The extract is derived form the roots of Withania somnifera belonging to family Solanaceae. It is commonly known as Ashwagandha which indicates the equine (of horses) odor of the plant. Its main use, as described in Ayurvedic literature, is as a “rasayana” or rejuvenating drug and hence also traditionally known as Avarada which suggests the application of this plant for enhancing longevity. Withania somnifera is one of the best known and most researched Ayurvedic herbs and holds a place in the Ayurvedic traditions similar to Ginseng in Chinese therapies. For that reason, Withania somnifera has been often referred to as the “Indian Ginseng”. Withania somnifera is used in several indigenous drug preparations for maintaining health as well as treatment of several disease conditions. Its main use is as an immunomodulator and as an antistress. Withania contains number of phytoconstituents, withanolides as the major constituent.
TOXICITY & USES
Various compounds isolated from Withania Somnifera (trivially named Withanolides) are now being investigated as highly promising and non-toxic anti-tumoral drugs. The remarkable immuno-modulating properties of Withania Somnifera (Ashvaganda) are also being clinically investigated. Chinese medicine recommends the root in cases of : nervousism, insomnia, weakness, anemia, rheumatic pains, general debility, impotence and infertility among other conditions.