Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) also commonly known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family.

Ashwagandha is an important herb that has been used for centuries in the traditional Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine and is prescribed by herbalists as a Rasayana (tonic).

In India the literal meaning of “Ashwagandha” is “smell of horse”, this is because the smell of the fresh roots emit a smell of horse and secondly as it is traditionally believed consumption results in developing the strength and vitality of a horse.

Modern clinical research has confirmed that Ashwagandha exerts adaptogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress/cortisol reduction, anxiolytic, neuroprotective, and thyroid hormone modulating properties.

Ashwagandha Medicinal Herb Profile

Scientific Name

Withania somnifera

Common Names

Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry



Active Constituents

The biologically active chemical constituents of Withania somnifera (WS) include alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine, cuseohygrine, anahygrine, etc.), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins) and saponins (Mishra, 2000 et al., 2000). [1]

Traditional Usages

Adaptogen, Gout, Nervine Tonic, Memory Enhancer, Increase energy, strength, vigor and overall vitality, Infertility and to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Evidence-Based Health Benefits

Anti-Anxiety & Anti-Stress

A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study published 2012 of the Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults concluded:

The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life. [2]

A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) concluded: All five studies concluded that WS intervention resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases) than placebo in outcomes on anxiety or stress scales. [3]


Research reports based largely on preclinical studies as well as few clinical trials have highlighted the neuroprotective role of Ashwagandha against many neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The protective effects of Ashwagandha were accomplished by restoring mitochondrial and endothelial function, mitigation of apoptosis, inflammation and oxidative stress mechanisms.

The pre-clinical as well as clinical studies suggest the use of Withania somnifera (L.) against neurodegenerative disease. [4]

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

A prospective, randomized, double-blind, single-center placebo-controlled study published in 2017 concluded:

Treatment with ashwagandha may be beneficial for normalizing thyroid indices in subclinical hypothyroid patients. [5]

May Improve (VO2max)

A systematic review and meta-analysis published 2020 on the effect of Ashwagandha supplementation on maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) concluded:

In conclusion, Ashwagandha supplementation might improve the VO2max in athlete and non-athlete people. [6]

Recommended Products

KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a branded, full-spectrum extract, with the highest concentration of all major root only extracts available on the market today. It is produced using a unique proprietary extraction process, based on “Green Chemistry” principles, without using alcohol or any other chemical solvent.

Jarrow Formulas’ Ashwagandha contains KSM-66, a high concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha extract.

Available to purchase from Amazon at: Jarrow Formulas Ashwagandha KSM-66 300mg 120 Vegan Capsules


[1] An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda

[2] A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults

[3] An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

[4] Neurodegenerative diseases and Withania somnifera (L.): An update

[5] Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial

[6] Effects of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) on VO 2max: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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