uses: infertility, sexual debility, stress, anxiety, over worked, emaciated, insomnia, nervine tonic, arthritis, sciatica, multiple sclerosis, best for spring allergies, to increase immunity and for debilitating diseases.
Ashwagandha, org (1/2 lb.)
Item Number : 6082 Price: $10.95 Quantity :
Certified Organic Ashwagandha powder (Withania somnifera)
A traditional rejuvenative for vata & kapha that promotes vitality & strength.*
* Increases energy and vitality* * General adaptogen for combating stress* * Assists in calming the mind and promotes restful sleep* * Supports proper function of the adrenals*
* Rasa (taste): bitter, astringent, sweet * Virya (action): heating * Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet * Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for vata and kapha, may aggravate pitta in excess
Commentary: Ashwagandha is one of the most highly regarded and commonly used adaptogens in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. Maximizing the body's ability to resist stress, it enables the body to reserve and sustain vital energy throughout the day while promoting sound, restful sleep at night. It is considered one of the best herbs for calming vata and for revitalizing the male reproductive system. Used by both men and women, it maintains proper nourishment of the tissues, particularly muscle and bone, while supporting proper function of the adrenals. This potent herb is used to promote muscle strength and to support comfortable joint movement. It is also used to maintain potency and a healthy libido, for it is said to bestow upon its user the vitality and strength of a horse. As a rejuvenative, Ashwagandha is particularly useful to seniors and for anyone that would benefit from a nourishing, natural source of energy.*
For a 1 lb bag click here For five lbs or more in bulk click here
Herbal tablets that contain Ashwagandha include: Ashwagandha, Healthy Vata, I Sleep Soundly, Joint Support, Men's Support, Mental Clarity, Stress Ease, Tranquil Mind
Other products that contain Ashwagandha include: Ashwagandha/Bala Oil, Breast Balm, Chyavanprash, Joint Balm, Shirodhara Oil, and Vata Massage Oil
This product is organically grown and processed in accordance with the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP).
Botanical name: Withania somnifera, Solanaceae
Other names: Ashgandh (H), Amukkira (T), Winter Cherry (E)
AshvagandhaBotany: Ashwagandha is an erect branching shrub that attains a height between 30-150 cm, covered in a wooly pubescence. The ovate leaves are up to 10 cm long and 2.5-5 cm wide, margins entire, arranged in an alternate fashion. The flowers are green or yellow, borne in axillary fascicles, giving rise to red globose fruits when mature. The roots are fleshy and cylindrical, the epidermis light brown and medulla white. Ashwagandha is found throughout the drier parts of India, into West Asia and northern Africa (Warrier et al 1995, 409; Kirtikar and Basu 1935, 1774). Although the Sanskrit name Ashwagandha is typically associated with Withania somnifera, this plant does not grow in the Himalayas, which is often stated as being the traditional home of Ayurveda. Instead of Withania, Ayurvedic physicians in the Himalayan tradition make used of Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) (picture right) as Ashwagandha.
Part used: Root.
Rasa: tikta, kashaya *
Vipaka: katu *
Virya: ushna *
Karma: medhya, nidrajanana, stanyajanana, vedanasthapana, balya, vajikarana, rasayana, Vatakaphahara (Srikanthamurthy 2001, 258; Warrier et al 1996, 409; Dash 1991, 59)
Constituents: Ashwagandha contains steroidal compounds of great interest to researchers, such as the ergostane-type steroidal lactones, including withanolides A-Y, dehydrowithanolide-R, withasomniferin-A, withasomidienone, withasomniferols A-C, withaferin A, withanone and others. Other constituents include the phytosterols sitoindosides VII-X and beta-sitosterol, as well as alkaloids (e.g. ashwagandhine, cuscohygrine, tropine, pseudotropine, isopelletierine, anaferine), a variety of amino acids including tryptophan, and high amounts of iron (Williamson 2003, 322; Yoganarasimhan 2000, 592; Mills and Bone 2000, 596).
Adaptogen: The traditional use of Ashwagandha as an adaptogen has been assessed. Researcher found that rats treated with an extract of Withania somnifera showed better stress tolerance in cold water swimming tests, a classic experimental model of adaptogenic activity (Archana and Namasivayam 1999).
