What Is Indian Ginseng? Plus 5 Remarkable Benefits

03/01/2023 |
Herbal Secrets
Indian ginseng, also known as Ashwagandha, powder and root on a wooden table.

Indian Ginseng, also known as Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera, or Winter Cherry, is a prized Ayurvedic herb that’s gained popularity in the West.

Ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana (tonic) rejuvenator in Ayurveda, meaning it supports the nervous, immune, and reproductive systems.*

Modern science has begun to validate many of these traditional uses for Indian Ginseng, making it a new favorite among health-conscious communities.

In this article, you’ll learn more about this legendary Ayurvedic herb, including its history, the science behind its actions, and how to find a high-quality product.

What is Indian Ginseng (aka Ashwagandha)?

Indian Ginseng/Ashwagandha has been used for millennia in Ayurveda and is mentioned in ancient medicine texts, such as Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas, dating back to 400 CE.

It is highly revered in Ayurveda and considered the most prominent among Ayurvedic Rasayana herbs.

If you’ve ever taken an Ayurvedic formula for stress, sleep, or hormonal balance, it likely contained Indian Ginseng.

Indian Ginseng’s more common name, “Ashwagandha,” translates to “the smell of a horse” in Sanskrit. 

Although this may not sound appealing, it refers to the herb’s musky, sweet, and earthy aroma and its ability to impart a horse’s strength, stamina, and nobility.

Other traditional uses include: 

  • Adrenal health
  • Cellular health
  • Cognitive function
  • Energy
  • Focus and concentration
  • Immunity
  • Reproductive wellness in men and women 
  • Mental/emotional health
  • Menstrual challenges
  • Respiratory ailments
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Stamina
  • Stress
  • A longevity tonic
  • And more

So, how does Indian Ginseng work on so many health concerns? 

Modern science has begun to uncover the mysterious workings behind this ancient herbal rejuvenator.

A pile of ashwagandha roots for immune support and recovery.

5 Health Benefits of Indian Ginseng/Ashwagandha

As previously discussed, Indian Ginseng is considered a Rasayana rejuvenator in Ayurveda, meaning it supports the nervous, immune, and reproductive systems.

It is also an adaptogen.

Adaptogens are a class of herbs, such as Indian Ginseng, Tulsi, and Turmeric, which help the body adapt and thrive under physical, mental, and emotional stress.*

Although every herb has unique properties, in general, adaptogens work by supporting normal output of stress hormones and homeostasis via the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis.

In addition, modern research has shown Indian Ginseng’s actions are largely attributed to its unique plant chemical compounds known as, withanolides, which act as antioxidants.

Its unique chemical makeup, long history of use in Ayurveda, and adaptogenic and nervine properties, have made Indian Ginseng the subject of much research.

Here’s a sampling of 7 demonstrated health benefits of Indian Ginseng based on science.

ashwagandha/indian ginseng supplement capsules, powder and glass jay on black table with stone and dried plants.

#1: Indian Ginseng supports a healthy stress response

Indian Ginseng’s adaptogenic and nervine properties make it a go-to herb to lean on stressful times.

Its actions on stress are believed to be due to its positive effects on the central nervous system and the adrenals via the HPA (hypothalamus pituitary adrenal) axis.

Research has shown Ashwagandha helps support optimal cortisol levels (cortisol is your body’s master stress hormone produced by the adrenals) and stress resistance.

It’s also been shown to be effective in promoting feelings of calm and reducing occasional anxiety.

Discover more in: Ashwagandha: Nature’s Answer to Stress.

#2: Indian Ginseng Promotes Thyroid Health

Thyroid health seems to be on every woman’s mind these days, especially as we get older and/or after giving birth.

If your thyroid and energy levels could use a little support, Ashwagandha may be a worthy herbal ally.

Ayurvedic practitioners have relied on Indian Ginseng to support thyroid health in men and women for centuries, which is partly what inspired this study.

In this study entitled: “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial,” researchers found giving 600 mg of Ashwagandha daily to women ages 18-55 resulted in significant improvements in thyroid hormone levels.

This is just one study, but it is significant within the context of traditional use, anecdotal evidence, and the growing body of research showing how Ashwagandha impacts hormonal and metabolic health.

Learn more in: 6 Herbs for Metabolism and Fat Burning.

#3: Supports Sexual Function in Men and Women

Rasayana herbs aren’t just used for promoting energy; they can also help support sexual function and desire in men and women.

Indian Ginseng has a rich history of use as an aphrodisiac and has been shown effective for these purposes in several studies.

For women, it’s been shown to help support arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction.

For men, Indian Ginseng has demonstrated potentially positive effects on male sex hormones testosterone and DHEA.

We discuss more on the benefits for men and women in: 

#4: Indian Ginseng Can Help You Sleep

Sleep has become a precious commodity in the modern world.

Although there are many reasons behind sleep challenges, stress, and hormonal issues are often causal or contributing factors.

This is why more and more people are turning to Ashwagandha for broad-spectrum sleep support.

Several high-quality studies have demonstrated Ashwagandha’s efficacy in supporting natural sleep, including its beneficial effects on sleep duration, quality, efficiency, time to sleep, and alertness upon waking.

Organic India’s Peaceful Sleep formula combines Ashwagandha with other Ayurvedic adaptogens, such as Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Gotu Kola, for a restful night’s sleep.

Tulsi Ashwagandha tea with small light teal cast iron tea kettle on a green table.

#5: Ashwagandha Supports Cognitive Health

Cognitive health has become a big concern among seniors, the middle-aged, the 20-somethings, and even young children.

Whether it’s the result of our 24/7-digital society, a lack of sleep, body burden, or all of the above, it seems everyone needs a little brain support these days.

However, cognitive concerns aren’t exclusive to the twenty-first century. In ancient Ayurveda, for example, Ashwagandha was recommended for ailments related to memory, attention, learning, and more.

Research supports these traditional uses, showing Indian Ginseng’s withanolides may promote various aspects of brain health, such as memory, attention, and information processing speed via their antioxidant effects.

Organic India’s Cognitive Support Daily Packs combine Ashwagandha with other brain-supportive herbs in convenient daily packs.

Discover More Ways Indian Ginseng/Ashwaganahda Can Rejuvenate Your Health & Happiness

This is just a small, albeit impressive, sampling of many ways Ashwagandha can support optimal health and happiness.

The power to choose a higher path of health, purpose, and intentionality is in your hands, and Indian Ginseng can be a powerful ally.

To learn more about Indian Ginseng’s benefits, check out:

Ready to try it out for yourself?

Organic India has several Indian Ginseng/Ashwagandha products made with authentic, organically-grown Ashwagandha on our regenerative herb farms, including: