Eighty-four images of Withania somnifera, ashwagandha, ashvagandha. winter cherry in fruits and in flower, Solanaceae, Night Shade Family. Native to dry soils from the Mediterranean Coast, North Africa, throughout the Middle East, eastward through drier regions of Asia, the herb is generally associated with Ayurvedic traditions. An ancient scholar of the Punjab region, Punarvasu Atriya, noted numerous uses for the herb 3000 years ago. For the past 2,000 years, A well-known herb in India as a rejuvenating tonic (especially for the elderly), it is said to increase strength and vigor, and serve as an aphrodisiac.