Also known as Indian ginseng and Withania somnifera.
Ashwaganda is derived from the roots and leaves of the Withania somnifera shrub. It is part of the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine, and the entire plant is used, as it is believed that all the plant compounds work together. In Western medicine however, researchers are tending to isolate one or two active ingredients within the herb for use as a treatment.
Ashwaganda has been used for over 1000 years as a mild sedative and treatment for stress, arthritis, infertility and impotence. It is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, helping to reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, and similar problems.
Because of the effect it has on the many different systems of the body, it is reputed to be an overall tonic - similar to ginseng - helping to promote health and vitality, and also to increase stamina, physical and mental performance. Being a general tonic, it also helps to maintain the body’s equilibrium and strength, so improving the ability to withstand stressful situations often encountered in modern lifestyles.
Ashwaganda is also believed to be an effective aphrodisiac, and the herb is sold in combination with other herbal supplements that improve sexual desire and function, such as puncturevine.