What is Ashwagandha?

April 18, 2024

Ashwagandha is growing in popularity, both in India and abroad.

About Ashwagandha:

  • Ashwagandha, also called Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry, is an evergreen shrub native to India, northern Africa and the Middle East.
  • Scientifically known as Withania somnifera, the shrub got its name Ashwagandha because its roots are said to smell like a wet horse ('ashwa' for horse and 'gandha' for smell).
  • It belongs to the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family—the same family as tomatoes and potatoes. 
  • Benefits:
    • It has been in use as a medicinal plant for thousands of years, especially in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
    • It is often called an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to stressors and restore balance.
    • Its other benefits are reducing inflammation, increasing energy, alleviating anxiety, ease pain, and improving sleep.
    • Different parts of the ashwagandha plant, such as the root, leaves, and berries, may have different concentrations of bioactive compounds.
    • Notable among these are withanolides, naturally occurring steroid compounds which have been associated with beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.