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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

on this pageASHWAGANDA
aka Ashvanganda, Ashwagandha, Winter Cherry, Withania
(Withania Somnifera)

CAUTION! Toxic if eaten. Not to be used often.

DRUG INTERACTION: Not taken in combination with barbituates.

CONTRAINDICATED: Not used during pregnancy.

CONTAINS: Active constituent is a bitter alkaloid somniferin which acts as a sedative.

A small tender perennial shrub of the Solanaceae family found in warm climates. As important in Ayurvedic medicine as ginseng is in Chinese medicine. The herb is said to have a "horse-like" smell.

PROPAGATION: By seed sown in spring or by greenwood cuttings with a heel in late spring. Tender perennial which is grown as an annual in the north. Small shrub. The plant is said to smell "horsey".
NEEDS: Full to part sun. Average soil (grows well on dry, stony soil in sun or part shade). Member of the nightshade family. Plant plays host to Colorado potato beetle; treat accordingly. Plant should be cut back in early spring.
HARVESTt: Root (most active part); fruiting branches (craft); seeds (culinary), berries (crafts), leaves. Roots are dried for use in medicinal "ghee", medicinal oil, pastes and powders.
PART USED: The roots are used for medicinal purposes.


Secondary adaptagen, bittersweet, astringent, warming, antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, sedative, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, hypnotic, diuretic, insecticidal; acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems with action on the lungs and kidneys. Leaves are antibiotic, antiviral, and insecticidal.
Primary strengthening tonic used in Ayurveda.
Traditionally recommended for indigestion, heart disease, arthritis, lumbar pain, fevers; also used internally for debility, insomnia, convalescence, nervous exhaustion, geriatric complaints, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility, joint and nerve pains, Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatism, sores, boils, senile debility, asthma and as a memory improver.
Has been used as a general strengthening medicine for children and those recovering from illness.
Has shown strong tumor inhibiting activity.
Marked anti-inflammatory effect without side effects.
Has been used to promote sleep and to support yoga and meditation..
Has been used to promote healing of broken bones.
Has been used on boils, swellings and other pain.
In Chinese medicine it has been used as a "yang" tonic, aphrodisiac, sedative and astringent. And used to treat impotence, infertility, weakness of the back and knees, joint and nerve pain, arthritis, insomnia, neurasthenia, weakness of the mind, wasting diseases, convalescence, poor growth in children, diseases of aging.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
Is usually given as a milk decoction with raw sugar or honey. 5 tsp of dried herb to 1 C. boiling water taken 2 to 2 C. per day.
POWDER = 3 grams of powder taken 2 times daily in boiled warm milk.
IN FORMULAS = 3 to 12 grams in combination with other herbs.
INFUSION = Taken as a tea by simmering 1 part root in 10 parts water for 30 minutes and taken twice daily about 1/2 to 1 oz at a time.

Seeds used as rennet to coagulate milk.

Fruiting branches for dried arrangements.

Berries used as soap.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH