What other names is Ashwagandha known by?
Ajagandha, Amangura, Amukkirag, Asan, Asana, Asgand, Asgandh, Asgandha, Ashagandha, Ashvagandha, Ashwaganda, Ashwanga, Asoda, Asundha, Asvagandha, Aswagandha, Avarada, Ayurvedic Ginseng, Cerise d'Hiver, Clustered Wintercherry, Ghoda Asoda, Ginseng Ayurvédique, Ginseng Indien, Hayahvaya, Indian Ginseng, Kanaje Hindi, Kuthmithi, Orovale, Peyette, Physalis somnifera, Samm Al Ferakh, Samm Al Rerakh, Sogade-Beru, Strychnos, Turangi-Ghanda, Vajigandha, Winter Cherry, Withania, Withania somnifera.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a plant. The root and berry are used to make medicine.
Ashwagandha has a lot of uses. But so far, there isn't enough information to judge whether it is effective for any of them.
Ashwagandha is used for arthritis
, bipolar disorder
, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
), balance, trouble sleeping (insomnia
), tumors, tuberculosis
, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis
, backache, fibromyalgia
, menstrual problems, hiccups
, Parkinson's disease
, and chronic liver disease
. It is also used to reduce side effects of medications used to treat cancer
. Ashwagandha is used to reduce levels of fat and sugar
in the blood.
Ashwagandha is also used as an "adaptogen" to help the body cope with daily stress
, and as a general tonic.
Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging
. It is also used for fertility
problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire.
Ashwagandha is applied to the skin for treating wounds
, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).
The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as "horse-like."
In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as "Indian ginseng." Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments.
Don't confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry.
Possibly Effective for...
- Stress. Taking a specific ashwagandha root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed, Hyderabad, India) 300 mg twice daily after food for 60 days appears to improve symptoms of stress.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Reducing side effects associated with medications called antipsychotics. Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia but they can cause levels of fat and sugar in the blood to increase. Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Cap Strelaxin, M/s Pharmanza Herbal Pvt. Ltd., Gujarat, India) 400 mg three times daily for one month might reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood in people using these medications.
- Anxiety. Some clinical research shows that taking ashwagandha can reduce some symptoms of anxiety or anxious mood.
- Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some clinical research shows that a combination herbal product containing ashwagandha may improve attention and impulse control in children with ADHD. The effect of ashwagandha alone is unclear.
- Bipolar disorder. Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Sensoril, Natreon, Inc., New Bruswick, New Jersey) for 8 weeks might improve brain function in people being treated for bipolar disorder.
- A brain condition called cerebellar ataxia. Preliminary research shows that ashwagandha in combination with an alternative form of medicine known as Ayurvedic therapy might improve balance in people with cerebellar ataxia.
- Fatigue in people treated for cancer (chemotherapy). Early research suggests taking a specific ashwagandha extract 2,000 mg (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) during chemotherapy treatment might reduce feelings of tiredness.
- Diabetes. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- High cholesterol. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol.
- Male infertility. Some preliminary clinical evidence suggests that ashwagandha might improve sperm quality, but not sperm count, in infertile men. It is not known if taking ashwagandha can actually improve fertility.
- Arthritis. There is preliminary research that ashwagandha taken in a particular supplement (Articulin-F) along with other ingredients might improve arthritis symptoms. The impact of ashwagandha alone in osteoarthritis is unclear.
- Parkinson's disease. Preliminary research suggests that a combination of herbs including ashwagandha improves Parkinson's symptoms. The effect of ashwagandha alone in Parkinson's is unknown.
- Altering immune system function.
- Inducing vomiting.
- Liver problems.
- Preventing the signs of aging.
- Swelling (inflammation).
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ashwagandha for these uses.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.