Botanical name: Withania somnifera
Other names: Winter cherry, Indian ginseng, withania
Part used: Root & leaves
Taste (Rasa): Bitter (tikta), astringent (kasaya), sweet (madhur)
Energy (veerya): Heating
Characteristic (guna): Light (lagu), unctuous (snighda)
Post-digestive effect (vipak): Sweet
Dosha effect: decreases vata and kapha. If used in excess it will increase pitta and ama (toxins).
Action (karma): Adaptogen, nervine tonic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator, anti-tumour, nervine, anti-asthmatic, antistress, expectorant, diuretic, increases ojas, rejuvenating (rasayana), anti-inflammatory, muscle tonic, restores a good sleeping pattern, treats ADHD.
Dose: Use 1 to 2 teaspoons daily.
Contraindications: Caution in pregnancy.
Ashwaganda increases strength, useful in convalescents and as an anabolic muscle builder. Used in autoimmune conditions, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and cancer. Strengthens a weakened immune system. Used for asthma, cough and allergic conditions (ie. hay fever & rhinitis) from low immunity with high kapha and vata. It is an expectorant and has anti-asthmatic properties so is useful in treating coughs. It’s calming effects are useful in neurosis (stress), insomnia, anxiety and attention and hyperactivity disorder. Restores a good sleeping pattern if used as a treatment, note it’s botanical name of somnifera which promotes sleep. Increases sperm mobility and sperm count while nourishing the reproductive tissues and has aphrodiasic properties. It is useful in low fertility. An excellent tonic to the uterine muscles and used in menstrual imbalance caused by an aggravation of vata. Straightens the urinary system and is a diuretic. It is very useful in hypothyroid disorders.
Ref: ‘Ayurvedic Medicine by Sebastian Pole; ‘Ayurvedic Pharmacology & Therapeutic Uses of Medicinal Plants’ by Vaidya V.M. Gogte; ‘Yogi of Herbs’ by V. Lad & D. Frawley; ‘Herbs Are Special’ by Isabel Shipard.