Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) – Benefits and Side Effects

I was reading about smart drugs recently and that’s when I came to know that people are using an Ayurvedic medicine named “Ashwagandha” that is also known as Indian Ginseng or Withania Somnifera, for the purpose of improving the cognitive functions of the brain.

That was really an astonishing thing to know for me since I have lived in the central region of India for a very long time, I knew about this particular herb, but I never knew that it can also be used for such purposes.

After reading about this Ayurvedic medicine in detail I am writing this post in order to help people know whether this herb really has such benefits as we have heard or if it is just a myth.

What Is Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng?

Ashwagandha has been considered as a very powerful medicine by the ancient Indian Ayurveda science.

It is a plant that has different medicinal benefits. Especially, its fruit and root is used to treat various diseases, whereas it also helps one to stay healthy in various ways.

In Sanskrit the word “Ashwa” means Horse and “Gandha” means odor, it is so named due to the smell of the plant root that resembles like of a horse’s smell.

The herb contains the required chemicals that can treat mind related issues and increase body’s immune power. Apart from this there are a plethora of reasons for which people use it and we are now going to take a look at its most popular usages.

Alleged Health Benefits and Actual Reports

This particular herb has gained immense popularity for tons of rumored medical benefits including its effectiveness in treating cancer and preventing the side effects of chemotherapy, I am going to share all its alleged benefits here about which I have investigated:-

1 – Mental Fitness

This herb is highly used to treat various mind related afflictions like anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia.

Many studies have shown that Indian Ginseng can be very helpful in treating depression, since it has mood stabilizing properties. That also makes it effective to reduce anxiety and stress.

This plant’s root extract is considered to be a good sleep aid. As it has calming effect on the mind, it surely can help people to sleep properly.

It is also said that this medicine can help people with ADHD, but there isn’t much information available yet to support this.

2 – Fertility

Probably, this is one main reason for which this herb has attracted a lot of people towards it. There have been many claims that Ashwagandha helps to improve sexual functions in both males and females.

I have also heard that it can improve the semen quality, but there are very less evidences to back up all the effectiveness of this plant on human fertility about which we hear a lot nowadays.

3 – Immune System

I remember how a Yogi promoted the use of this plant a few years ago in my country and people increasingly started using it believing that it will enhance their body’s immune system.

Researches have shown that Ashwagandha is helpful in fighting diseases, but it is still uncertain whether it can really boost one’s ability to resist disease causing microorganisms.

4 – Cancer

Recently, the internet searches for this herb have increased exponentially due to the rumor that it can help to treat cancer.

Ashwagandha has been found to be effective in treating and preventing cancer in laboratory experiments performed on animals; however it has not been yet proved that it will work similarly for humans as well.

5 – Cognitive Functions of Brain

As I said before, my curiosity about this medicine was developed by what I came to know while reading about the smart drugs that improves cognitive functions of the brain.

Tons of Ashwagandha based products are now available for people who are looking to improve their brain’s cognitive functions, but it really has not been yet proved to have any such qualities.

 6 – Diabetes

Some research works have shown that this Ayurvedic medicine has blood sugar reducing properties, but that doesn’t imply it can improve insulin production.

7 – Arthritis

Among all these points this one is something for which Ashwagandha is considered to be most effective.

According to the experts, this herb has some great anti-inflammatory properties which make it a very good cure for arthritis.

These were few most well known reasons for which people use Indian Ginseng, now let’s take a look at the side effects.

Cautions and Side Effects of Ashwagandha

There are very less known side effects of this herb (when taken by mouth), but it is best to consult your doctor before trying it. However, it is essential that you should always keep in mind a few possible unfavorable effects of Ashwagandha.

1 – Heavy and uncontrolled usage can result into various stomach related problems like diarrhea.

2 – Pregnant women should not take this herb and it could also create breastfeeding related problems.

3 – Diabetic patients may experience imbalanced body sugar levels, which can cause a lot of trouble when they are already using other medications.

4 – A lot of people have experienced thyroid related issues while using Indian Ginseng.

5 – You must avoid this if you have any bleeding issues.

6 – Avoid using while you are on sedatives.

7 – Stop using this herb if you have any upcoming surgery ahead.


Overall, from what I have known about this Ayurvedic herb, it is very good for two purpose i.e. to calm down the mind and for treating arthritis.

For all other purposes you will have to use it for yourself and see if it works for you or not. There are tons of products based on this available online like the “True Veda’s Organic Ashwagandha Vegetarian Capsules“.

I am not a doctor or health expert to advice you to try Ashwagandha, I have just written this post based on what I have learned about it, there could be possible side effects of this herb based on your body type, so please do consult your doctor before you try them.


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