Antiinflammatory: A methanolic extract of the aerial parts of Withania somnifera had antiinflammatory activities comparable to that of hydrocortisone sodium succinate in rats subjected to subcutaneous cotton-pellet implantation (al-Hindawi et al 1992). An 80% ethanolic extract of Withania somnifera displayed significant antiinflammatory activity on carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats (al-Hindawi 1989).
Antioxidant: An aqueous suspension of root extract of Ashwagandha prevented the rise of experimentally induced lipid peroxidation in rabbits and mice (Dhuley 1998a). An extract of Withania somnifera, consisting of equimolar concentrations of sitoindosides VII-X and withaferin A, induced an increase in the levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in rat brain, consistent with other research that reports an antioxidant, immunomodulant and antiinflammatory activity (Bhattacharya et al 1997).
Cancer: The administration of Ashwagandha rasayana (an Ayurvedic polyherbal formulation containing Ashwagandha) significantly reduced the lung tumor nodule formation by 55.6% in experimental animals (Menon et al. 1997). An alcoholic extract of the dried roots as well as withaferin A isolated from the extract showed significant antitumor and radiosensitizing effects in experimental tumors in Chinese hamster cells, without any noticeable systemic toxicity (Devi 1996). The steroidal lactone withaferin A displayed significant antitumor and radiosensitizing effects, inhibiting tumor growth and increasing survival in Swiss mice inoculated with Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (Devi et al 1995; Sharad et al 1996). The administration of an extract of Withania somnifera was found to significantly reduce leucopenia induced by cyclophosphamide treated experimental animals, indicating its usefulness in cancer therapy (Davis and Kuttan 1998). The administration of methanolic extract of Ashwagandha was found to significantly increase the WBC count in normal Balb/c mice and reduce leucopenia induced by a sublethal dose of gamma-radiation. Withania increased bone marrow cellularity and normalised the ratio of normochromatic erythrocytes and polychromatic erythrocytes. This observed activity was thought to be due to stem cell proliferation (Kuttan 1996).
Central Nervous system: Isolated constituents of Withania somnifera (sitoindosides VII-X and withaferin-A) increased cortical muscarinic acetylcholine receptor capacity, partly explaining the cognition-enhancing and memory-improving effects traditionally attributed to Ashwagandha (Schliebs et al 1997). A methanolic extract of Withania somnifera inhibited the specific binding of [3H]GABA and [35S]TBPS, and enhanced the binding of [3H]flunitrazepam to their putative receptor sites, suggesting a GABA-mimetic activity (Mehta et al 1991). A commercial root extract of Withania somnifera used repeatedly over nine days attenuated the development of tolerance to the analgesic effect of morphine and suppressed morphine-withdrawal jumps (Kulkarni and Ninan 1997).
Diabetes: The hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effects of roots of Ashwagandha were assessed in six patients with mild NIDDM and six patients with mild hypercholesterolemia. The treatment consisted of the powder of roots over a 30 day period. At the end of the study, researchers noted a decrease in blood glucose comparable to that of an oral hypoglycemic drug, and a significant increase in urine sodium and urine volume, coupled with a decrease in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (low density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) cholesterol, with no adverse effects noted (Andallu and Radhika 2000).
Immunity: Myelosuppressed mice treated with an extract of Ashwagandha displayed a significant increase in hemoglobin concentration, red blood cell count, white blood cell count, platelet count and body weight as compared to controls, as well as increased hemolytic antibody responses towards human erythrocytes (Ziauddin et al 1996). Researchers at the Amala Cancer Research Centre in Kerala, India, found that the administration of an extract from the powdered root of Withania somnifera enhanced the levels of interferon-?, interleukin-2 and granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor in normal and cyclophosphamide-treated mice, suggesting an immunopotentiating and myeloprotective effect (Davis and Kuttan 1999). Mice infected intravenously with Aspergillus fumigatus and treated for 7 consecutive days with an oral preparation of an extract of Withania somnifera at a dose of 100mg/kg displayed increased phagocytic activity and prolonged survival time (Dhuley 1998). The antifungal activity of Withania has been confirmed elsewhere, attributed to the withanolides (Choudhary et al 1995).
