Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, fam. Solanaceae) is commonly known as "Indian Winter cherry" or "Indian Ginseng". The root smells like horse ("ashwa"), that is why it is called Ashwagandha. It is one of the most important herbs of Ayurveda (the traditional system of medicine in India) used for millennia as a Rasayana for its wide-ranging health benefits. Rasayana is described as an herbal or metallic preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness. It is most well-known for its restorative and rejuvenating benefits. Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body's resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body's defence against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals. Ashwagandha has been shown to promote healthy levels of cortisol and the healthy inflammatory processes that are stimulated in the response to stress.
This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.