Whithania Somnifera is a small, woody shrub in the Solanaceae family that grows about two feet in height. It can be found growing in North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India. Belonging to the same family as the tomato, it is an erect, evergreen, tomentose shrub, 30-150 cm high. Roots are stout fleshy, whitish brown; flowers are greenish or yellow, berries are small, and raisin like, orange-red when mature. The roots are the main portions of the plant used therapeutically. The bright red fruit is harvested in the late fall and seeds are dried for planting in the following spring. Parts used: Whole plant, roots, leaves, stem, green berries, fruits, seeds, and bark are all used.
Whithania Somnifera, also known as Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing, and has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions, and is most well-known for its restorative benefits. In Sanskrit Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” indicating that the herb imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion, and has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness. Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as “Indian ginseng” because of its rejuvenating properties, even though botanically, ginseng and Ashwagandha are unrelated.
Ashwagandha contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides (steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars. While the leaves and fruit have valuable therapeutic properties, the root of the Ashwagandha plant is the part most commonly used in Western herbal remedies.
- Protects the immune system.
- Reduces anxiety and depression without drowsiness.
- Helps lower cholesterol.
- Helps combat the effects of stress.
- Improves memory and reaction time
- Helps reduce brain cell degeneration.
- Stabilises blood sugar.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- Contains anti-malarial properties.
- Improves thyroid function.
- Improves Adrenal fatigue.
As with all Holistic/Complementary medicine, if unsure please seek the advice of a specialist.