Scientific Name-Withania somnifera

Family : Solanaceae

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, fam. Solanaceae) is commonly known as “Indian Winter cherry” or “Indian Ginseng”. It is one of the most important herb of Ayurveda (the traditional system of medicine in India) used for millennia as a Rasayana for its wide ranging health benefits.


This species is a short shrub growing 35–75 cm (14–30 in)
tall. Tomentose branches extend radially from a central stem. Leaves are dull green, elliptic, usually up to 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in) long. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. The ripe fruit is orange-red.
he root of the herb has a distinctive smell that resembles the sweat of a horse, giving it the name Ashwagandha. In the Ayurvedic textbook ‘Bhavaprakasha’, the properties of Ashwagandha are illustrated in below shloka:

गन्धान्ता वाजिनामादिरश्वगन्धा हयाद्वया। वराहकर्णी वरदा बलदा कुष्ठगन्धिनी ||
अश्वगन्धाऽनिलश्लेष्मश्वित्रशोथक्षयापहा । बल्या रसायनी तिक्ता कपायोष्णाऽतिशुक्रला ॥ -भावप्रकाश

Ashwagandha is known to provide aid in managing problems associated with stress and anxiety due to its Rasayana (Rejuvenating) and Vata balancing properties. These properties may also help in diabetes management. It also has Vajikarana (aphrodisiac) property which helps in improving stamina and treats conditions like erectile dysfunction. Root powder of Ashwagandha can be taken with milk to help manage male infertility and erectile dysfunction. It is used as a nervine tonic for various nerve-related problems. It provides aid in the management of stress and anxiety. It stabilizes the body’s response to stressful conditions.
Chemical composition-
The biologically active chemical constituents of Withania somnifera (WS) include alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine, cuseohygrine, anahygrine, etc.), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins) and saponins Sitoindosides and acylsterylglucosides in Ashwagandha are anti-stress agents. Active principles of Ashwagandha, for instance the sitoindosides VII-X and Withaferin-A, have been shown to have significant anti-stress activity against acute models of experimental stress Many of its constituents support immunomodulatory actions The aerial parts of Withania somnifera yielded 5-dehydroxy withanolide-R and withasomniferin-A
Withaferin A and 3-b-hydroxy-2,3-dihydrowithanolide F isolated from Withania somnifera show promising antibacterial, antitumoral, immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory properties


  1. Stress and Anxiety- Ashwagandha may improve the individual’s ability to deal with stress.
    Stress increases the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which in turn increases the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. Ashwagandha powder reduces the level of cortisol and helps to reduce stress and stress-related problems
  2. Male infertility- Ashwagandha is a potent aphrodisiac and might help in stress-induced male infertility by improving the level of testosterone. Ashwagandha has antioxidant property and fights against the free radicals. This prevents damage and death of sperm cells leading to better sperm count and quality. Thus Ashwagandha helps to lower the risk of stress-induced male infertility along with enhancing male sexual health.
  3. Diabetes- Ashwagandha makes the cells less resistant to insulin. This improves insulin sensitivity and increases glucose utilization by the cells.
  4. Parkinson’s disease-Parkinson’s disease is due to damage of the nerve cells which affects movement, muscle control and balance of the body. Ashwagandha prevents damage of nerve cells due to its antioxidant property. This reduces the risk of Parkinson and its associated problems.
  5. analgesic and anti-arthritic properties- Ashwagandha is an analgesic that soothes nervous system from pain response.The powerful anti-arthritic properties of Ashwagandha are now widely accepted and documented.