What is Withania Somnifera? What are the Benefits of Indian Ginseng, Uses and Side Effects of Ashwagandha Root? Winter Cherry Tea

Table of Content

1. Introduction
2. What is Withania Somnifera? 
3. Ayurvedic properties of Withania Somnifera
4. Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
5. Uses of Ashwagandha
6. Side Effects of Withania Somnifera
7. Ashwagandha Recipes
8. Frequently Asked Question

1. Introduction

Withania Somnifera, commonly known as Ashwagandha, is a herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed to have a range of health benefits, such as reducing stress, improving brain function, and enhancing muscle strength. However, it can also cause side effects such as digestive issues and drowsiness. This article will explore the potential benefits, uses, and side effects of Ashwagandha, as well as provide a recipe for Winter Cherry Tea - a tasty way to incorporate this herb into your daily routine.

2. What is Withania somnifera?

Ashwagandha Herb is a small or middle-sized, erect shrub, growing up to 1.5 meters tall. Its stems and branches are covered with minute star-shaped hairs. It has egg-shaped, hairy leaves, small pale green flowers, and smooth, spherical, red fruit with yellow seeds. 

The Withania somnifera contains an alkaloid somniferine, its roots contain traces of essential oil. The water-soluble portion of root extract contains indefinite amorphous substances and a quantity of sugar. 

The water-soluble extract consists chiefly of a black resin that contains, besides other constituents, a mixture of some fatty acids. It also contains potassium nitrate, tannin, coloring matter, glucose, and some alkaloids. 

Ashwagandha botanical name is Withania somnifera, some common names are Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Winter Cherry, Poison Gooseberry, and Asgandh, it is mainly found in India, Africa, and the middle east.

It is used in Ayurveda for 3000 years; it is a powerful osteoarthritic and anti-inflammatory plant. Leaf, Seed, and Roots are mainly used in Ayurveda for medicinal benefits.

Withania somnifera is termed in Ayurveda as a Rasayana, which means it acts as a tonic for vitality and longevity. It is a tremendous potential and energizing medicinal herb that is used by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries. It is rich in iron and contains alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins.

Indian Ginseng Leaves

The leaves of the tree are ovate, sub-opposite, and alternate to each other, they are dark green and 10cm long. Leaves possessed a narcotic action, it is used to heal wounds and skin infections. It is also used for the treatment of tumors and tubercular glands.

Withania somnifera leaves

Winter Cherry Flower

Flowers of Withania somnifera are yellowish-green and found in clusters but only one can be flowering at any time and are easily overlooked due to the color being the same as the leaves.

Ashwagandha Flower

Ashwagandha Fruit & Seed

The fruit of Withania somnifera is red and yellow berry shape in 6 mm in diameter, it contains a considerable amount of saponins. The fruits are mainly dry and filled with seeds that are not edible. Seeds are mainly used for sowing and germination purposes.

Ashwagandha Fruit

 Ashwagandha Roots

Ashwagandha roots are mainly used in Ayurveda, it is considered a phototherapeutic agent to cure various ailments. The primarily compound of the roots is withanolides, which are known for their extraordinary medicinal properties.

Withania somnifera root

3. Ayurvedic properties of Withania Somnifera

Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng, is one of the most important and revered herbs in Ayurveda. It has been used for thousands of years for its numerous medicinal properties and is considered an adaptogenic herb.

Ayurvedic properties of Withania somnifera:

1. Rasa (Taste): Ashwagandha is believed to have a combination of bitter (Tikta) and astringent (Kashaya) tastes.

2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is sweet (Madhura Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Withania somnifera primarily balances Vata and Kapha doshas. Its heating nature may increase Pitta dosha in excess.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Adaptogenic and Stress-Relieving: Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress and supports overall well-being. It is used to manage stress, anxiety, and nervous exhaustion.

  2. Nervine Tonic: The herb is valued for its calming and nourishing effects on the nervous system. It may enhance cognitive function, memory, and focus.

