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.
Part used- Powder of roots is used in Ayurvedic medicines for internal use.
Uses of Ashwagandha-
अश्वगंधा अनिलश्लेष्मश्वित्र शोथक्षयापहा |
बल्या रसायनी तिक्ता कशायोश्ना अतिशुक्रला ||
Ashwagandhaa Anilshleshma Shvitra Shotha Kshayaapahaa|
Balyaa Rasaayani Tiktaa kashayoshnaatishukralaa ||
Bhavprakash nighantu, Guduchyadi varg
Meaning of shloka-
- Anilapaha- Reduces Vataa
- Shleshmaapahaa- Reduces kapha
- Shvitraapaha- Cures Leucoderma
- Kshayaapahaa- Cures emaciation,wasting
- Balyaa- Gives Strength
- Rasaayani Rejuvenative
- Atishukralaa Beneficial in increasing sperm quality and quantity
- Tiktaa Bitter
- Ushnaa Hot
- Kaasaghn- Used in cough
- Pushtikar- Used for nourishment
- Kshatahar- Used for wound healing
- Vaajikaran – improves sexual performance
- Shophahara – Reduces inflammation
- Kanduhara – Reduces itching
- Vishahara – eliminates harmful substances
- Krumihara – eliminates worms
- 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.