Ashwagandha

Definition - What does Ashwagandha mean?

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is an adaptogenic herb used in the traditional Indian medical system of Ayurveda. An adaptogenic herb is one that heals by reducing stress and thereby protecting, balancing and restoring the body.

Ashwaganda's name comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and means “smell of a horse,” from azva (“horse”) and gandha (“smell” or “scent”). It is so named to indicate it can make the immune system strong (like a horse). The root of the plant is also said to smell like horse sweat.

Yogapedia explains Ashwagandha

A member of the nightshade family, ashwagandha is also known by its botanical name, Withania somnifera.

In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is thought to balance two of the three doshas (energies that control the body's functions): vata and kapha. It is also believed to have these benefits:

  • Boosts vitality and energy
  • Improves cognition
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Improves sleep
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Promotes nerve growth
  • Boosts sexual potency
  • Improves depression

Ashwagandha is taken in capsule or powder form or as a tincture.

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