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Withania somnifera     

  Latin Name Withania somnifera   
English Name Winter Cherry; Ashwagandha
Hindi Name Ashwagandha
Part Used Root

The name Ashwagandha comes from the peculiar odor of this herb, smell similar to a sweaty horse and because of its reputation for increasing energy, strength, and stamina like that of a horse.

1Its root is beneficial to people who do physical and mental labor or exercise a lot. Withanolides are the most important bio-active constituents present in roots of Ashwagandha. By virtue of these uses it is often referred to as "Indian Ginseng".

2Ashwagandha is classified as tranquilizer, adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory, the roots are used as excellent brain and nervine tonic which tones up shattered nerves and sharpenes dull memory and also plays a significant role in diuretic, aphrodisiac, immunomodulatory and antistress activity. It is an important herb used in Ayurveda to combat stress and described as Medhya Rasayana (beneficial to the brain). 3, 4 Recent researches have observed that Ashwagandha acts as an antistress and adaptogenic herb. Ashwagandha showed Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity, use as a mood stabilizer. 5Experimentally it is proved that Withania somnifera has a direct spermatogenic influence on the seminiferous tubules of immature rats presumably by exerting a testosterone-like effect.

6Withania somnifera (WS) root extract (ethanolic), which contains oestrogen-like withanolides for anti-osteoporotic activity. 7Withania somnifera extract, which has been reported to have potent anti-oxidant, anti-peroxidative and free radical quenching properties in various diseased conditions. The study demonstrates that the extract of Withania somnifera may be helpful in protecting the neuronal injury in Parkinson's disease.



1. The Wealth of India, Raw Materials, Vol. 10, 581-585, 2005
2. The Wealth of India, First Supplement Series (Raw Materials) Vol. 5: R-Z, page 362-364, 2004
3. PMID: 10720789, J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Apr; 70(1):57-63.
4. PMID: 11194174, Phytomedicine. 2000 Dec; 7(6):463-9.
5. PMID: 11282435, J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Apr;75(1):1-4.
6. PMID: 16597369, J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006 Apr;58(4):513-9.
7. PMID: 15901053, Hum Exp Toxicol. 2005 Mar;24(3):137-47.

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