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Ashwagandha Uses and Benefits

Name: ASVAGANDHA or Ashwagandha
Botanical name: Withania somnifera (Linn.) Dunal.
Family: Solanaceae

Ashvagandha in Sanskrit means “smelling like a horse”, probably originating from the odor of its fresh root which resembles that of a sweaty horse. Ashvagandha is a well known anti-stress herb. The species name somnifera means "sleep-bearing" in Latin, indicating it was considered a sedative, but it has been also used for sexual vitality and as an adaptogen. It is also popularly known as Indian Ginseng.

SANSKRIT SYNONYMS

Asvagandha, Varahakarni,Vajigandha, Varahika, Varahakarni

AYURVEDIC PROPERTIES

Rasa    : Kashaya, Tikta  (bitter, pungent, and sweet taste)
Guna   : Laghu, Snigda (light and unctuous)
Virya   : Ushna (Hot in active principle)

PLANT NAME IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

English     :     Winter cherry
Hindi        :     Asgandh, Punir
Malayalam    :     Amukkuram
Telugu: Aswagandha
Tamil:  Ammukuram
Other name
Achuvagandi
Amkulang-kalang
Amukkira-kilzhangu
Amukran-kizhangu
Asundha
Hirre-gadday
Hirimaddina-gadday
Peneeroo-gadda
Sogade-beru
Pevette
Ajagandha
Samm Al Ferakh
Kanaje Hindi

Useful part: Root and Leaves.  Root is used mostly as powder and in decoction.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

Plant pacifies vitiated vata, nerve weakness, impotency, oligospermia and arthritis. The roots are aphrodisiac and stimulant, widely used in many ayurvedic formulae. Plant has immuno-stimulant action.  A unique herb with anti-stress adaptogenic action that leads to better physical fitness and helps cope with life's daily stress.

It increases physiological endurance and protects against effects of stress.
It is especially beneficial in stress related disorders such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, and premature aging.

Ashwagandha is used with different adjuvants to gain particular properties independently, such as with milk.  According to many researches, it was a statistically significant overall increase in the level of white blood cell activation. This is important, since these cells play a critical role in the body’s response to the flu, the mumps or tumors. So, Milk or warm water or Fruit Juice can be used as adjuvant while using the powdered form of Ashwagandha.

These actions are found in ancient history itself such as it is used for controlling Tremors, Inflammation, Infectious Diseases, Longevity, Sexual Enhancing etc.

The active ingredients in Ashwagandha are alkaloids and withanoloids.
Withanoloids consist of steroidal molecules which act to fight inflammation.  It is believed that it it helps to increase the production of bone marrow, semen, and inhibits the aging process.

In biochemistry studies it has been found that there many compounds which are helpful for physiological functioning. Those are  Alkaloids, Somniferin (hypnotic activity), Steroidal Lactones such as Withanolides, Withanoferins, Saponins, Iron, resin, fat, coloring matters, a reducing sugar, phytosterol, Ipuranol and a mixture of saturated and unsaturated acids.

DOSAGE:

Always one should note that safer dosage is always ideal to maintain healthy life style.

Root powder:  2-5 gm. or half teaspoon.
Leaves powder:  2-5 gm. or half teaspoon.
Extract of Root which are available in the form of capsules: 250-500 mg.


There are some medicine preparations like Ashwagandha lehyam which is used 5 gm twice daily, and Ashwagandharishtam which is in liquid form, dosage is 30 ml twice daily.

Other uses

The cardiac protective action is exerted by helping in ischemic and reperfusion injury. It supports focal ischemia as well. Studies shows it is having  hypoglycemic, diuretic and cholesterol lowering activity. It supports well in diabetes. Diabetes induced oxidative damage in brain and diabetes induced cataract respond well to this ashwagandha. The combination of ashwagandha & aloe vera supports diabetes induced oxidative damage in brain.