The Many Benefits of Ashwagandha
English Name: Ashwagandha
Latin Name: Withania somnifera
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that has been used by natural medicine practitioners for thousands of years. Though Western scientists have only been studying this herb for a few decades, clinical research is beginning to catch up with natural medicine by confirming its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and rejuvenating effects.
A shrub with yellow flowers, oval leaves and small red berries, ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae family like the tomato and is native to arid regions of India, Northern Africa and the Middle East. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word for “the smell of a horse,” partly because its root smells like horse sweat and because it’s thought to impart the vigor of a stallion to those who ingest it. The scientific name for the herb is Withania somnifera.
How does it work?
Often called “Indian ginseng” for its rejuvenating properties, ashwagandha contains withanolides — naturally occurring steroidal substances — and alkaloids, along with amino acids and a variety of sugars. The combination of these components makes ashwagandha an adaptogen, meaning it helps your body adapt to internal and external stressors, like anxiety, disease and toxins. The herb helps relax the nervous system, reduce inflammation throughout the body and enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off disease.
What are its benefits?
For thousands of years, ashwagandha has been used to improve a myriad of conditions. Everything from insomnia and constipation to joint inflammation and dementia were treated by taking this herb. Modern studies have indicated its possible effectiveness in improving memory and concentration, reducing fatigue and joint pain from osteoarthritis, increasing endurance and enhancing sexual performance for men and women .
Products Featuring Ashwagandha
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The content provided is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have a health condition, please consult a medical professional and do not use this information to self-diagnose or self-treat.
 Mishra, L. C., B. B. Singh, and S. Dagenais. "Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania Somnifera (ashwagandha): A Review." Advances in Pediatrics. August 2000. Accessed July 20, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10956379
Reviewed by Master Herbalist, Mary Ellen Kosanke