Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb with historical uses dating back 3,000-4000 years ago. Ayurveda classifies Ashwagandha as Rasayana. Rasayana is a Sanskrit word that translates to “path of essence” and is one of the comprehensive disciplines of Ayurveda. It refers to both the science of promoting longevity and the herbal remedies used to maintain optimal health as well as to reverse the effects of aging. In Western herbalism, Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen.
Ashwagandha calms the central nervous system and enhances brain function by normalizing neurotransmitters. It also can enhance physical performance and relieve muscle pain.
It may be used as an immunomodulator and has anti-tumor properties.
Over time Ashwagandha may help to restore healthy sleep cycles. I find it helps promote a deeper sleep without being a sedative when taking it in the evening. It can be useful for those with adrenal fatigue, including regular coffee drinkers.
It is also considered anxiolytic and may be useful for those with anxiety or depression.
Ashwagandha helps to reduce the effects of stress while promoting energy, which makes it useful for those suffering from fatigue or exhaustion. It also works as an anti-inflammatory agent and may be useful for those with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Ashwagandha is often used in powdered form but may be used as a decoction or in a tincture form.
Dosing in powder ranges from 2-5 grams per day. I recommend starting low and increasing the dose if needed.
Ashwagandha is a strong herb and often benefits from adding it to stronger flavored herbs. I enjoy it in a chai tea blend.
Precautions: Caution should be used by individuals with some thyroid conditions or those with excess iron. Ashwagandha is not to be used during pregnancy but may be used during breastfeeding to increase milk production. It should be avoided if a nightshade sensitivity is present. Ashwagandha should not be taken with barbiturates. According to Ayurvedic theory, Ashwagandha should be avoided during upper respiratory infections, or with mucous congestion.