  3. Rejuvenative: Ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana (rejuvenating herb) that helps promote vitality, longevity, and overall health.

  4. Energy and Stamina: It is used to improve energy levels and physical endurance, making it beneficial for athletes and individuals with low energy.

  5. Immune Support: Ashwagandha is believed to enhance the body's natural defense mechanisms and boost immunity.

  6. Sleep Aid: It is used as a natural remedy for sleep disorders and to promote restful sleep.

  7. Reproductive Health: Ashwagandha is considered an aphrodisiac and is used to support male reproductive health, including improving sperm quality and count.

  8. Anti-inflammatory: The herb possesses anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in managing inflammatory conditions and joint pain.

  9. Antioxidant: Ashwagandha is rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress

4. What are the Health Benefits of Ashwagandha?

The roots of Ashwagandha have antipyretic, analgesic, apoptogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Roots are used in more than 200 formulations; Ayurveda practitioners used this herb as a general tonic to boost energy and reduce stress and anxiety. 

It is used in serval medicinal applications for its hypnotic and sedative properties. It promotes libido, the root of the plant is a tonic and stimulant.

It increases the secretion and discharge of urine and also other forms of secretion or excretion by opening the natural pores of the body. The Ashwagandha roots and leaves possess antibiotic and antibacterial properties.

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Here are some Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha for Stress and Anxiety

Withania somnifera possesses stress-relieving properties, it helps to reduce the Cortisol hormone which is responsible for stress. It is beneficial to lower the Cortisol level and help to sleep better, if a person takes 300ml of Ashwagandha daily for 8 weeks, helps to lower anxiety and stress levels.

Ashwagandha for Diabetes

Withania somnifera is beneficial for controlling diabetes and maintaining blood sugar levels, it helps the pancreas to secrete insulin to maintain blood sugar.

Ashwagandha for Muscle and Strength

Ashwagandha helps to improve muscle mass and strength of the body, it increases muscle strength and size as well as a significant reduction in body fat percentage and post-workout muscle damage.

Ashwagandha for Male Fertility

Withania somnifera is beneficial to boost the male libido, it improves sperm quality and quantity significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels. It helps to increase the testosterone hormone in men and boost sperm quality and fertility.

Ashwagandha for Women's Sexual Health

Ashwagandha is also beneficial to women’s sexual health, it helps to improve arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction which increases the number of successful sexual encounters and improves their sex lives and sexuality. It strengthens the female reproductive organs and enhances the maturation of the eggs into follicles.

Take 6 grams of root powder of Ashwagandha with milk for 5 to 6 successive nights after menstruation. 

Caution: The herb possesses properties that can abort a fetus and hence must be avoided by pregnant women.

Ashwagandha for Heart Health

It is shown in the study that Withania somnifera helps to improve and increase VO2 level (a maximum amount of oxygen intake while physically exerting yourself) which helps the heart to perform well. It also helps to reduce chest pain.

Ashwagandha for Thyroid

Ashwagandha helps to control the thyroid, it helps to increase the secretion of thyroid hormones. That helps to maintain the thyroid level.

Ashwagandha for Skin

The leaves of the plant are beneficial in treating serval skin disorders, fomentation of the leaves is good for boils and swollen hands and feet. A paste of the leaves is locally applied to kill lice infesting the body and on carbuncles and syphilitic sores. 

An ointment prepared by boiling the leaves in fat such as ghee can be applied in case of bedsores and wounds. A paste made of its roots and leaves is a useful application for carbuncles, ulcers, and swelling.

5. Uses of Ashwagandha Herb?

Dosage and uses are dependent upon the health problems and conditions or as recommended by an Ayurvedic doctor. The general recommended dosage is 5-10 grams of Ashwagandha twice a day.