Musculo-skeletal: A herbomineral formulation containing roots of Withania somnifera, the stem of Boswellia serrata, rhizomes of Curcuma longa and a zinc complex (Articulin-F), was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, cross-over study in clients with osteoarthritis. The results produced a significant drop in severity of pain and disability, although radiological assessment did not show any significant changes. Side effects were minimal and did not necessitate the withdrawal of treatment. (Kulkarni et al 1991)
Toxicity: Ashwagandha appears to be very safe, with an LD50 of a 50% alcohol extract determined to be 1000 mg/kg in rats (Williamson 2002, 323; Aphale et al 1998).
Indications: Anorexia, bronchitis, asthma, consumption, leucoderma, edema, asthenia, anemia, exhaustion, aging, insomnia, ADD/ADHD, infertility, impotence, repeated miscarriage, paralysis, memory loss, multiple sclerosis, immune dysfunction, cancer, rheumatism, arthritis, lumbago.
Contraindications: Caution should be used with clients on anticonvulsants, barbituates and benzodiazepines due to its GABA-nergic and sedative properties. Ashwagandha is traditionally avoided in lymphatic congestion, during colds and flu, or symptoms of ama (Frawley and Lad 1986, 160).
Medicinal uses: Ashwagandha is often considered the Indian equivalent to Ginseng (Panax ginseng), but unlike Ginseng, Ashwagandha has a sedative (nidrajanana) rather than stimulant action on the central nervous system, making it a superior medicine for exhaustion with nervous irritability. Ashwagandha is a useful nervine, taken before bed to relax and nourish the body in deficiency diseases, but is only seen to be efficacious when taken on a sustained basis – it is not a sufficient sedative to treat acute insomnia. For poor memory, lack of concentration and in the treatment of ADD/ADHD Ashwagandha may be used in equal proportions with Brahmi and Ling zhi (Ganoderma lucidum). Ashwagandha is widely used in any debility, emaciation or consumptive condition, in both adults and children (Kirtikar and Basu 1935, 1775; Nadkarni 1954, 1294). One rejuvenating preparation can be made by mixing Ashwagandha with 10-15% Pippali, taken with one half part ghrita and one part honey on an empty stomach, morning and evening. As its name ‘smelling like a horse’ suggests, Ashwagandha is an important vajikarana dravya, indicating the sexual potency of a stallion, used in the treatment of infertility, impotence and “seminal depletion” (Nadkarni 1954, 1293). When mixed with equal parts Shatavari, it is an appropriate treatment for female infertility and frigidity, useful in threatened miscarriage, and is an excellent post-partum restorative. In the treatment of uterine prolapse a paste prepared from equal parts Ashwagandha, Vacha, Kushta, Haridra, Maricha (Piper nigrum) and Nilotpala (Monochoria hastata) is recommended by the Chakradatta to restore uterine tone (Sharma 2002, 579). In the treatment of infertility in both sexes a simple decoction of Ashwagandha in milk is indicated, taken with ghee as an anupana (Sharma 2002, 580). Similarly, a medicated taila called Ashwagandhadi taila is prepared by decocting Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Kushta, Jatamamsi and Brhati fruit (Solanum indicum) in sesame oil, massaged into the breasts and genitalia to make them stronger and larger (Sharma 2002, 654). Mixed with equal parts Vriddhadharu (Impomea pataloidea) Ashwagandha churna is allowed to sit in a pot with ghee for a few days, and is then administered in doses of 12 g taken with milk as a vajikarana rasayana (Srikanthamurthy 1984, 100). In the treatment of consumptive conditions the Chakradatta recommends a decoction of equal parts Ashwagandha, Guduchi, Shatavari, Dashamula, Bala, Vasaka, Pushkaramula (Inula helenium root) and Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum), taken in conjunction with a diet of milk and meat broth (Sharma 2002, 134). A more recently developed formula by the Hospital of Integrated Medicine in Madras is Ashwagandhadi lehya, prepared by dissolving 1.356 kg of sugar in 452 mL of hot water, after which is gradually added 192 g each fine powders of Ashwagandha, Sariva (Hemedesmus indicus), Jiraka (Cuminum cyminum, Madhusnuhi (Smilax chinensis), and Draksha (Vitis vinifera), and 24 g Ela (Elettaria cardamomum). Following this, 226 g of ghee (226 g) is added, and when the mixture is cool, 452 g of honey is added. Ashwagandhadi lehya is used in dosages of 6-12 g in milk to strengthen the body, and promote fertility and long life (India 1978, 27). For poor eyesight Ashwagandha powder is mixed with equal proportions of Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra root) powder and the fresh juice of Amalaki (Emblica officinalis fruit) (Nadkarni, 1294). Nadkarni mentions that Ashwagandha is used in the treatment of antiinflammatory joint disease (1954, 1293), but may facilitate the production of ama (Lad and Frawley 1986, 160), and thus an eliminative regimen is best implemented prior to using this botanical. Likewise, Ashwagandha is an appropriate remedy in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis (Kirtikar and Basu 1935, 1775-6), but should be used concurrently with dravyas that have a dipanapachana property to avoid the production of ama. Warrier et al mention that a paste made of the roots and bruised leaves may be applied to carbuncles, ulcers and painful swellings (1996, 409). Based on its traditional use, and upon the experimental studies that support its usage in this way, Ashwagandha is an excellent choice to support the health of patients undergoing conventional cancer treatment, to protect against injury, improve immune status, and enhance recovery. Combined with Madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and used in sufficient doses, Ashwagandha can be used to wean a patient off of corticosteroid therapy, or may be used in place of it.
