Withania somnifera is a perennial shrub in the nightshade family. It has been used for thousands of years throughout Asia and still holds an important place in herbal formulations today. In Ayurveda, ashwagandha root is highly valued as an adaptogenic tonic. Sometimes written as ashwaganda, this well-loved root can be decocted, integrated into herbal tea blends, and tinctured.
Ashwagandha is native to India where it grows in the wild. It is also cultivated throughout the country for larger production needs. Ashwaganda is a highly revered botanical used in Ayurveda and is praised for its adaptogenic and tonic properties. In many Asian countries, all parts of the plant are utilized, and the tender leaves are eaten as a gentle nourishing herb. It has been part of their repertoire for millennia. 'Ashwagandha' literally means 'smelling like a horse' which most likely refers to its actual scent.
In Ayurveda it is a helpful sleep aid and used to balance various conditions that arise from 'vata dosha' imbalances. It is believed to encourage youth and vitality. It is considered a grounding and nourishing herb and supportive to female well-being. Bitter, sweet, astringent in flavor and energetically warming (mildly).
Ashwagandha is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen and a nervine to help cope with stress and supports overall cognitive health*.