Withania somnifera

Indický ženšen Witánie snodárná

Botanical Name

Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal.




Physalis somnifera L., Withania kansuensis Kuang & A. M. Lu., Withania microphysalis Suess.

Regional Name

English :-Indian ginseng, Winter Cherry, Hindi : Asgandh, Sanskrit : Hayagandha, Vajigandha, Urdu : Asgand, Punjabi : Asgandh, Assamese : Ashvagandha, Bengali : Ashvagandha, Gujrati : Asgandha, Kannada : Angarberu, Hiremaddina-gida, Kashmiri : Asagandh, Malayalam : Amukkuram, Marathi : Asagandha, Askagandha, Oriya : Aswagandha, Tamil : Amukkaramkizangu, Telugu : Pennerugadda.

Part Used



Ashwagandha is globally distributed from Africa, Mediterranean, India to Sri Lanka. Within India, it is distributed in the sub-Himalayan tracts, ascending upto an altitude of 1000 m. It is a perennial shrub, found in waste land, widely cultivated in certain areas of Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and throughout the drier parts of India. Ashwagandha is a short, tender perennial shrub growing 35–75 cm (14–30 in) tall. Tomentose branches extend radially from a central stem. Leaves are dull green, elliptic, usually up to 10–12 cm long. Roots are straight, unbranched, thickness varying with age. Roots bear fibre-like secondary roots, outer surface buff to grey-yellow colour, cylindrical with longitudinal wrinkles, fracture, short and uneven, characteristic odour and taste are bitter and acrid. The fresh roots smell similar to urine of horse (ashwagandha). The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. The ripe fruit is orange-red.


The main constituents of Ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones. Alkaloids contains withanine, withananine, pseudo-withanine, somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, tropane, pseudo tropane, choline, cuscohygrine, isopelletierine, anaferine , anahydrine, Sitoindoside VII and sitoindoside VIII. The steroidal lactones contains Withanolides (withaferin).

Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa : Tikta, Kasaya, Guna : Laghu, Vipaka : Madhura, Virya : Usna, Karma : Balya, Rasayana, Vatakaphapaha, Vajikarana.

Ayurvedic Applications

Daurbalya, Kasaya, Klaibya, Sotha, Vataroga.

Medicinal Uses

The whole plant of Bhuiamla is used to treat jaundice, chronic dysentery, leucorrhoea, dyspepsia, Bronchitis, Bronchial asthma, cough, fever, flu, viral hepatitis, indigestion, diabetes, urinary tract diseases, gonorrhoea and diseases of urinogenital system, skin diseases, ulcer, sores, pain and swelling.