Ashvagandha, Ashva-gandha, Aśvagandhā: 10 definitions

Introduction

Ashvagandha means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Aśvagandhā can be transliterated into English as Asvagandha or Ashvagandha, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

[«previous (A) next»] — Ashvagandha in Rasashastra glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा):—One of the sixty-seven Mahauṣadhi, as per Rasaśāstra texts (rasa literature). These drugs are useful for processing mercury (rasa), such as the alchemical processes known as sūta-bandhana and māraṇa.

Rasashastra book cover
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

[«previous (A) next»] — Ashvagandha in Ayurveda glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा) is a Sanskrit word referring to Withania somnifera, a species of plant from the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of flowering plants. It is used throughout Ayurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā and the Suśruta-saṃhitā. It is also known as Varāhakarṇī. In English, it is known as “Indian ginseng”, “poison gooseberry” or “winter cherry”. It is an undershrub reaching 150 centimeters in height. It grows throughout the dries parts of India. Its leaves ovate up to 10 centimeters in length, with greenish or lurid yellow flowers, bearing globose berries as its fruit.

This plant (Aśvagandhā) is also mentioned as a medicine used for the treatment of all major fevers (jvara), as described in the Jvaracikitsā (or “the treatment of fever”) which forms the first chapter of the Sanskrit work called Mādhavacikitsā. In this work, the plant is also known by the synonym Mṛdvīkā.

Source: WorldCat: Rāj nighaṇṭu

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा) is the Sanskrit name for a medicinal plant identified with Withania somnifera Dunal. (“Indian ginseng” or “Winter Cherry”) from the Solanaceae or Nightshade family of flowering plants, according to verse 4.109-112 of the 13th-century Raj Nighantu or Rājanighaṇṭu. Aśvagandhā is known in the Hindi language as Aśvagandhā or Asagandhā; in the Bengali language as Aśvagandhā; in the Marathi language as Askandha; in the Gujurati language as Ghodā, Asan or Dhorgunj; in the Kannada language as Amangurā; in the Tamil language as Amukkurā; and in the Telugu language as Vajigandhā.

Aśvagandhā is mentioned as having twenty-two synonyms: Vājigandhā, Kambukāṣṭhā, Varāhikā, Varāhakarṇī, Turagī, Vanajī, Vājinī, Hayī, Puṣṭidā, Baladā, Puṇyā, Hayagandhā, Pīvarā, Palāśaparṇī, Vātaghnī, Śyāmalā, Kāmarūpiṇī, Kālapriyakarī, Balyā, Gandhapatrī, Hayapriyā and Varāhapatrī.

Properties and characteristics: “Aśvagandhā is pungent, bitter, hot and has a typical intoxicating fragrance. It promotes strength and quells vāta-doṣa. It is indicated in cough, asthma, tuberculosis and wounds”.

Notes: In the synonyms of Aśvagandhā Dhanvantarai (Nighaṇṭu) clearly mentions Vājīkarī (or aphrodisiac). Why the Rājanighaṇṭu omitted it in the properties, is not clear. Bhāvaprakāśa mentions it rasāyanī (rejuvenating) and Kai-deva calls it vṛṣyā (aphrodisiac).

Source: Advances in Zoology and Botany: Ethnomedicinal List of Plants Treating Fever in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra, India

Aśvagandhā (or Aśvagaṃdhā) in the Marathi language refers to the medicinal under-shrub “Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal.”, and is used for ethnomedicine treatment of Fever in Ahmednagar district, India. The parts used are: “Dried mature roots”.

Source: Ancient Science of Life: Evaluation of Cyavanaprāśa on Health and Immunity related Parameters in Healthy Children

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा) refers to the medicinal plant known as Withania somnifera, Rt., and is used in the Ayurvedic formulation known as Cyavanaprāśa: an Ayurvedic health product that helps in boosting immunity.—Cyavanaprāśa has been found to be effective as an immunity booster, vitalizer and a preventer of day to day infections and allergies such as common cold and cough etc. It is a classical Ayurvedic formulation comprising ingredients such as Aśvagandhā. [...] Cyavanaprāśa can be consumed in all seasons as it contains weather friendly ingredients which nullify unpleasant effects due to extreme environmental and climatic conditions.

Source: Shodhganga: Edition translation and critical study of yogasarasamgraha

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा) refers to the medicinal plant known as “Withania somnifera (Linn.) Dunal” and is dealt with in the 15th-century Yogasārasaṅgraha (Yogasara-saṅgraha) by Vāsudeva: an unpublished Keralite work representing an Ayurvedic compendium of medicinal recipes. The Yogasārasaṃgraha [mentioning aśvagandhā] deals with entire recipes in the route of administration, and thus deals with the knowledge of pharmacy (bhaiṣajya-kalpanā) which is a branch of pharmacology (dravyaguṇa).

Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: academia.edu: A Critical Study of the Vajraḍākamahātantrarāja (II)

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा) is the name of a plant mentioned in connection with a Tantric ceremony, according to the Vajraḍākatantra chapter 38.—Five techniques to please Dūtīs as well as the Yogin himself and to enlarge a Yogin’s gentials are introduced. Various kinds of woods and plants in addition to honey and butter are utilized for this purpose. [...] The mixture of aśvagandhā, pāṭhā, kaṭurohiṇī and sap of arka-tree is effective for growing his genitals.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (A) next»] — Ashvagandha in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा).—[aśvasya gandha ekadeśo meḍhramiva mūlamasyāḥ] Name of a plant Physalis Flexuosa Lin; °तैलम् (tailam) a kind of oil.

Aśvagandhā is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms aśva and gandhā (गन्धा).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा).—f.

(-ndhā) A plant, (Physalis flexuosa.) E. aśva, and gandha smell; having the smell of a horse.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Aśvagandhā (अश्वगन्धा):—[=aśva-gandhā] [from aśva] f. the plant Physalis Flexuosa, [Suśruta] [commentator or commentary] on [Kātyāyana-śrauta-sūtra]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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