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The Ashwagandha Plant

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is also known as winter cherry, Indian ginseng, and a number of other regional names. The word ashwagandha in Sanskrit actually means the smell of a horse, which probably refers to the distinctly strong aroma from its roots.6 This greyish-colored evergreen shrub is native to parts of Africa, India, and the Middle East, but is now grown in many other temperate regions as well.1,10

A member of the nightshade family (like tomatoes and eggplants), ashwagandha can grow up to seven feet in height in warm climates, has greenish-yellow flowers when in full bloom, and small orange berries (when mature).10-11 Similar to turmeric and ginseng, the roots are the primary medicinal component of the plant, but the fruits and leaves also offer some therapeutic value.1

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