Ashwagandha- Benefits of Withania somnifera

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is a very well known Indian herb which is used as Rasayana,  and Vajikarana , and stress reducer. It’s popularity got rejuvenated in recent years, due recognition of its health benefits by western world.

In my life as Ayurveda student , whenever there was a mention of Ashwagandha , there  used to be a sly smile on students’ faces..” Oho, Ashwagandha  😉 ”  Such is it’s fame as an Aphrodisiac, but that has made it’s other great benefits less obvious.  As a practitioner I found it very useful in women’s low backache. I also found it useful as a very potent stress reducer, and also a good general tonic. Though it is famed as aphrodisiac, I found it more helpful in increasing sperm count , helping in conception. Though there are many medicines containing Ashwagandha, Ashwagandharishta and  plain Ashwagandha as a single herb in form of 1 gm tablets or capsules are the most commonly used forms.  Let’s read more about Ashwagandha to know all these  and other benefits, uses in various problems, contraindications, side effects , modern research etc.

Synonyms of Ashwagandha-

Indian Ginseng,Ayurvedic Ginseng, Winter cherry, poison gooseberry, Asgandh, Vajigandha, etc.

Latin name (Scientific name)- Withania Somnifera.

Meaning of name-  Ashwagandha means ” which smells like a horse” . (Ashwa- Horse, Gandha- Smell) . In latin name Withania Somnifera, Somnifera means sleep inducing.

 

ashwagandha-Withania Somnifera

Withania Somnifera fruit.Image credit :Wikipedia

Part used- Powder of roots  is used in Ayurvedic medicines for internal use.

Uses of Ashwagandha-

Shloka-

अश्वगंधा  अनिलश्लेष्मश्वित्र शोथक्षयापहा |

बल्या रसायनी तिक्ता कशायोश्ना अतिशुक्रला ||

Ashwagandhaa Anilshleshma Shvitra Shotha Kshayaapahaa|

Balyaa Rasaayani Tiktaa kashayoshnaatishukralaa ||

                          Bhavprakash nighantu, Guduchyadi varg

Meaning of shloka-

Chief benefits-

  1. Anilapaha-             Reduces Vataa
  2. Shleshmaapahaa-           Reduces kapha
  3. Shvitraapaha-              Cures Leucoderma
  4. Kshayaapahaa- Cures emaciation,wasting
  5. Balyaa- Gives Strength
  6. Rasaayani Rejuvenative
  7. Atishukralaa Beneficial in increasing sperm quality and quantity

    Qualities

  8. Tiktaa Bitter
  9. Ushnaa Hot

    Other benefits-

  10. Kaasaghn- Used in cough
  11. Pushtikar- Used for nourishment
  12. Kshatahar- Used for wound healing
  13. Vaajikaran – improves sexual performance
  14. Shophahara – Reduces inflammation
  15. Kanduhara – Reduces itching
  16. Vishahara – eliminates harmful substances
  17. Krumihara – eliminates worms
  18. Shwasahara – helps in Asthama.

Some Technical aspects for Ayurveda lovers…

Rasa(Taste)- Katu Tikta Kashay (Pungent, Bitter, Astringent)

Veerya-Ushna (hot in nature)

Vipaka- (Taste after digestion)-Katu (Pungent)

Effect on doshas- Balances all three doshas, specially reduces vaata and Kapha.

Gan- Charaka classifies it under Balya (strengthening ) and Brihan (Nourishing ) group of medicines.

Dose of Ashwagandha-

3-6 gm in divided doses per day. Preferably taken with milk.

Modern research on Withania Somnifera-

Research has confirmed hypotensive activity, spermatogenic and anxiolytic activities of Withania somnifera.

You can read more on Pubmed  about modern research information on Withania Somnifera.

 

 

 

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