Family > Solanaceae.
Habitat > Drier parts of Punjab, Gujarat, Simla and Kumaon.
English > Vegetable Rennet, Indian Cheese-maker.
Unani > Desi Asgandh, Kaaknaj-e- Hindi, Paneer, Paneer-band. Akri (fruit).
Siddha/Tamil > Ammukkura.
Action > Alterative, emetic, diuretic. Ripe fruits—sedative, CNS depressant, antibilious, emetic, antiasth- matic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory; used in chronic liver troubles and strangury. Dried fruits— carminative, depurative; used for dyspepsia, flatulence and strangury. Leaf—alterative, febrifuge. Seeds— anti-inflammatory, emetic, diuretic, emmenagogue.
Though known as Desi Asgandh, the root is not used in Indian medicine. Ashwagandhaa (Bengali) and Ashwa- gandhi (Kannada) are confusing synonyms of W. coagulans. In the market no distinction is made between the berries of W. coagulans and W. somnifera.
The berries contain a milk-coagulating enzyme, esterases, free amino acids, fatty oil, an essential oil and alkaloids. The amino acid composition fairly agrees with that of papain. The essential oil was active against Micro- coccus pyogenes var. aureus and Vibro cholerae; also showed anthelmintic activity.
The withanolides, withacoagin, coagulan and withasomidienone have been isolated from the plant, along with other withanolides and withaferin. 3- beta-hydroxy-2,3- dihydrowithanolide E, isolated from the fruit showed significant hepatoprotective activity and anti-inflammatory activity equal to hydrocortisone. The ethanolic extract of the fruit showed antifungal and that of the leaves and stem antibacterial activity.