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Herb Reference Guide

Ashwagandha

History

This plant is a member of the Solanaceae family and has over 4,000 years of traditional use in its native India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is a Medharasayan which is the Ayurvedic category of foods and nutrients that promote learning and memory retrieval. It is sometimes referred to as "Indian Ginseng" as it is traditionally used in conditions of debility, emaciation, impotence and premature aging. It is also sometimes referred to as Winter Cherry. The translation of Ashwagandha is roughly, "the smell and strength of a horse", alluding to its aphrodisiac properties. This plant is a Tonic and an Adaptogen. In the Middle East it is used to help promote normal sleep patterns and encourage a healthy inflammatory response.

Function

Adaptogens support the ability of an organism to cope with stress and thereby conserve energy. Ashwagandha rejuvenates and tonifies the entire system, especially the endocrine and immune systems.

Uses of Ashwagandha

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

The root and leaf contain the highest amount of Steroidal compounds which include the lactones Withaferin A, and carbon-27-glycowithanolides, known collectively as Withanolides. It also contains a fair amount of alkaloids; tropine, pseudotropine isopelletrine, and anaferine, and saponins.

Parts Used

  • Root

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Altern. Med. Rev. 2000 Aug; 5(4): 334-46 Mishra LC, Singh BB, Dagennais S. Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review.