Withania somnifera, also known as Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, is a plant of Solanaceae family. Several other species of the genus Withania are similar in morphology. It is used as a rasayana herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Withania somnifera is grown in many dry regions of India. This species is a short annual shrub, grows up to 35-75 centimeters in length. Branches are tomentose, extending radially from a central stalk. The flowers are small and green. The ripe fruit is red-orange. Roots are used for therapeutic purposes.
Chemical composition – Root contains alkaloids and steroidal lactones. Among the various alkaloids Withanine is the main component. The other alkaloids are somniferine, somnin, somniferinin, withananin pseudo-Whitanin, somatotropin, somatotropin pseudo 3-o-gloyloxytropan, choline, cuscohygrin, isopelletierin, anaferin and anahydrin. Contains steroidglukoside and sitoindoside sitoindoside VII and VIII.
Properties – Adaptogen, tonic, immunomodulatory, antistress, aphrodisiac, anti-aging, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic, antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiaging, antihypertensive, hypocholesterolemic, strengthens nervous system, decreases healing time of wounds, improves concentration and mental ability, increases sperm quality, liver tonic, increases endurance and physical strength.
Recommendation – Chronic fatigue, dehydration, fibrous dysplasia (weak bones), rheumatism, tension and muscle atrophy, impotence, premature aging, debility, senility, constipation, memory problems, fatigue, nervous-neurodegenerative disorders, spermatorrhea, arthritis, inflammation, hypertension, anxiety, tuberculosis, Parkinson’s disease, senile debility, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis sexual dysfunction.