• Churna: 3-15 g b.i.d.-t.i.d. • Kvatha: 1:4, 60-120 mL b.i.d.-t.i.d. • Tincture: fresh root, 1:2, 95% alcohol; dried root, 1:3; 35% alcohol; 1-15 mL b.i.d.-t.i.d.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Winter Cherry – Not used in Chinese Med.) for Vata (Space and Air – Catabolic – “Wind” – Skinny-Thin Ectomorph); (V↓ K↓ P= and ama). Most important giver of strength herb, mental and physical fatigue, stress, vata in mamsa, shukra. Most important male reproductive tonic herb. Ashwagandha corrects weakness and tissue deficiency in children, the elderly and those delegated due to chronic diseases. It strengthens muscle and marrow, and rejuvenates semen. It makes a vitalizing drink when added to milk along with sugar, honey, pippali and a little basmati rice. Its soothing effect promotes sleep. It stabilises the foetus. o Guna: Laghu/Snigdha Rasa: madhur/kashaya/tikta Virya: Ushna Vipak: Madhur o Dhatus: Shukra, Mamsa, Meda, Majja. o Organs: Male/Female reproductive . o Main Actions: Nervine, aphrodesiac (best for males), sedative, rasayana, analgesic, astringent o Uses: infertility/sexual debility, stress, anxiety, overworked/emaciated, insomnia, nervine tonic, arthritis, Sciatica, MS, best for spring allergies, increase immunity and for debilitating diseases. o C/I: Pregnancy (can cause abortion secondary to inc. estrogen, avoid with barbiturates ↑effect).
Aswagandhaa nila Sleshma Switra Sodha Kshayaapahaa Balyaa Rasaayanee Tiktaa Kashaayochaati Sukralaa. Bhaavaprakasa.
Aswaghandha checks Vaata, Kapha Leucoderma, Dropsy and Consumption. It improves strength, it is a tonic, bitter and astringent, stimulating (heating) and improves sperm.
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The Sanskrit word ‘ashva' (ashwa) means horse and ‘gandha' means smell - the fresh roots smell like horse urine, but the meaning also relates to the horse being a strong animal that is a symbol of vitality and virile.
Actions: restores tissues, rasayana (tonic), muscle builder, aphrodisiac, energizer, gives vigor and vitality, nervine, sattvic sedative and tranquilizer (induces natural sleep), anti-bacterial, promotes lactation.
Indications: emaciation, muscle weakness, muscle fatigue, muscle wasting, TB, sexual debility, spermatorrhea, oligospermia, insomnia, unmad (psychosis), cold, congestion, cough, grand mal and petit mal epilepsy, and many neuromuscular disorders.
* [[one teaspoon]] with a [[glass]] of [[milk]] at [[bedtime]] gives [[strong]] [[energy]], [[vigor]], and [[vitality]]. * [[one half teaspoon]] with a [[teaspoon]] each of [[ghee]] and [[honey]] is [[effect]]ive for [[muscle weakness]] and [[fatigue]]. * [[Ashwagandha]] has [[natural]] [[food]] [[precursor]]s of [[lactogenic]] [[hormone]] and promotes the [[growth]] of [[breast]] [[tissue]]. [[Ashwagandha]] with [[milk]] [[will]] help [[breast growth]] and with [[milk]] and [[Licorice]] it promotes [[lactation]].
