A medicinal herb (Withania somnifera), used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwaghanda is an adaptogen, and can be used like ginseng (panax ginseng or Siberian ginseng), i.e., as a general tonic to counteract the effects of stress and toxins. Ashwaghanda is 'heat-neutral', unlike the panax ginsengs, which are said to be 'warming', or American ginseng, which is said to be a 'cooling' herb. Also unlike the true ginsengs, it promotes sleep.
Ashwaghanda is said to help sexual performance and is anabolic in nature. In addition to being a general tonic, it is prescribed by naturopathic and Ayurvedic practictioners for nervous exhaustion, emaciation, convalescence after acute illness, chronic inflammatory diseases and impotence. The herb is available in powdered form, and is widely considered safe for long-term use.