatigue
rheumatism, rheumatic swellings
sexual debility, infertility, builds semen
women’s health – stabilizes fetus, regenerates hormones
Action & Uses in Ayurveda & Siddha:
Tikta, kashaya rasam ushna veeryam, katu vipakam, kapha vata haram.
Indications: Vranam, visham, aphrodisiac, strength giving, complexion improved, in kasam, swasam, soola, pandu, white leprosy, pruritis, karappan, fatigue
Action & Uses in Unani:
cough, asthma, uterine diseases, expels balgham and souda, aphrodisiac, puerperal tonic.
Here are some applications of this herb from western herbals:
Mental Problems Improved:
This is perhaps one of the most promising applications of this herb. In a reported study, this herb was given to 30 mental patients suffering from anxiety neurosis in doses of 40 ml/day. (in two equally divided doses.) for one month. At the end of the month, most of the anxiety disorders, panic attacks and similar mood phobias, had disappeared. In trials by American psychiatrists, this herb had been found useful for the treatment of manic depression, alcoholic paranoia, and schizophrenia. Up to 4 capsules were given daily, in between meals, for 45-60 days with very good results. Learning enhancement and memory retention had improved substantially when aswagandha (3 capsules), gotu kola (2 capsules), and ginkgo biloba (2 capsules) were taken regularly on a daily basis.
Anti-Tumor, Anti-Inflammatory Effects Noticed:
Studies with rats and human volunteers have shown that ashwagandha is helpful in putting cancer tumors into regression (used as an alcoholic root extract) and in reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. The plant’s high steroid content was found to be more potent than hydrocortisone in animal and human arthritis. (Use 3000 to 6000 mg of the root powder or 500 mg 3 times daily of the alcoholic extract.)
Root and bitter leaves are used as a hypnotic in alcoholism and emphysematous dyspnoea.
Root is used in doses of about 30 grains in consumption, emaciation of children, senile debility, rheumatism, in all cases of general debility, nervous exhaustion, brain-fag, low of memory, loss of muscular energy and spermator rhoea. It infuses fresh energy and vigor in a system worn out owing to any constitutional disease like syphilis, rheumatic fever etc., or from over-work and thus prevents premature decay.
Powder of the root mixed with ghee and honey in equal parts is prescribed for impotence or seminal debility. Take it in the evening, with milk.
Leaves are used as an anthelmintic and as an application to carbuncles.
Fruits or seeds are used as diuretic, and to coagulate milk.
Root is used as an application in obstinate ulcers and rheumatic swellings.
Specific Ayurvedic Remedies:
As nutrient and health restorative
A decoction of ashwagandha root is useful as nutrient and health restorative to the pregnant and old people. You can also take its powder with milk as an alternative.
Ashwagandha Ghrita promotes the nutrition and strength of children. For improving the nutrition of weak children, give this for a fortnight
For curing the sterility of women, Ayurveda practitioners often prescribe a boiled down decoction of ashwagandha, milk and ghee. Take this for a few days, soon after the menstrual period.
For spermatorrhoea, loss of strength etc., a powder consisting of Ashwagandha, sugar, ghee, honey and long pepper is often given daily, with milk and rice diet.
Ashwagandha root taken with milk or clarified butter acts as an aphrodisiac and restorative to old men. Ashwagandha – Vidari Combination is a herbal remedy for this condition.
Ashwagandha Herbal Invigorator is useful for consumption, seminal debility, and to help the nutrition of weak children.
For lumbago, pains
The powder of Ashwagandha and sugarcandy, in ghee is often prescribed for lumbago, pains in the loins or small of the back.
Fresh green root of Ashwagandha reduced to paste with cow’s urine or with water heated applied to the parts affected is useful for scrofulous and other glandular swellings.
Narayana Taila, an Ayurvedic herbal remedy containing Ashwagandha, is useful for consumption, emaciation of children and rheumatism and as an enema in dysentery and anal fistulae.
A ghrita prepared with a decoction and paste of ashwagandha root is used internally and an oil prepared with a decoction of the root and a number of aromatic substances in the form of a paste is used externally for rheumatism.
For skin diseases:
Apply Ashwagandha powder well mixed with oil to the skin.
For improving eyesight:
Take a mixture of Ashwagandha powder, liquorice powder and juice of emblic myrobalans.
Apply drops into the nose in deafness, and as an inunction over the body in hemiplegia, tetanus, rheumatism, and lumbago.
Use a decoction of the roots of Ashwagandha, Batatas paniculata and liquorice, with cow’s milk as a gatactagogue.
Preparation: Decoctions, ghee, oil, powder (1/4-3 tsp.) herbal wine
For cancer and other serious illness, use one or more ounces daily.
Some experts recommend 1–2 grams of the whole herb, taken each day in capsule or tea form.
To prepare a tea, ashwagandha roots are boiled for 15 minutes and cooled; 3 cups (750 ml) should be drunk daily. Tincture or fluid extracts can be used in the amount of 2–4 ml three times per day.
Do not take if congested. No significant side effects have been reported with ashwagandha.
The herb has been used safely by children in India. Its safety during pregnancy and lactation are unknown.
Consult a physician before using this herb for serious illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. No proof of its effectiveness is known for these uses at this time.