* [[one teaspoon]] [[three times a day]] with [[milk]] promotes [[sexual energy]], [[improve]]s the [[circulation]] of [[blood]] in the [[genital]]s, and enhances [[sperm]] [[formation]].
* [[Ashwagandha]] is used in [[tuberculosis]] ([[TB]]).
* [[Ashwagandha]] [[induce]]s [[natural]] [[sleep]] and is used in [[insomnia]].
* [[psychological]]ly, [[Ashwagandha]] brings [[tranquil]]ity, [[happiness]], and [[joy]], so it is used in [[psychosis]].
uses: infertility, sexual debility, stress, anxiety, overworked, emaciated, insomnia, nervine tonic, arthritis, sciatica, multiple sclerosis, best for spring allergies, to increase immunity and for debilitating diseases.
Ashwagandha- withania somnifera (somn= sleep), winter cherry
ashwa = horse
aka Indian ginseng
Rasa: sweet, bitter, sl. astringent Virya: heating Vipak: sweet
Action on Doshas: V v P ^ K v
Hanuman- god of shakti & Ashwini Kumar have affinity for this herb
• mild diuretic, anti-bacterial, digestive, used in general debility
• vasodilator, does not increase BP
• alterative tonic, nervine sedative, calms down anxiety
• active principle- somniferine, alkaloid, has depressive action, analgesic, does bruhana- anabolic, contains essential fatty acids, reduces cholesterol
• increases endurance, stamina, strength & virulence
• has stimulant- tannin that is why acts as aphrodisiac, stimulates sex energy
improves blood flow to genital organ
take 1 tsp. ashwaganda + cup of milk- 1 hour before sex will enjoy sex like a horse
generally masculine aphrodisiac (female one is shatavari)
• has double hormonal action, sweet rasa- increases testosterone
• heating- stimulates shukra dhatu agni- for spermatogenesis
• slightly narcotic tx insomnia, induces natural sleep
• rejuvenator to muscle tissue- tx neuromuscular dystrophy
• expectorant because of heating quality tx cold, congestion, cough
• has food precursors of tryphtophane
• food precursor for progesterone, promotes happy painless ovulation
helps form healthy endometrium, regulates menses, tx Vata dysmenorrhoea- spasmodic
• rich in potassium nitrate- acts like glycerin nitrate (sublingually tx angina pectoris pain)
has sedative, hypnotic action
• best geriatric tonic for males & females, tx senility
• tx TB, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic swelling, female sterility, insomnia, fatigue, debility, cold, congestion, cough, high cholesterol
• 1 tsp. ashwaganda TID- massive dose for extreme low libido, menses problems- irregular menses
• insomnia- 1 tsp. ashwagandha + 1 cup milk→ boil + add pinch of nutmeg
• lactation- tsp. ashwagandha + tsp. yasthimadhu + 1 cup milk
• senile debility- tsp. ashwagandha + tsp. honey + 2 tsp. ghee- BID on empty stomach for 2 months
• spermatogenesis- 1 tsp. ashwagandha + 1 cup warm milk at bedtime
• tachycardia- ashwaganda + arjun
• anxiety neurosis- ashwagandha + bala
• pulmonary TB- ashwagandha (500 mg) + bala (500 mg) + vidhari (500 mg) + laghu malini vasant- lmv (200 mg) TID
• MS- ashwagandha, bala, vidhari
• enlarged prostate- ashwagandha (500 mg)- improves tone + shilajit (200 mg)- directs ashwagandha to prostate
• treats acne & boils topically or internally acne- stagnant male or female hormones, aka yavana pitika→ blooming youth
• leave on eyes when go to bed (for half hour)→ will make eyes bright
• best rasayana- to use for 6 months
CI- during pregnancy, will disturb fetal circulation, make fetus hyperactive
Certified Organic Ashwagandha root powder (Withania somnifera)
Search MedLine PubMed for Withania somnifera http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Search&db=PubMed&term=Withania%20somnifera
Search MedLine PubMed for Ashwagandha (Sanskrit spelling) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Search&db=PubMed&term=Ashwagandha
Search MedLine PubMed for Ashvagandha (altenate spelling) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Search&db=PubMed&term=Ashvagandha
Latin: Convolvulus arvensis
WHAT IT DOES:
Ashwagandha root is bitter (tikta) in taste (rasa), warming (ushna) in action (virya]), and a strong [[rasayana] [[tonic]. It calms and strengthens the [[nervous system (Vata); reduces stress; strengthens immunity and vitality; increases sexual energy; and improves cognition and memory.