Here are the uses of Ashwagandha Herb

  • Take 5 grams of Ashwagandha powder, boil it with 1 ½ cup of water, and reduce it to 1 cup. Strain it and add honey and lemon. Drinking the decoction helps to relieve stress.
  • Take 3 grams of Withania somnifera root powder with honey or rock sugar and ghee. Mix it well and take this mixture with lukewarm milk. Helps in male infertility.
  • Take 3 grams of Withania somnifera root powder with lukewarm milk at bedtime, helps to increase stamina and sexual health.
  • Take 2 grams of Ashwagandha powder, 2 tsp of crushed almond and walnut, 1 cup of milk, and a half cup of water. Mix all ingredients in a pan and boil it for 5 minutes, helps to control blood sugar levels.
  • Take 5 grams of Ashwagandha powder with lukewarm milk, twice a day after meal. Helps to control blood sugar.
  • Take 2 grams of Ashwagandha root powder and mix it with 1 glass of lukewarm milk, drink this thrice a day. Helps to give relief from pain and arthritis.
  • Take 5 grams of Ashwagandha root powder and mix it with 1 ½ cups of water. Boil the water and reduce it to 1 cup. Strain it and mix honey and lime. Helps to control high blood pressure.
  • Take 2 grams of powder of each, Ashwagandha, lemon peel, and dried ginger. Mix it with 1 cup of water and boil it for 5 minutes. Cool down the mixture and apply it to the face. Helps to cure skin problems.

6. What are the side effects of Indian Ginseng?

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don't have any side effects but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have special health issues.

Some side effects are mentioned below.

  • Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  • If you are on diabetes or on hypertension medication. Consult first the doctor before consuming.
  • If you are suffering from kidney disease, consult the doctor first before consuming Ashwagandha.
  • Do not take Ashwagandha with liquor, it may interact with it and cause drowsiness.

7. Winter Cherry Detox Tea Recipe

It is a very simple and healthy tea that you can make at home easily in less amount of time. Here is the recipe for tea.


  • Winter cherry root powder – ½ tsp
  • Lemongrass Powder – ½ tsp
  • Ginger powder – ½ tsp
  • Black Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
  • Holy Basil leaf powder – ½ tsp
  • Water – 1 ½ cup


  • Take a pan and add all ingredients to it. Mix them all and boil them for 5 minutes or reduce them to 1 cup.
  • Strain this mixture in a cup and add lemon and honey to it.
  • If you want to add milk, then add only jaggery powder(optional) and milk in boiled tea.

Note: This post is about educating the benefits and uses of Ashwagandha Herb, consult the Ayurvedic doctor before starting.

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Read Other Uses of Withania somnifera

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8. Frequently Asked Question

Q - Who should not take ashwagandha?

Q - What are the common names for Withania somnifera?

Common names for Withania somnifera include Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, and winter cherry.

Q - Can Withania somnifera help with sleep disorders?

Withania somnifera has traditionally been used as a sleep aid in Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed to have calming properties that can help promote relaxation and support healthy sleep patterns.

Q - Can Withania somnifera boost immune function?

Withania somnifera has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects, meaning it can help regulate and support the immune system. Studies suggest that certain compounds in Withania somnifera may enhance immune cell activity and increase the production of antibodies. These immune-boosting properties may contribute to the herb's ability to help the body fight against infections and maintain overall immune health.

Q - Is Withania somnifera effective for managing chronic pain?

Withania somnifera possesses analgesic (pain-relieving) properties and has been used traditionally to alleviate various types of pain.

Q - Can Withania somnifera help with cognitive function and memory?

Withania somnifera is believed to have neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing properties. It may help improve memory, attention, and cognitive performance.

Q - Is Withania somnifera beneficial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts?

Withania somnifera is commonly used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts as an adaptogenic herb to support physical performance and recovery. It may help reduce exercise-induced stress, improve endurance, and support muscle strength. Additionally, Withania somnifera has been associated with increased testosterone levels, which may contribute to improved athletic performance and muscle gain.


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