Ashwagandha, Also known as ‘Indian Ginseng’ and ‘Indian Winter Cherry’, Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine history. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means ‘smell of the horse’ which refers to both its unique smell and the ability to increase strength and immunity.
An evergreen shrub, native to India and North Africa, it was once believed that consuming this extract would make the person gain horse like strength and vitality.
Growing And Cultivating Ashwagandha
A short, tender perennial shrub, Ashwagandha grows 14 – 30m tall with branches that extend radially from the central stem. The shrub has dull green leaves about 5 inches in length and it bears fruits that are orangish red in color. Extracts from the root and leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions.
Ashwagandha prefers dry soil with sun to partial shade. It can be grown from seeds or from plant cuttings. It is a drought tolerant plant and can survive with low rainfall. For cultivation, the seeds have to be planted 2 cm deep, 10 cm apart. The seeds will germinate in two weeks and after the month they have to be transferred and replanted with a gap of about 50-60cm between them.
The plant is ready to harvest in approximately 180 days, when the leaves dry out and the flower and berries start to form. For harvesting, the plant needs to be dug out carefully with a small tool while ensuring there is in no damage to the roots. After harvesting the roots are separated, washed, cleaned and dried in sun or shade.
Though the leaves and fruits are rich in health benefits it is the extract of the roots that are used most commonly for most ailments.
Ashwagandha is classified as an “adaptogen”, meaning it helps the body to manage daily stress, fight symptoms of anxiety, depression and boosts the brains. It helps improve the brains memory function and helps with the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson and Alzhiemer’s.
Many of its health benefits can be credited to the high concentration of withanolides, which is proven to fight tumor growth and inflammation. It also helps reduce blood sugar levels, boost immunity, give relief from joint pains and fights insomnia.
Overall ashwagandha is a rich anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and hormone balancing herb that ensures you have vital energy during the day and peaceful sleep at night.
Ayurveda And Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is bitter, pungent and sweet herb that pacifies kapha and vata doshas.
Ashwagandha holds a prominent place as a rasayana herb in ayurveda. It is also known as ‘Sattvic Kapha Rasayana’. A rasayana is an herbal preparation that promotes a healthy and happy mind and body.
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is also refered to as balya, known to improve energy, increase stamina and endurance.
It has been used to relieve stress and improve concentration and sleep for more than 3000 years. Fresh leaves are bitter and help in giving relief from fever and swellings. The flowers are astringent and are considered to be a diuretic and aphrodisiac. The paste made from the roots and water when applied on joints, gives relief from inflammation.
We have used Ashwagandha in:
Quick Facts :
|Scientific Name:||Withania somnifera|
|Cultivated in:||India, Nort Africa|
|Other names:||Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry|
|Habitat||Semi Tropical with medium to low rainfall|
|Soil||Loose, deep, well-drained|
|Plant Size||14 – 30m|
|Aroma||smells like a horse|
|Plant parts used||Roots, Leaves, Seeds|
Known As In:
Ayurvedic Facts :
|Taste:||Bitter, Pungent, Sweet|
|Effect on Doshas:||Pacifies kapha and vata|
|Used for Treating:||Stress, insomnia, inflammation, joint pains, depression, anxiety|