Not to be used during [[pregnancy. Do not use Withania somnifera with barbiturates due to potentiation effects. The Nepalese Convolvulus arvensis variety has no known safety issues, but Western relatives such as bindweedsare associated with severe toxicity in animals (Todd FG et al., 1995).
Dried powder: two grams two to three times per day
4:1 powder concentrated extract: one gram two to three times per day
1:5 tincture: 20-40 drops two to three times per day
There are two different plants known by the Sanskrit name ashwagandha. Both are effective. It is almost certain that the Convolvulus arvensis Himalayan mountain variety found in Nepal is the original one described in Sanskrit texts, and that Withania somnifera was discovered and used later by doctors in India. In our clinic we use both of these plants to strengthen the immunity and vital force (ojas) of weakened patients showing signs of anxiety or nervousness. Ginseng root, commonly used as a tonic, would not be a good choice in such case due to its excitatory action.
The Convolvulus arvensis variety of ashwagandha root is a perennial bushy plant with white roots that is usually found in tropical areas. It commonly grows at the base of wheat, spiraling around the stems, and Dr. Mana and I located specimens within minutes when we searched wheat farms in Nepal. The root is an aphrodisiac, and can be used to treat any nervous system disease. It is used to treat nervous exhaustion, poor memory, muscle weakness and impotence. The strength of ashwagandha root seems to penetrate into the core of one's being.
Withania somnifera has now taken over the common name of ashwagandha root throughout the world. Also an excellent plant, it seems to impart overall energy to the system, with a marked calming effect. It is commonly called the ginseng of India. The traditional way of preparing it for nerve diseases (Vataja) is to mix it into an approximate 50/50 ratio with ghee, and take one teaspoon two to three times per day.
Andrew Weil], MD, reported in a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) special the case of a woman with [[multiple sclerosis who saw marked improvement in her overall health using this herb.
Alan Keith Tillotson, 2001: p. 14
This tonic can be given to feeble children to increase their weight. It imparts a sense of well being and strength, as well as improved memory. In the interest of comparison, I have taken both forms of the herb. They are very similar in their calming effects, but the Nepalese variety has a much stronger aphrodisiac effect similar to that of Muira puama balsam.
A true adaptogen, investigators have demonstrated ashwagandha root's effectiveness in animal models against a wide variety of biological, physical and chemical stressors (Pandley et al., eds, 1996; Rege et al., 1999; Archana et al., 1999; Dhuley, 1998).
Pharmacological studies show it can prevent immunosuppression caused by exposure to strong chemical agents, and may be valuable in restoring immunity (ojas) after exposure to or treatment with such drugs (Ziauddin M et al., 1996). It also provides protection against some side effects of chemotherapy (Pandley et al., eds, 1996).
The alcohol extract of ashwagandha root has significant anti-inflammatory action in both acute and chronic types of inflammation, as demonstrated in rabbit, guinea pig, rat and frog animal models (Pandley et al., eds, 1996).
Citing a total of 31 studies, the Indian Central Council for Research on Ayurveda and Siddha tells us that ashwaganda root exerts its most powerful pharmacological influence on the reproductive system (shukra dhatu), neuropharmacological disorders, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, bacteria, fungi, inflammation and gastric acidity (Pandley et al., eds, 1996).
Alan Keith Tillotson, 2001: p. 15
Common name Winter cherry (E), Indian ginseng (E), Ashgandh (H) Sanskrit Asvagandha Latin Withania somnifera - Radix (Solanaceae) The irony of ashwagandha is that it is a tonic and sedative all in one. It strengthens an exhausted nervous system that can manifest with 'hyper' signs such as emotional instability, agitation or feeling stressed out. It has the dual action of energizing while calming. Its name ashwagandha meaning 'the smell of a horse', comes from the smell of the fresh root (like horse's urine), and also perhaps because it is renowned for imparting the sexual stamina of a horse.
