Asgand (Withania somnifera) Ashwagandha is a pantropic native medicinal plant growing all over north-western and central India. Its roots are employed as an ingredient in a large number of ayurvedic medicines. It has adaptogenic, immune-modulator, aphrodisinc, anti-stress and mildly sedative properties. It provides remedy for general debility, fatigue, stress-induced disorders, dropsy, dyspepsia, hiccup, joint pains, improves male potency, reduces neurosis and inflammation in the lungs. It contains a large number of alkaloids and withaniols (0.13-0.60%). These are found in the bark. Withaniol group of alkaloids (withanine and pseudo-withanine) are therapeutically important. The roots of cultivated crop contain up to 50% of these alkaloids, whereas roots of wild plants are rich in 3-troppy1 tigolate. Leaves contain anaferine but are not marketed commercially. At present, 4,000 -5,000 ha area is under its cultivation mainly in Madhya Pradesh and neighboring districts (Kota and Churu of Rajasthan).
Asgand is perennial, branched, evergreen under-shrub, 60-120cm tall plants. The plants are large, bear simple, opposite, ovate leaves and green to dull yellow flowers. The fruit is a small, globose berry, orange in colour but turning red on maturing. The seeds are small, light, flat and light yellow.
The cropcan grow over a wide variety of soils in subtropical, low rainfall regions but prefers well-drained, light sandy loam, medium fertile soils of 6-8 pH. It is grown as a long-duration, winter annual (240 days) on marginal lands in Madhya Pradesh as a rainfed crop. Late winter showers favour its good root development. The cultivated crop grows 30- 75cm tall.
Jawahar asgand 20 is the only high-yielding variety. It produces sparsely branched plants with long tap roots. On maturity, the roots become 1-2cm in deameter only. Thick roots are not favoured because of thir high starch content.
Arabic Name : Kaknaje Hindee, Simm al-faraakh
Bengali Name : Ashwagandha
Chinese Name : Cui mian shui qie
English Name : Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng
German Name : Schlafbeere
Gujarati Name : Asan, Asoda, Asgandha, Asundha, Ghodakun
Hindi Name : Asgandh, Nagori Asgandh, Aksan
Kannada Name : Hiremaddinegida, Kiremallinagida, Asvagandhi, Angarberu
Kashmiri Name : Asgandh
Latin name : Withania somnifera Dunal.
Marathi Name : Asagandha, Askagandha, Askandha
Persian Name : Bari Behman
Punjabi Name : Asgandh, Ashwagandha, Aksan
Sanskrit Name : Ashwagandha
Urdu Name : Asgand Nagori
Asgand is raised from seeds, sown directly during august-end. The seed are treated with thiram or Diathane M-45 (3g/kg) to protect them from seed-borne pathogens. They germinate in a week. The plants are thinned after 30 days ,maintaining a population of 6 lakh plants/ha. The rots are dug out during early-february-mid-march when lower leaves begin to dry up. It gives 6-7 q of dry roots/ha in well-managed fields.
Ashwagandha root is a herb of the ages. It is the ‘ginseng’ of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of India and is considered an ‘adaptogen’, a term used to describe herbs that improve physical energy and athletic ability, increase immunity to colds and infections and increase sexual capacity and fertility.
One reason for ashwagandha’s reputation as a general energy-promoting, disease-preventing tonic may be its effect on the immune system. A number of studies have shown significant increases in white blood cell counts and other measures of strengthened immunity in rodents given ashwagandha or certain chemicals extracted from the herb. Ashwagandha may also have a mild sedative effect on the central nervous system and in animal studies it has been shown to be a muscle relaxant. It is commonly used to increase vitality, particularly when recovering from chronic illnesses and pain management for arthritic conditions. Ashwagandha may also help regulate blood sugar which aids in suppressing sugar cravings. Research shows ashwagandha may be a promising alternative for cancer treatment and prevention. Ashwagandha seems to show positive effects on the endocrine, cardio, and central nervous systems. It is one herb that could help your body produce it’s own thyroid hormones.
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Ashwagandha is used to restore male libido, cure impotence and increase male fertility. It is widely used in southern Asia as a male sexuality tonic
Preliminary studies indicate that the herb helps to reduce the negative effects of stress, slow tumour growth, treat anxiety and insomnia, and reduce cholesterol in addition to increasing sexual performance.