The Amazing History & Origins of Ashwaghanda

Aug 04, 2023


Ashwagandha, in its most literal sense, means the scent of a horse in Sanskrit. This is one of the most well-documented herbs with its origins in 6000 BC. Ashwagandha has been named an important drug in the Rasayana and Vajikarana Chikitsa branch of Ayurveda where there is a focus on using ashwagandha to increase the virality, vitality and immunity of an individual. Not just Ayurveda, one can find references to this plant in other traditional medicine streams such as Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and homoeopathy.


It is believed that an early mention of this plant was found in one of the highly regarded and oldest Ayurvedic texts by the medical practitioner Charaka (200 BC and 200 AD) called Charaka Samhita. Permutations and combinations of various parts of the ashwagandha plant have been used to treat a variety of skin, respiratory and rheumatic ailments. Did you know? Even the Greeks have used ashwagandha since olden times.

Unani (which is a traditional medical practice originating in Greece) has references to asgandh (as mentioned in Greek literature) used to increase virility in men and also to relieve mental stress. Persian writer Ibn Sina also named the uses of this herb in his book Kitab Al-Qanun fit-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine). Since then, ashwagandha has evolved as a modern-day super herb which is promoted for its various health benefits and as an essential ingredient to be included in skincare and overall wellness routine.


1. Stress Reduction: Ashwagandha is often used as an adaptogen, which means it may help the body better cope with stress. It may reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone, and promote a sense of relaxation.

2. Anxiety and Mood Improvement: Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may have a calming effect on the nervous system and improve mood.

3. Enhanced Cognitive Function: Ashwagandha has been associated with improved cognitive function and memory. It may enhance attention, concentration, and overall mental clarity.

4. Immune System Support: This herb has immune-boosting properties and may help strengthen the body's natural defenses against infections.

5. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Ashwagandha contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, so this effect can be beneficial.

6. Improved Sleep Quality: Some individuals report better sleep quality and duration when using ashwagandha. It may help regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

7. Hormone Balance: Ashwagandha may have a positive impact on hormonal balance, particularly in women. It may help regulate hormones such as cortisol and thyroid hormones.

8. Antioxidant Protection: It contains antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

9. Muscle Strength and Recovery: Athletes and individuals involved in physical activities sometimes use ashwagandha to support muscle strength, endurance, and faster recovery from exercise-induced fatigue.

10. Anti-Aging Benefits: Some research suggests that ashwagandha's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help slow the aging process and improve skin health.