ENERGETICS Rasa (taste) Bitter, astringent, sweet Virya (energy) Heating Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Sweet Guna (quality) Light, unctuous Dosha effect VK- Dhatu (tissue) Blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve, reproductive Srotas (channel) Reproductive, nervous, respiratory CONSTITUENTS Alkaloids Ashwagandhine, with-anine, isopelietierine, anaferine Steroidal lactones Withanolides, withaferins Phytosterols Sitoindosides, (3-sitosterol Saponins Iron (Bone 1996, Williamson 2002) AYURVEDIC ACTION Vishaya Increases sexual potency Balya Increases strength Medhya Promotes the intellect Ojas vardhana Increases ojas Nidrajanana Promotes sleep
Shukrala Increases sperm production Shotahara Prevents consumption and wasting diseases Rasayana Rejuvenative Vata kapha hara Reduces kapha and vata Vedana sthapana Reduces pain Svasa Benefits breathing BIOMEDICAL ACTION Adaptogen, tonic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator, anti-tumor, nervine, mild sedative, analgesic, reproductive tonic, aphrodisiac, anti-anemic INDICATIONS Tissues Debility, low body weight, emaciation, deficient hemoglobin, anemia, post-convalescent weakness, athletic exertion and with caution in pregnancy. It is useful for any imbalance in the muscles as it both reduces inflammation and strengthens muscle tone. It is a specific rasayana for mamsa dhatu and it is an anabolic muscle builder (Caraka, Bhavaprakasa, Venkataraghavan et al 1980). As it benefits all muscle tissue it is used as a heart tonic, uterine tonic, and a lung tonic, as well as for increasing muscle weight and tone in convalescents,
slow-developing children, and the elderly. Immunity Autoimmune conditions, neutropenia, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, cancer, and chronic connective tissue disorders. As a painkiller and anti-inflammatory it is commonly used in swollen or painful arthritic conditions. It can strengthen a weakened immune system and protect it from becoming depleted due to immunosuppressive drugs or lifestyle. Improves white blood cell counts. It appears to have both immunosuppressive and immunotonic abilities and is therefore a 'true' adaptogen (Tillotson 2001). Lungs Asthma, cough and allergic conditions from low immunity with high kapha and vata. Useful in hay fever, allergic rhinitis from aggravated vata and kapha. Nerves Neurosis, insomnia, anxiety, excessive thinking, 'hyper' symptoms and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Very useful in all conditions caused by 'stress' as it has a specific affinity for the majja dhatu and helps to regulate the movement of vyana vayu in the heart. Its tropism for the nervous system benefits multiple sclerosis (Tillotson 2001). It both relaxes frayed nerves and tonifies the central nervous system to enhance tolerance to stress. It is a nourishing nervine as opposed to a heavy sedative. Reproductive Its rejuvenating effect on sukra dhatu helps to alleviate asthenospermia (increasing sperm motility), oligospermia (increasing sperm count), and poor sexual performance, and helps to reduce impotence (Bhavaprakasa, Paranjpe 2001). Its unique action or prabhava is to promote sexual potency and sperm production. External application of ashwagandha oil is used for impotence. Gynaecology Excellent tonic to the uterine muscles. Used in menstrual imbalance caused by a deficient condition with an aggravation of vata and uterine spasms; dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, weakness. Thyroid Very useful in hypothyroid disorders to regulate thyroid activity. COMBINATIONS
CONTRAINDICATIONS Caution in excess pitta and ama with congestion. Caution in pregnancy; although traditionally used in India during pregnancy to strengthen the uterus and health of the mother and child. Its spasmolytic activity on the uterus has led certain quarters of western phytotherapy to restrict its use in pregnancy (see McGuffin et al 1997). SAFETY No drug-herb interactions are known. There are some theoretical interactions between ashwagandha and immunosuppressant, thyroid, and some sedative medications, but these are not evidence-based (Braun & Cohen 2003, 2004, Harkness & Bratman 2003). As ashwagandha appears to have some hypogly-caemic activity in humans it is advisable to monitor blood glucose in susceptible individuals (Low Dog 2002). DOSAGE 3-9g per day dried root or 6-15ml per day of a 1:3 @ 45% tincture.
