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Asgandh or Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Family: Solanaceae
English Name: Indian Ginseng, Winter cherry, Withania root
Common Indian Names
Gujarati - Asam, Asoda, Ghodasoda
Hindi - Asgandh
Canarese - Amangura, Hirimaddina-gadde, Sogada-bery.
Marathi - Asgundh, Kanchuki, Askandha
Sanskrit - Ashvagandha, Balada, Gandhpatri, Kamrupini, Vajini
Bengali - Ashvagandh
Tamil - Asuragandi
Telugu - Asvagandhi, Penneru
Urdu - Asgandanagaori

Botanical Description: Please see Table – I

Useful Parts: Root, leaves, Green berries and seeds.

Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, the root is bitter, acrid, heating, aphrodisiac, tonic, alternative, anthelmintic and useful in treatment of inflammations, psoriasis, bronchitis, asthma, consumption, ulcers, scabies, marasmus of children, insomnia, senile debility etc. According to Unani system of medicine, the root is bitter, tonic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, good in asthma, inflammations, leucoderma, bronchitis, lumbago, thirst etc.

Major Alkaloids: Somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, pseudo-withanine, tropino, pseudotropine, choline, cuscohygrine, isolettetierine, anaferine, anahydrine, 3-alpha-gloyloxy tropane, etc.


Agharkar, S.P. 1991. Medicinal plants of Bombay Presidency. Pbl. Scientific Publishers, Jodhurpur, India.

Krishnamurthy, T.1993. Minor forest products of India. Pbl. Oxford and IBH publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India.

Lindley, J. 1985. Flora Medica. Pbl. Ajay Book Service, New Delhi, India.

Singh, U; Wadhwani, A.M. and Johri, B.M. 1996. Dictionary of Economical Plants of India. Pbl. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India.

Verma, D.M. Balakrishnan, N.P. and Dixit, R.D. 1993. Flora of Madhya Pradesh. Vol. I. Pbl. Botanical survey of India, Kolkata, India.

Common differences between Withania somnifera and Withania coagulans

  Withiania somnifera Withania coagulans
Synonyms Physalis somnifera Punneria coagulans
Local name Asgandh Punir
Plant A much branched, erect, perennial undershrub, from a more or less tuberous root A rigid, ashy-grey undershurb
Branches Terete, clothed with mealy, stellate-hoary tomentum, at length some what glabrous Woody, terete, densely clothed with mealy, stellate tomentum, sulcate when dry
Leaves 5-10×3.6 cm, ovate, obtovate, or oblong, subacute or rarely obtuse, entire, rounded or somewhat produced at base, Pubescent on lower surface and glabrous on upper surface 2-7×1-2.5 cm, elliptic-lanceolate or oblanceolate, coriaceous, obtuse at apex, both surfaces uniformly grey-tomentose due to thick coating of minute, stellate hairs
Flowers in sessile, axillary, 4-6 flowered cymes, greenish-yellow Unisexual
Fruits Orange-red berry, smooth, more or less globose Globose, smooth
Seeds Yellow, somewhat scurfy Ear-shaped, glabrous

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Last modified: July 15 2020 by aw