Published On: Mon, Dec 10th, 2012

Ashwagandha : Properties, Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses

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Posted under Category : Health Fundas

Ashwagandha shrub with orange-red berries

Morphology of Ashwagandha:

Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “horse’s smell” .The biological name of Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera that belongs to the Solanaceae family.

The trade name of the Withania somnifera is “Nagauri asgandha“.

Ashwagandha is a small under shrub that grows to a height of about 1.5 meters. The stems and branches of this shrub are covered with minute star shaped hairs.

The flowers of Ashwagandha are pale green in colour. The ripe fruit of Ashwagandha is orange-red in colour and has milk coagulating property. Ashwagandha has long, brown, tuberous roots that are used in Ayurvedic medicine. The odour of the roof smells like sweaty horse.

Distribution and Cultivation of Ashwagandha:

Withania somnifera is cultivated throughout India. It is mostly cultivated in drier regions like Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Sindh. Ashwagandha is also cultivated in Nepal.

Synonyms of Ashwagandha:

  • Hindi – Asgandh
  • Sanskrit – Ashwagandha
  • English – Winter Cherry
  • Gujarati – Asoda
  • Bengali – Aaskanda
  • Kannada – Hirimaddina gadde
  • Marathi – Aaskandha
  • Malayalam – Ammukivann

 Properties of Ashwagandha:

  • Ashwagandha acts as a tonic
  • Ashwagandha acts as an alterant
  • Ashwagandha has nutritive value
  • Ashwagandha acts as an aphrodisiac
  • Ashwagandha acts as a nervine sedative

Phytochemicals present in Ashwagandha:

The phytochemicals that are present in the withania somnifera are , amino acids, sterols and neutral compounds. Alkaloids like withanine and somniferine are present in Ashwagandha.

Forms of use:

Ashwagandha is used in the form of powder, decoction, paste of leaves and root.

Health Benefits and Medicinal uses of Ashwagandha:

  • Withania somnifera gives fresh and vigour in a system that has been weakened due to constitutional diseases like syphilis.
  • Ashwagandha provides fresh energy to the patients who are undergoing treatment for rheumatic .
  • Ashwagandha can also be used for treating impotence and seminal debility. For this purpose, the powdered root of withania is mixed with equal parts of ghee and honey and taken.
  • Ashwagandha is used as a nutrient. It restores health in pregnant women and old people. For them the decoction of root is recommended.
  • For the treatment of glandular swelling, the green root is made to paste with hot water and the paste is applied on affected areas.
  • Withania is also useful for the sight of the person, for this take a mixture of ashwagandha powder, powder and juice of emblica myrobalans.
  • Ashwagandha removes the functional obstruction in the body and promotes urination.
  • The roots and leaves of the Withania somnifera have antibiotic and anti-bacterial activities.
  • The berries of Ashwagandha can be used to coagulate milk in cheese-making instead of rennet.

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