Ashwagandha is one of the main herbs for promoting Ojas and rejuvenating the body. It is a well-known semen promoter and it treats impotency and infertility. It increases physical endurance and improves sexual function. It is a rejuvenating general tonic, which stimulates the immune system. Increases physical endurance & promotes Ojas. It is a part of many general tonics and preparations, such as Chyavana Prash.
Sanskrit : Ashwagandha, Ajagandha
English : Winter cherry, Indian ginseng
Latin name : Withania somnifera
Family : Solanaceae
Ashwagandha is a Rasayana (rejuvenator) herb which helps in promoting ojas. It is a well known stress alleviator herb. It increases physical endurance and helps in regeneration of hormonal system .Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “horse’s smell” which resembles the smell of sweaty horse.The species name somnifera means “sleep inducing ” in Latin, indicating to its sedating properties.
Morphology: A dense, hairy erect grayish tomentose herb or undershrub. The roots are stout, long tuberous, fleshy, whitish brown and aromatic. The leaves are simple, alternate or sub-opposite, round-oval shaped. The flowers are greenish-yellow and found in few flowered clusters in axils. The fruit is a round orange-red berry, enclosed in green enlarged calyx. The fruit resembles that of red cherries. The seeds are many, yellow kidney shaped and discoid.
Ayurvedic Pharmacodynamic properties:
Rasa : Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent), Madhura (Sweet)
Guna : Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Oily)
Virya : Ushna (Hot)
Vipaka: Madhura (Sweet)
Doshakarma : Kapha-Vatashamak (Alleviates K and V Dosha)
Chemical composition: The main constituents of Ashwagandha are Alkaloids, Steroidal lactones, Within alkaloids. Withanine is the main alkaloid. Other constituents are amino acids, choline, beta-sitosterol, chlorogenic acid, scopoletin, withaferin etc.
Useful parts: Roots and leaves
Medicinal properties : It has anti-stress, adaptogenic, aphrodisiac, sedative, diuretic, antispasmodic, germicidal, anti-inflammatory action.
- It is a nervine tonic.
- It enhances immunity and endurance.
- It is a natural nutrient for insomnia
- It is good hypnotic in Alcoholism.
- It is bitter in taste and hot in potency so it alleviates vata and kapha.
- It stimulates thyroid activity.
- Enhances anti-peroxidation of liver.
Ashwagandha is a revitalizing herb that maintains proper nourishment of tissues, particularly muscle and bones.
- It increases resistance to stress and mainly beneficial in stress related disorders such as arthritis, hypertension, tremors, diabetes, general debility and inflammation. It increases body’s resistance towards adverse influence.
- It restores the neurotransmitters and hence useful in various mental disorders.
- It is also used for treating memory loss.
- It support proper function of adrenals and reproductive system.
- As it is powerful aphrodisiac, it is also used for sexual vitality and as an adaptogen.
- It is blood tonifier, that improves circulation and absorption of nutrients from the cells.
- Peroxidation is toxic to the tissues, hence, it is protective to liver.
Important formulations: Ashwagandha Churna
Precaution : Large dose is Abortifacient
Use with caution in patients suffering from hypertension.
Should not be taken with sedative and anti-anxiety drugs on personal basis.
Increasing Breast Milk: Its Ksheerapaka is very effective in increasing breast milk in nursing mothers. The ksheerpaka is prepared with Vidarikanda and Madhuyashti in the proportion of 3:2:1.
In Impotency & Infertility: It is used in males to increase semen and sexual potency. In females, it is used to reduce white discharge and infertility. The root powder should be taken in the dose of 3-5gm daily with milk.
As rejuvenating and anti-aging: Daily intake of root powder of Ashwagandha provides Rasayana effects in the body and prevents premature aging.
These clinical studies show that Ashwagandha has antibacterial, antitumor, anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties. A separate study also showed immunomodulatory (harmonizes immune function) effects, including a positive effect on the Central Nervous System. These tests show strong anti-stress actions, increased memory & learning capabilities.
The strong anti stress properties include both mental and physical stress and exhaustion. Furthermore, this test indicates the low order of toxicity of the plant, supporting the Ayurvedic view that it is safe for long-term consumption. It has also exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activities in a raw or unprocessed state and it has antibiotic effects. Many studies have documented the profound antitumor action of Ashwagandha, suggesting possible anticancer effects. In many laboratory studies Ashwagandha has modulated and stimulated immune function.
One study showed a prolonged hypotensive (stabalizes low blood pressure), bradycardiac (regulating heartbeat), and respiratory stimulating action. In addition the anti-arthiritic effects, the prevention of necrosis of liver tissue, the rejuvenation of these liver tissues (which can reduce death probability) and the intestinal anti-inflammatory actions of Ashwagandha clearly show why Ayurveda has such a high opinion of this herb as a general tonic.