Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) or winter cherry is very revered herb of the Indian Ayurvedic system (the traditional system of medicine in India) as a Rasayana (tonic). Commonly known as “Indian Ginseng”, it is one of the most important herb 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. This sattvic Kapha Rasayana is available as a churna, a fine sieved powder that can be mixed with water, ghee or honey. It enhances the function of the brain and nervous system and improves the memory. It improves the function of the reproductive system promoting a healthy sexual and reproductive balance. Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body’s resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body’s defense mechanism against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
This small hairy under shrub tastes bitter and offers roots and leaves that are used as rejuvenating tonifier in medicine. The root smells like horse (“ashwa”) and acts as aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-depressive, immunomodulatory and antioxidant. Its anti-arthritic action reduces inflammation and painful swellings in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. It is also useful in stress-induced gastric troubles and ulcers. This Medhyarasayan helps in treating neurological disorders, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, etc.