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22. 09. 2017
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Winter Cherry (Ashwagandha)

Also known as

winter cherry
Latin : Withania somnifera

English : Winter cherry

Sanskrit : Ashwagandha

Hindi : Ashwagandha

Marathi : Askandha/Bhuikohala

Tamil : Amukkira

Telugu : Vajigandha, Pennerugadda

Malayalam : Amukkuram

Kannada : Veramaddinagaddi

Introduction—It is popularly known as Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha has an ancient history and acquired much folklore praise on its actions and uses. It is cultivated in China and Korea etc.

How it looks—It is an erect branching undershrub with ovate leaves and greenish/ yellow flowers. The fruits are orange coloured when ripe and are rounded berries. The fleshy roots are cylindrical, with a brownish white surface and white inside.



What we use—Roots, leaves

What it does—Roots-astringent, somniferous, stimulant, aphrodisiac, diuretic, thermogenic, tonic.

How we use it

It is a widely accepted herb with a global market as "Indian ginseng". It is found in dry wastelands and is also cultivated extensively in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for its much-in-demand tuberous roots. Its wide range of medicinal use is reflected in the Telugu proverb, " Peru leni vyadhiki pennerugadda" or "for a nameless disease ashwagandha is the medicine."

In impotence and low sperm count—Probably the most published use of Ashwagandha is its effect on the male reproductive system. Take a tsp of the root powder with warm milk everyday for sexual vitality and to improve the sperm count.

In low body weight and weakness—Ashwagandha can be prepared as a lehyam (confectionery) with sugar candy crystals, ghee and honey. A tsp of this lehyam should be taken everyday with warm milk for tissue building and to enhance general strength.

As a nervine tonic—The same lehya preparation can be taken in doses of a tsp twice a day for nervine disorders such as hysteria, epilepsy, and even parkinsonism.

In leucoderma—It is a good supportive drug for treatment of leucoderma or white patches. Ashwagandharishta available in the market should be taken in doses of 20ml twice a day after food.

In painful joints and boils—Heat the leaves of Ashwagandha and apply on painful joints while still warm to relieve ache.

In poisoning—Ashwagandha is given as an antidote for aconite poisoning and to eliminate toxins accumulated in the system due to syphilis or other chronic ailments. As a special use it raises the lowered blood pressure to normal level.

ashwagandha
Modern Studies

All the alkaloids and steroidal lactones present in the crude drug have been investigated for different biological activities.

1. Free radical scavenging activity of Ashwagandha root powder was found in 15 days of experimental studies on rats. This was suggested to be responsible for its pharmacological effects.

2. Hepato protective and nephro protective (liver and kidney protective) roles of Ashwagandha were proved in metal- induced toxicity in experimental studies on mice in Indore.

3. Ashwagandha tablets improved the physical and mental health of pre-school children in clinical trials in Chennai.

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