What Is Ashwagandha?

What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha – Withania Somnifera

Bitter and astringent, a sedative and a stimulant, light and oily, ashwagandha is considered as an excellent tonic to correct impotence, as a stress-free herb and as a great aphrodisiac.

According to Indian beliefs, Ashwagandha is one of the main herbs for rejuvenating the body. Even though considered to be the primary tonic for men, women can also safely consume this herb.

Ashwagandha or winter cherry is a herb that has been used for 4000 years in Ayurvedic medicine. The name Ashwagandha means ‘horse-like smell.’ Ashwagandha is a branching shrub that can grow between 30 and 150 cm. The flowers are green or yellow, giving red fruits when mature.

Latin name: Withania somniferum (family Solanaceae)
Best taken as tablet and tincture
Often used with: Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Parts used: primarily root and fruit, but also leaves and bark.
Key actions: tonic, sedative, adaptogen, anti-inflammatory.

Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen; it has immunosuppressive and immunotonic abilities, it modulates stress responses and shows great results in the central nervous system (increases memory, and learning capabilities).

The ashwagandha herb grows in South Asian regions of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, it bears yellow flowers and red fruits and grows up to a height of 170cm.

Ashwagandha benefits

The Ashwagandha is known to have anti-bacterial properties, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties, and antibiotic properties. It contains beneficial compounds such as alkaloids, glycosides, and withanolides. The withanolides molecules are steroidal and are very similar to the active constituents of Asian ginseng known as ginsenosides. That is why this herb is also called Indian Ginseng.

It is believed that tea made of this herb calms the nerves and may aid in clearing the mind, improving memory and it slows down aging.

Ashwagandha has a high nourishing and protective effect on the nervous system. It has been used to maintain vital energy, especially increasing libido in both men and women. When it comes to stress, ashwagandha is good for both physical stress and mental stress.

In a study, men and women were given root powder of W. somnifera for three months. Results showed a decrease in stress, improved the level of anti-oxidants and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of individuals. The treatment led to pregnancy in the partners of 14% of the patients.

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Immune system problems (harmonizes and strengthens weakened immune function)
  • Insomnia (insomnia herbs)
  • Memory loss (good for people with brain fog condition)
  • Mental clarity – has a positive effect on the central nervous system (good for people with fibromyalgia, useful with conditions such as nervousness, chronic weakness and to treat anxiety, ideal for calming)
  • Nerve exhaustion, overwork
  • Sexual improvement, infertility, builds semen (Ashwagandha is the most famous herb for men when it comes to rejuvenation of the male reproductive organs, it is used for its aphrodisiac qualities)
  • Treats infertility and impotence
  • Stress
  • Women’s health – regenerates hormones
  • Used in the prevention of necrosis of liver tissue
  • The intestinal anti-inflammatory actions

Ashwagandha can be bought as tea, as an extract, as a tincture, and in capsule form. The good news is that according to some tests it has been shown that ashwagandha can be safe for long-term consumption.

Please note: Even though Ashwagandha is considered to be equivalent to Indian Ginseng, it has sedative properties (unlike ginseng).