Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a widely used plant in Ayurvedic medicine. This little shrub is a member of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. It has the potential to be a nerve-soothing tonic and a treatment for several different conditions. Indian ginseng, or ashwagandha, is also known as the Indian winter cherry. 

In Ayurveda, the rasayana (tonic) virtue of ashwagandha is well recognized. Rasayana, also known as the “Elixir of Youth,” is a herbal or metallic concoction that promotes vitality, well-being, and an overall sense of youth.

Ashwagandha and Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, Withania somnifera, also known as ashwagandha, has been used for thousands of years as a rasayana, which means “rejuvenating.” Adaptogens are well-known for their ability to help the body deal with both physical and mental stress in healthy ways. 

Ashwagandha is a great herb that helps improve overall health and well-being by giving deep support to many tissues and body systems, like the immune system, the reproductive system, a healthy thyroid, and many more.

Ashwagandha roots and leaves

Is There Something in the Name

Ashwagandha, a popular Ayurvedic herb, gets its name from the Sanskrit phrase for “the smell of a horse” (ashwa for “horse” and “gandha” for “smell”), which alludes to the herb’s capacity to give its users the strength and stamina of a horse while also benefiting the reproductive and nervous systems of both sexes.

The Latin suffix somnifera, part of the herb’s botanical name reflects the “sleep-inducing” herb’s sedative and restorative effects, which help us feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep.

Ashwagandha is known by a few other names as well. Its little, red berry fruit resembles a tiny cherry tomato, hence the common name “winter cherry.”

Tomates and tomatoes share a genus with ashwagandha, the Solanaceae, or the nightshade family. Even though it is not in the ginseng family, it is sometimes called “Indian ginseng.” This is likely because of the plant’s reputation for giving people more energy.

The dry regions of South Asia, Africa, and Central Asia are where ashwagandha is grown. Several portions of the ashwagandha plant have yielded more than 50 distinct chemical components.

The Ashwagandha Plant and Its Qualities

Although ashwagandha plants are native to warmer regions like India, northern Africa, and the Middle East, they can now be grown anywhere with a temperate climate, including the United States. In fact, it worked very well on our own demonstration farm in Southern Oregon.

The adaptogenic properties of Ashwagandha are shown by the plant’s ability to help the body deal with stress and its ability to grow in dry, poor-quality soil. Most plants would die here because of all the stress, but Ashwagandha does well.

This evergreen shrub can grow up to three feet tall and is covered in soft, silvery hairs all over. The oval leaves range in length from two to six inches, and the tiny star-shaped blooms in shades of yellow and green can reach a half-inch in diameter. The fruit of the ashwagandha plant is kept from going bad by a papery calyx.

The shrub’s leaves and berries can be used as medicine, but most of the benefits we use at Banyan come from its strong, fleshy roots.

The Nutrient values of Ashwagandha

100 grams of ashwagandha have the following nutrients:

250 g of Calorie Content

25 grams of fiber; 

75 grams of carbohydrates

A few of ashwagandha’s possible effects include:

  • There’s a chance it could ease discomfort and make it easier to fall asleep.
  • Possible diuretic effect (expelling urine from the body)
  • There’s a chance it could have astringent properties (constricting body tissues)
  • Possible worm killer (acting against parasitic worms)
  • Thermogenic (heat-producing) effects are possible.
  • The possibility of anti-inflammatory (edema-reducing) properties is being researched.
  • It could be used as a fever reducer (reducing fever)
  • It has been suggested that it has detoxifying properties.
  • The heart could benefit from it.
  • Possible sedative effects (inducing sleep)
  • Possible thyro protective effect (protecting the thyroid gland)
  • It’s possible that it has hypoglycemic (blood sugar-lowering) effects.

The three possible applications of ashwagandha are as follows:

What does science say

Investigations have been done to find out if there are benefits to the immune system, such as if the immune system could be helped while getting radiation or chemotherapy.

When mixed with licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), safed musli (Chlorophytum borivillanum), and sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum), ashwagandha’s ability to fight free radicals and lower cholesterol is amplified.

Research into its stress-relieving properties has shown that it might be a helpful resource for people who are feeling overwhelmed by pressure and worry.

The results of a study with male participants show that ashwagandha can improve physical performance and vitality.

There is evidence that ashwagandha helps with building and maintaining muscle mass, as well as repairing muscle tissue after exercise.

Ashwagandha’s research is available on PubMed.

Some of the ashwagandha’s possible health benefits for humans 

Ashwagandha may be like the drug lorazepam in that it relieves anxiety. This suggests that it could be used to treat anxiety and depression. A recent study on animals shows that ashwagandha and lorazepam may be able to help reduce anxiety when used together.

Along with other mood-lifting herbs, ashwagandha may have this effect as well. Indications like this suggest that ashwagandha may be useful in treating depression and anxiety.  

