Indian ginseng / Wintercherry
Ashwagandha is a perennial shrub growing 2-3 feet tall. The dried mature roots collected in winter, and then it washed and cut into short pieces. It is bitter, pungent and astringent in taste, hot in potency and vata-kapha-ghna i.e. pacifies vata and kapha dosha.
Acharya Charak in his 2nd Chapter (Vajikaran) of Chikitsa-sthan has described prescription of Ashwagandha in 2nd most described Formulation (Vajikaran-ghrita) for Aphrodisiac treatment.
अश्वगन्धा …..कान्तिवीर्यबल प्रदा ।।
Interestingly this popular Ayurvedic herb ‘Ashwagandha’ literally means that ‘the smell of a horse’, which reflects its ability to improve the strength and stamina like a horse while nourishing the reproductive and nervous systems. Also, known as Indian Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng.
Acharya Charak has mentioned it in his Balya (tonic) and Bruhaniya (bulk promoting) group of medicines.
Health Benefits from Ashwagandha
The Adaptogenic role with dual capacity of simultaneously energizing and calming is driving the global Ashwagandha research today. Ashwagandha offers a number of benefits:
- High antioxidant status and rejuvenative nature
- Calms physically and mentally
- Nourishment to the vital body tissues in all age groups
- Promotion of Respiratory health
- Supports sustained energy levels, strength and vitality including physical activity
- Boosts immune system
- Fosters natural sleep
- Supports healthy muscles and joints
- Relaxant effect on intestinal, uterine, bronchial, tracheal and vascular muscles
- Potent inhibitor of uncontrolled formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) thus, protective in certain types of cancers.
Ashwagandha for Rasayan:
By virtue of its adaptogenic properties, Ashwagandha helps to resist physical and mental stress by adapting to the needs.
- If consumed with honey, milk and ghee in winter climate, it helps nourish overall health and well-being.
Ashwagandha for Reproductive Health:
It is beneficial to both female and male reproductive systems as indicated in infertility.
- Recently, it has well documented that Ashwagandha improves semen quality by effectively reducing oxidative stress and improving reproductive hormone levels.
- It has a stimulating effect on ovaries and helps in maintaining reproductive organs.
- It maintains the uterine hormones and helps in improving chances of conception and maintenance of pregnancy.
Ashwagandha for Mental Well-being:
Ashwagandha is helpful in inducing proper sleep and is helpful in conditions having sleeping disturbances or absence of sleep or insomnia.
- It acts as a mood stabilizer, anxiety reliever and anti-depressant. This property is due to the presence of Glyco-withanoloids.
Ashwagandha for Strength Building:
- Ashwagandha promotes muscle strength & reduces muscle damage and fat deposition.
- It improves energy levels and mitochondrial (the main power house of cells) health.1
- Ashwagandha is useful as a growth promoter and hematinic in growing children.
Ashwagandha for Joint Health:
- Withaferin A, a major bioactive steroidal component of the plant possess anti-inflammatory properties, so it is helpful in various conditions driven by inflammation.
- The analgesic activity of Ashwagandha in-turn help to relieve pain with inflammation in various disorders related to the joints such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Additionally its antioxidant and rejuvenating properties further alleviate such conditions.
How to Use Ashwagandha:
- Ashwagandha Kwath (decoction) fortified with ghee has been advised to be administered in menstrual phase to achieve conception.
- For irregular sleep, its powder may be consumed along with honey and sugar.
- The paste (Kalka) formed when roots are crushed with water, is applied to reduce joint inflammations and cysts.
Sandu Formulations containing Ashwagandha:
Stresan: is a proprietary Ayurvedic formulation that is a non-addictive, natural mood stabilizer as well anxiety reliever.
Sandu Ashwagandharishta: is an Ayurvedic hydro-alcoholic formulation for strengthening reproductive system and has a calming effect on the mind. It helps to nourish and revitalize the whole body.
Sandu Makarprash: is a proprietary Ayurvedic formulation that can be consumed by the whole family to build immunity and complete health.
Sandu Saraswatarishta: is an Ayurvedic hydro-alcoholic formulation for complete neuro-muscular health. It possesses significant anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties. It promotes longevity, strength, cognitive and recollection power. It is effective in post-menopausal syndrome. In addition, it is beneficial in all age groups viz. children, young, elderly.
Vimfix: is a proprietary Ayurvedic formulation that helps to improve your vigor and vitality.
Shishuvin: is a proprietary Ayurvedic formulation that acts as a potent and complete health tonic for your healthy development of your children.
Elegance Oil: is a proprietary Ayurvedic formula for beautiful skin. It helps in nourishment and development of infant, especially premature and underweight new born; development, nourishment and toning of muscles and ligaments. It improves circulation, metabolism and immunity.
- Wankhede, Sachin, et al. “Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 12.1 (2015): 1-11.
- Bhattacharya, S. K., and A. V. Muruganandam. “Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 75.3 (2003): 547-555.
- 101. Matsuda H, Murakami T, Kishi A, Yoshikawa M. Structures of withanosides I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII, new withanolide glycosides, from the roots of Indian Withania somnifera dunal and inhibitory activity for tachyphylaxis to clonidine in isolated guinea–pig ileum. Bioorg Med Chem. 2001;9:1499–1507.
- Subbaraju GV, Vanisree M, Rao CV, Sivaramakrishna C, Sridhar P, Jayaprakasam B, et al. Ashwagandhanolide, a bioactive dimeric thiowithanolide isolated from the roots of Withania somnifera. J Nat Prod. 2006;69:1790–1792.
- Ambiye, Vijay R., et al. “Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of the root extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in oligospermic males: a pilot study.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
- Choudhary, Dnyanraj, Sauvik Bhattacharyya, and Sekhar Bose. “Efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) root extract in improving memory and cognitive functions.” Journal of dietary supplements 14.6 (2017): 599-612.
- Maheswari R, Manisha P. Withania Somnifera L: Root extract ameliorates toxin induced cytotoxicity. Int J Pharma Sci Res. 2015;6:848–855.
Singh G, Sharma PK, Dudhe R, Singh S. Biological activities of Withania somnifera. Ann Bio Res. 2010;1:56–63.