Root and leaves. Each part has a different therapeutic value and must be prepared in its own way for maximum benefits. This shrub is common in Mumbai (Bombay) and Western India and occasionally found in Bengal.
Traditional Ayurvedic Uses
Ashwagandha has many significant benefits, but is best known for its powerful adaptogenic properties, meaning that it helps mind and body adapt better to stress. It nourishes the nerves and improves nerve function to help you maintain calm during stressful situations.
It is also good for people who do physical labor or exercise a lot, to help the body adapt to physical stress.
It is a powerful Rasayana, meaning that it acts as an overall tonic for greater vitality and longevity.
It nourishes all the bodily tissues (Dhatus), including the joints and nerves.
It is also a powerful Medhya Rasayana, which means that it enhances all three aspects of mind power (Dhi -- comprehension; Dhriti -- memory; and Smriti -- recollection).
Ashwagandha nourishes the crucial mind-body connection and psychoneuro immune response (called PNI). It helps coordinate the mind and senses, as well, which is essential for good quality sleep.
It balances the mind (Prana Vata). This is essential for happiness in the face of mental or emotional stress.
It increases the quality and quantity of Ojas, the master coordinator between the body and consciousness. It helps pure consciousness slide into the physiology.
It has a Sothara effect -- which means it helps clear impurities (Ama) from the various channels of the body.
Ashwagandha enhances virility and has aphrodisiac properties, especially for men.
It is also well known for its powerful immune enhancing benefits.
It is considered among the best of all substances for balancing Vata. It also pacifies Kapha at the same time, which is a rare combination.
As with almost all single all herbs, there is one small caution. Ashwagandha should always be used with other herbs such as licorice to balance out possible heating effects (especially for the heart).
Roots, leaves, seeds and stems. Each part has a different therapeutic value and must be prepared in its own way for the maximum benefits.
Traditional Ayurvedic Uses
This is one the most often used Ayurvedic herbs because it simultaneously balances all three laws of the physiology (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), a rare effect.
Bala is primarily known for giving stamina or inner strength.
It helps balance proper amounts of the male hormone, testosterone, and increases sexual desire.
Bala has a Vrishya effect, meaning that it enhances the quality and quantity of reproductive fluids (Shukra Dhatu) for conception of healthy offspring.
It builds general immunity (the word Bala can actually be translated as immunity).
It is a good Rasayana (overall tonic and longevity enhancer).
Bala is a good tonic for the lungs.
Bala contains five of the six tastes, a very rare property indicating that it provides nourishment of all aspects of nature's intelligence (the five Mahabhutas).
NOTE: As with most single herbs, Bala should always be taken in balanced combinations with other herbs, to prevent aggravation of any existing congestion.