NOTES ■ Ashwagandha thrives in the sandy, loamy soils of the drier more temperate parts of India; Madhya Pradesh, Uttara Pradesh and Gujarat and Sri Lanka. ■ Commercially the roots are graded into four qualities; A is 7cm long and clear white inside, B is 5cm long and clear white inside, C is 3-4cm in length and D is small rootlets with a slightly yellow colour. ■ It is the best herb for nourishing vata and is used in all vata disorders affecting the bones, back, knees, hips, ears, and colon. Use internally and externally. ■ The botanical species suffix somnifera refers to its relaxing, sleep-promoting properties. ■ For maximum tonic effect it is taken with reproductive tissue building carriers; milk, ghee, almond milk and honey.
Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha,<ref name=GRIN>
</ref> Indian ginseng,<ref name=prota>
</ref> poison gooseberry,<ref name=prota/> or winter cherry,<ref name=GRIN/> is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Several other species in the genus Withania are morphologically similar.<ref>
</ref> It is used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicine.
tall. Tomentose branches extend radially from a central stem. Leaves are dull green, elliptic, usually up to 10–12 cm long. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. The ripe fruit is orange-red.
The species name somnifera means “sleep-inducing” in Latin.<ref>
Withania somnifera is cultivated in many of the drier regions of India, such as Mandsaur District of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.<ref name=mirjalili/> It is also found in Nepal, China<ref name=Pandit/> and Yemen.<ref>Hugh Scott & Kenneth Mason, Western Arabia and the Red Sea, Naval Intelligence Division: London 1946, p. 597 ISBN 0-7103-1034-X.</ref>
Withania somnifera is prone to several pests and diseases. Leaf spot disease caused by Alternaria alternata is the most prevalent disease, which is most severe in the plains of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. Biodeterioration of its pharmaceutically active components during leaf spot disease has been reported.<ref>
</ref> The Choanephora cucurbitarum causes a stem and leaf rot of Withania somnifera.<ref>
</ref> A treehopper feeds on the apical portions of the stem, making them rough and woody in appearance and brown in colour. The apical leaves are shed and the plant gradually dies.<ref>
</ref> The carmine red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is the most prevalent pest of the plant in India.<ref>
The main chemical constituents are alkaloids and steroidal lactones. These include tropine and cuscohygrine. The leaves contain the steroidal lactones, withanolides, notably withaferin A, which was the first to be isolated from the plant.
Tropine is a derivative of tropane containing a hydroxyl group at third carbon. It is also called 3-tropanol. Benzatropine and etybenzatropine are derivatives of tropine. It is also a building block of atropine, an anticholinergic drug prototypical of the muscarinic antagonist class. Cuscohygrine is a pyrrolidine alkaloid found in coca. It can also be extracted from plants of the family Solanaceae as well, including Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Datura inoxia and Datura stramonium (jimson weed). Cuscohygrine usually comes with other, more potent alkaloids like atropine or cocaine. Cuscohygrine (along with the related metabolite hygrine) was first isolated by Carl Liebermann in 1889 as an alkaloid accompanying cocaine in coca leaves (also known as Cusco-leaves). Cuscohygrine is an oil that can be distilled without decomposition only in vacuum. It is soluble in water. It also forms a crystalline trihydrate, which melts at 40–41 °C. There are also the alkaloids ashwagandhine, ashwaganidhine, and somniferine, all of which have been identified exclusively in the ashwagandha plant itself.
The plant's long, brown, tuberous roots are used in traditional medicine.<ref name=mirjalili>
In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are applied externally to tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers.<ref name=mirjalili/> The roots are used to prepare the herbal remedy ashwagandha, which has been traditionally used for Tonic purposes in various symptoms and conditions.
In Yemen, where it is known as ubab,<ref>Hugh Scott & Kenneth Mason, Western Arabia and the Red Sea, Naval Intelligence Division: London 1946, p. 597 ISBN 0-7103-1034-X.</ref> the dried leaves are ground to a powder from which a paste is made and used in the treatment of burns and wounds,<ref>Ingrid Hehmeyer & Hanne Schönig, Herbal Medicine in Yemen: Traditional Knowledge and Practice, and Their Value for Today's World, Series: Islamic History and Civilization (vol. 96), Brill: Leiden 2012, p. 200 ISBN 978-90-04-22150-5</ref> as also for a sunscreen upon women's faces.