Ashwagandha The Indian Ginseng
Ashwagandha – also known as Indian Winter Cherry has the Botanical name Withania Somnifera -It is a shrub belonging to Solanace family. It is grown in the western India, Gujarat, MP, Punjab and in Himalayas.
Ashwagandha gets its name because its roots have the odor of horse. (Ashwa = horse , gandha = odor). It is called by another name Varaha karni because its leaves resemble pig’s ear.
Ashwagandha has light (laghu) and sticky (snigdha) properties, bitter and sweet taste. On digestion the sweet taste dominates. The main part used is root of this herb.
Medicinal properties of Ashwagandha
The various medicinal properties of ashwagandha is attributed to compounds known as withanolides which are present in it.
Ashwagandha is used as an adaptogen (as it enhances endurance), rejuvenating tonic and sedative. Hence many herbalists refer this herb as Indian ginseng.
Effects on mind: As it balances vata and kapha, it improves memory, counteracts the effects of stress and calms mind. It has an ability to relieve stress. It acts as sedative. Stressed patients with insomnia are benefited by this herb.
This herb can be used in Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss and insomnia.
Effects on general health : It acts as balya and strengthens the body. Generally, ashwagandha stimulates the immune system and strengthens it. It increases body energy level.
Convalescent patients’ gain more energy and can spring back to normal routine quicker when this herb’s preparations are used after illness.
The immediate relapse of disease is prevented on use of Ashwagandha. This supports HIV patients by strengthening their immune system.
Anti-inflammatory properties: It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been successfully used in adjuvant therapy for arthritis. It reduces inflammation of joints and eases movements.
Effects on digestive system: Ashwagandha increases appetite . It normalizes digestion and bowel movements.
Effects on reproductive system: This magic herb increases shukra dhatu, sperm count and sperm motility. It increases libido and known as best Vajikara dravya (aphrodisiac)
It is also used as uterine tonic and to enhance female libido.
Ashwagandha retards ageing process when used as rasayana (rejuvenating preparation).
It reduces hypertension and also acts as diuretic.
Effects on pregnant woman: Ashwagandha is very effective in conditions like habitual abortion, threatened abortion. It stabilizes pregnancy and balances harmones which stabilize pregnancy.
Usefull preparations of Ashwagandha:
1. A paste of ashwagandha leaves when applied on a local inflammation acts as anti inflammatory.
2. The herbal massage oil which includes this herb is useful in many conditions like paralysis, epilepsy, sleeplessness etc.
3. The preparation of Ashwagandha which is processed with ghee, sugar and honey is a very good aphrodisiac and increases semen quantity, sperm count and motility. It is effectively used in Erectile dysfunction, low libido and premature ejaculation.
4. Ashwagandha roots when used regularly helps to improve the conditions like emaciation of children, senile debility, rheumatism, in all cases of general debility, nervous exhaustion, brain-fag, low of memory, loss of muscular energy and spermatorrhoea. It increases body energy and vigor . It helps to rebuild the body system which is worn out due to chronic diseases like syphilis, rheumatism etc. It also replenishes the lowered energy of body due to over-work, mental exertion thus preventing early ageing.
5. Ashwagandha when used regularly , is very useful in emaciated children. It increases body weight and body energy.
6. Regular use of ashwagandha helps to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
7. Fine powder of ashwagandha well mixed with oil is very use full in many skin conditions.
8. Ashwagandha also acts as galactogogue and thickens the milk when given to nursing mothers.
Questions and Answers
All parts of the plant are used in herbal medicine. In Ayurveda, the fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, prior to drying, in order to leach out undesirable constituents. The berries are used as a substitute for rennet, to coagulate milk in cheese making.
Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “horse’s smell”, probably originating from the odor of its root which resembles that of sweaty horse. 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. Some herbalists refer to ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, since it is used in ayurvedic medicine in a way similar to that ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The product called “ashwagandha oil” is a combination of ashwagandha with almond oil and rose water designed to be used as a facial toner, therefore should not be consumed.
pyrazol Alkaloids, steroidal lactones, saponins, withanolides (Bone 1996: 137).
