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Ajay Mandal* and Jagan Mohan Reddy


Withania somnifera also known as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, and winter cherry, it has been an important herb in the Ayurvedic and indigenous medical systems for over 3000 years. Ashwagandha is a small, woody shrub in the Solanaceae family that grows about two feet in height. The roots of the plant are categorised as rasayanas, which are reputed to promote health and longevity by augmenting defence against disease, arresting the ageing process, revitalising the body in debilitated conditions, increasing the capability of the individual to resist adverse environmental factors and by creating a sense of mental wellbeing.[1] It is in use for a very long time for all age groups and both sexes and even during pregnancy without any side effects.[2] The pharmacological effects of the roots of WS are attributed to the presence of withanolides, a group of steroidal lactones.[3] Its leaves are used in Ayurvedic and Unani systems for treatment of tumors and tubercular glands.[4] A number of withanolide steroidal lactones have been isolated from the leaves of W. somnifera.[5] And exhibit antibacterial, anti-fungal and antitumor properties.[6] Ashwagandha is used to calm the mind, relieve weakness and nervous exhaustion, build sexual energy and promote healthy sleep. The herb is termed a rasayana. in Ayurvedic practice, which means it acts as a tonic for vitality and longevity. It is also classified as an adaptogen.[7] Two varieties of Asgand have been mentioned in classical Unani literatue: 1) Asgand Nagori and 2) Asgand Dakani. Asgand Nagori is preferred for its more potential medicinal properties.[8]

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