What is Ashvagandha? - Full information, usage, benefits and side effects

What is Ashvagandha? - Full information, usage, benefits and side effects

Ashvagandha Powder (Withania somnifera Dunal) - Ashvagandha is a perennial shrub, found in waste lands, cultivated fields and open grounds throughout India. It is widely cultivated in India. The roots are collected in winter, washed and cut into short pieces. Ashvagandha is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in Indian medicine for a varied range of physical and psychological ailments.The plant is best known for its tonic,antistress and vigour- and vitality-enhancing properties.

Composition -  Ashvagandha powder consists of dried mature roots of Withania somnifera Dunal.

English name - Winter cherry
Latin name - Withania somnifera Dunal.
Family -  Solanaceae Parts used Root.

Main chemical constituents - Alkaloids and withanolides.

Dosage form - Cream-coloured fine powder

Therapeutic properties - 

(1) Ashvagandha is a tonic, anti-stress, adaptogenic, somniferous, stimulant, vitalizer, aphrodisiac and immuno-enhancer.

(2) Pharmacological studies have confirmed its immuno-modulatory, cyto-protective, anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties.
Indications and uses Ashvagandha powder is useful in malaise, debility, impotence, neurasthenia, mental stress and fatigue.

Precautions and safety aspects -

(1) Malaise persisting for more than a week must be properly investigated and the underlying cause should be ascertained before starting Ashvagandha.

(2) Concomitant use of alcohol and psychotropic drugs should preferably be avoided while using Ashvagandha powder.

(3) Individuals with hot constitution should take a smaller dose of Ashvagandha and should avoid excessive consumption of hot beverages, sour, spicy and stimulant foods.

(4) Ashvagandha powder is generally considered as safe. Used in a dose of up to 9 grams per day for four weeks, it is reported to be well-tolerated.

(5) Larger doses of Ashvagandha may possess abortifacient property and thus contraindicated during pregnancy. Even normal dose should be given to pregnant women under medical supervision.

(6) It is safe for the baby if a nursing mother is taking Ashvagandha.

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