Robin Lane Fox, in his biography of Alexander the Great, claims Withania somnifera was used in wine in ancient times.
According to Anne Van Arsdall, Withania somnifera was called apollinaris and also glofwyrt in The Old English Herbarium, and had a legend that Apollo found it first and gave it to the healer Aesculapius. The main constituents of ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones. Among the various alkaloids, withanine is the main constituent. The other alkaloids are somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, psuedo-withanine, tropine, psuedo-tropine, 3-a-gloyloxytropane, choline, cuscohygrine, isopelletierine, anaferine and anahydrine. Two acyl steryl glucoside viz. Sitoindoside VII and sitoindoside VIII have been isolated from root. The leaves contain steroidal lactones, which are commonly called Withanolides. The withanolides have C28 steroidal nucleus with C9 side chain, having six membered lactone ring.
There are over 20 other species of the Withania genus that occur in the dry parts of India, North Africa, Middle East, and the Mediterranean. These include Withania coagulens and Withania simonii, the roots of which are sometimes used interchangeably with those of Withania somnifera.
Withania somnifera itself has been extensively domesticated from the wild form. In India, at least five different cultivars have been developed for increased root size and adaptation to different climates.
Ashwagandha has been used as a sedative, a diuretic, a rejuvenating tonic, an anti-inflammatory agent, aphrodisiac and an immune booster. It is especially beneficial in stress related disorders such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, general debility, etc. It has also shown impressive results when used as stimulants for the immune system. It is considered as an adaptogen that stimulates the immune system and improves the memory.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha :
– It works as anti-inflammatory substance therefore helps in reducing swellings and restoring blood supply.
– It relieves stress due to presence of vata suppressant properties which helps in nurturing nervous system.
– It helps in promoting calmness and mental satisfaction in mind due to its good penetrating powers, which helps to counter negative adaptogens.
– It has an excellent healing properties therefore has great effects in healing wounds and injuries.
– It helps in relieving from the feel of numbness and burning sensation in extremities.
– It helps in providing nourishment to the brain for its better function and greater ability to work.
– It improves mental ability, helps in gaining retaining power and improves mental concentration.
– Ashwagandha revitalizes body and decreases untimely fatigue caused due weak body strength accumulation of negative energies in the body.
– It works as a rasayan i.e. A substance that helps in preventing early aging and rejuvenates whole body to provide youth.
– It works as powerful immune booster that helps in fighting any foreign invasion in the body.
– It is a powerful aphrodisiac thereby helps in enhancing the sexual powers and long lasting endurance.
– It also helps in increasing sperm count and also the quality of sperms.
– It gives good results in leucorrhoea, as it possesses the properties that suppress kapha.
– It is also useful in upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) and in asthmatic conditions.
It helps in providing proper nourishment to the nervous system thereby making them relaxed and full of enthusiasm.
It helps in reducing the increased blood pressure levels and is helpful in hypertensive condition.
Ashwagandha is helpful in providing extra energy that helps in you making stronger and energetic.
It also works as a powerful aphrodisiac agent that helps in resolving all the male heath related problems also supplies all the nutrients required to enhance your powers
It is also known for its stamina building activities thereby improves your stamina on bed as well as in daily routine.
It is an immune-modulator thereby helps in improving the immunity of the body.
It is helpful in relaxing the body and calming the disturbed mind.
It is very helpful in balancing the vata dosha of the body therefore is helpful in reducing any kind of pain in the body.
It protects body from many autoimmune diseases.
It is taken for:
low sexual drive
High blood pressure or hypertension
Internal as well as external stress
Low immune system
Sometime the benefits of medicines are exaggerated. It will give bnefit but it takes time.
God bless you and Good luck.