Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry The species name somnifera means “sleep-inducing” in Latin In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are applied externally to tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers The roots are used to prepare the herbal remedy ashwagandha, which has been traditionally used for various symptoms and conditions. The leaves contain the steroidal lactones, withanolides, notably withaferin A, which was the first to be isolated from the plant Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, and chronic liver disease. The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “horse-like.”.