Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is an adaptogen, a plant commonly used in alternative medicine that is believed to help your body deal with different kinds of stress. The root, leaves, and seeds of this shrub—also called Indian ginseng or winter cherry—has a long history of use in Ayurvedic, Indian, and African traditional medicine. Traditional practices like India’s Ayurveda used this plant as a treatment for a wide range of health conditions, and modern research is finding evidence to support some of these uses.