People may agree with and write about Ashwagandha’s anti-arthritic properties, which suggest that it could be used to treat arthritis. Ashwagandha’s calming effect on the neurological system could make it useful for pain management. 

Functional Impairment

Patients were given an ashwagandha-based formula in a clinical trial. This herb has shown promising results in reducing pain and functional impairment. Arthritis, on the other hand, is a serious illness that needs to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Ashwagandha help in cognitive functions
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Helps mental processing better

Ashwagandha may be helpful for mental function (mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge and understanding)

Boosts cognitive abilities

In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is called a medhya rasayana, which is a type of rasayana that is very popular. The ability to think or reason is referred to as medhya. There’s some evidence that ashwagandha can boost cognitive abilities.

People of all ages, including young people with memory problems and older people, have reported that ashwagandha helps them think better. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support these assertions. In light of this, further study is necessary.

Stress relief

Mental stress has negative effects on the cardiovascular system. The antioxidant defense mechanism in the body is vulnerable to stress, too. It’s possible that ashwagandha can aid the body in handling stress. Mental and physical well-being may also benefit from this. Still, more study is needed to verify these assertions.

As An Analgesic

Ashwagandha may be useful as an analgesic, as evidenced by a study indicating that, compared to a placebo, treatment with an aqueous extract of ashwagandha increased the pain threshold (the point beyond which a trigger induces pain). However, further study is needed before these may be declared established facts.

Induces normal sleep

Also, ashwagandha may be helpful for people who have trouble sleeping, and it may even help people fall asleep. The quality and duration of sleep may be enhanced, and one may fall asleep more quickly. 

Even though studies have shown that ashwagandha may help with a number of health problems, more research is needed to find out the full range of its health benefits.

How Should You Use Ashwagandha?

  • Ashwagandha comes in several key forms, the most notable of which are:
  • Asvagandhadyarishta (syrup form) (syrup form)
  • A powdered svagandhadi léha

The Balasvagandha Lakshadi Taila (Oil Form)

Tea, tablets, candy, and tinctures are other forms it comes in. From root to blossom, the plant Ashwagandha is used medicinally.

Specifications on dosage

Disclaimer About Medical Treatment

Root extract dosages of 250–600 mg/day have been used in ashwagandha studies. The standard recommended daily dosage is 600 milligrams (mg), with the first dose taken in the morning with breakfast and the second dose given in the evening.

There is evidence to show that a daily dose of 600 mg is more effective than lesser doses in promoting restful sleep.

Ashwagandha may have effects on neurotransmission that are similar to those of drugs, and it’s not clear if its effectiveness goes down over time if it’s used every day.  More research is needed to confirm the efficacy; higher doses than 600 mg/day are more beneficial.

It may also have effects on neurotransmission that are similar to those of drugs, and it’s not clear if its effectiveness goes down over time if it’s used every day. If taking ashwagandha daily or on breaks increases or decreases its efficacy, this is also uncertain.

Before beginning to take any kind of herbal supplement, you should talk to a doctor. Do not stop taking conventional medicine or switch to an ayurvedic or herbal treatment without first discussing the matter with your doctor.

The long-term safety of using Ashwagandha has not been thoroughly researched, so there may be some unwanted effects. However, the most common ashwagandha side effects are:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomachache and vomiting
  • These are the rarer adverse reactions:
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo (dizziness) (dizziness)
  • Nasal congestion and hacking cough
  • Rashes
  • Negative effects on one’s vision
  • A parched feeling in the mouth
  • Gaining weight
  • Hallucinations

Ashwagandha may be potentially harmful to the liver. Please contact your doctor if you develop any adverse reactions, especially if you develop itchy skin or jaundice, which are both signs of liver damage. Hence, before using ashwagandha, please talk to an Ayurvedic doctor. Your specific health requirements will be taken into account as they formulate the prescription.

Warnings About Ashwagandha:

There are medical situations in which ashwagandha should be avoided.

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Autoimmune illnesses.
  • Current or prospective surgical procedure
  • Diseases of the thyroid

Please do not diagnose or treat yourself, or stop taking any medication, without first consulting your doctor. Talk to a doctor, please.

When using ashwagandha, you should be careful because it might react badly with the following drugs:

Ashwagandha could boost the effects of barbiturates, which are a class of drugs that make you sleepy or calm down. Due to this, the combo needs to be taken with caution.

Ashwagandha roots and powder

You shouldn’t combine ashwagandha with alcohol consumption.

Health supplements that contain sedatives should not be combined with ashwagandha.

It’s important to check with your doctor before taking ashwagandha to make sure it won’t interact negatively with any other drugs you take.


This information is for educational purposes only, and no medical advice should be inferred from it. Before changing your diet or adding supplements, please talk to your doctor.

The author’s views are his or her own. The facts and opinions in the article have been taken from various articles and commentaries available in the online media and Eastside Writers does not take any responsibility or obligation for them.

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