Ashwagandha: The Indian Ginseng

Withania Somnifera, known in the Ayurvedic world as Ashwagandha, and commonly as Winter Cherry, is a herb known for its medicinal properties, which has made it famous as Indian Ginseng. Ashawgandha has been used for nearly 4000 years for medicinal purposes, since the whole plant, including its roots, berries and leaves have tremendous healing property.

The herb was sought after for its amazing rejuvenating properties that help in nourishment of the tissues. Ashwagandha is rich in methanol, diethyl ether, hexane, steroidals lactones and alkaloid which have been utilized well by the Ayurvedic and Unani medical professionals, who used it in many tonics and formulas to give strength to muscles, bones, adrenals and reproductive organs of human body. It is also considered to be a good aphrodisiac, though not in the class of ginseng.

Despite the fact that Ashwagandha was used in India for ages, the herb has been patented by Japanese for its use as a skin ointment and promotion of fertility, whereas the New England Deaconess Hospital of US has patented it for treating arthritis.

Health Benefits

ashwagandha-indian-ginsengAshwagandha is considered a rejuvenation tonic (rasayana) in Ayurveda, since for ages it has been used to increase vitality, promote physical wellness, relax mind and decrease the aging process of the body. The herb has been found to be excellent in treating disorders related to central nervous system, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, epilepsy, stress and others. Though Ashawgandha is referred to as Indian Ginseng for its aphrodisiac nature, it does not give rise to restless energy in human body, but rather reduces stress, relaxes the mind and body and assists in getting good sleep.

The name somnifera is derived from Latin which means it induces sleep like a sedative. Folk doctors are known to prepare excellent love potions with the herb even in the modern era, as the herb is known to be excellent remedy to boost sperm count, cure erectile dysfunction, stabilize foetus in the womb and increase breast milk for nursing mothers. It is also an excellent anti-oxidant.

Studies conducted on animals and cell cultures have shown the herb to contain anti-carcinogenic property that suppresses tumor necrosis, thus preventing spread of the disease.

Major health benefits include:

  • Treatment of infertility and sexual disorders
  • Helps in control stress, anxiety and depression
  • Management of addictions
  • Treating memory loss
  • Gives relief in cases of osteoarthritis, rheumatism and aching joints
  • Relieves toothache
  • Restores neurotransmitters in mental disorders associated with aging
  • Cures gastric ulcers
  • Helps in treating persistent cough, bronchitis, and allergies of lung

Joint Pain

Take few fresh leaves of Ashwagandha shrub and grind it to form a smooth paste. Smearing this onto aching joints provides relief from arthritis, rheumatism, inflammation and swelling.


Dry the cortex of the roots and powder it. Knead it with water to form thick paste to smear on wounds, bruises and infection for quick relief and healing.


Burn the root of the herb and channel the smoke to aching tooth for quick relief from throbbing pain.


Dry the roots of the herb and use it as tonic for coughs, colds ulcers, menstrual problems and insomnia.


Boil the bark of Ashawgandha in water and drink the strained concoction for relief from asthma and externally apply it on the skin for relief from bed sores.