Withania somnifera is a perennial shrub native to Southeast Asia and hardy in many other parts of the world. Products from this plant is used in herbal preparations in more traditional medical disciplines including Ayurveda in India. commercially packaged products that contain Withania somnifera is readily available in some health food stores and healthcare markets, especially if they have an ayurvedic focus.
this plant is in the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes. it goes with a variety of alternate common names, including Indian ginseng and winter cherry. the plant produces small white flowers in autumn and winter which develops into fruit in the winter months. products used include roots, leaves and branches, which can be prepared in a variety of ways. in addition to being used on its own, is Withania somnifera also included in the compositions and supplements that are designed to have multiple effects.
before taking Withania somnifera or other herbal medicine, it is important to consult a primary caregiver. he or she can determine that the drug is safe to use, and provide recommendations on dosage.
several pharmaceutical companies have researched Withania somnifera and patented compounds found in this plant. while they hold patents, further research is necessary to limit the function of each compounds and exploring possible uses and doses patenting of compounds found in traditional herbal medicines are not without controversy. some people feel that indigenous herbal medicine should not be patentable, but rather made available to all. Pharmaceutical companies argue that a patent is necessary so that they can be compensated for research and development if a product comes from a substance found in a traditional medicinal herb that makes it to market.
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