Ayurvedic all-round strengthening tonic. Ashwagandha is particularly high in iron. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for tired or overworked bodies, and is particularly useful for low sex drive in women.


What is Ashwagandha and what is it good for?

Botanical name: Withania somnifera
Other names: Indian ginseng, Winter cherry

Ashwagandha is one of the most widespread herbs used in India, where it holds a position of importance similar to ginseng in China.

Ashwagandha (aka Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb that’s popular in Ayurvedic and traditional medicine. It has been used for more than 2,500 years and has been extensively researched (used in over 200 studies) for its potential thyroid-modulating, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. The Sanskrit word “ashwagandha” means “the smell of a horse,” symbolizing the strength and vigor of a stallion.

Ashwagandha is traditionally prescribed to strengthen the immune system after an illness. It acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems, having a rejuvenative effect on the body. It is also used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility, insomnia, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility and multiple sclerosis.

It is well-known as a natural sedative and general stress reliever. The active compounds in ashwagandha have anti-anxiety, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-arthritic properties that may be effective in reducing stress caused by physical and emotional fatigue; increasing mental alertness, focus and concentration; relieving nervous tension and anxiety; invigorating the body; decreasing inflammation and balancing out and leveling mood swings.

Ashwagandha appears to inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX), the same mechanism of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Other uses are that the fruit is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute, and also that the leaves are an insect repellent.

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana. This means that it helps maintain youth, both mentally and physically.

There is some evidence to suggest that the herb can have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation underpins many health conditions, and reducing inflammation can protect the body against a variety of conditions.

For example, people use ashwagandha to help treat the following:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • pain
  • skin conditions
  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • epilepsy

Different treatments make use of different parts of the plant, including the leaves, seeds, and fruit.


How to take ashwagandha

The dosage of ashwagandha and the way people use it depends on the condition they are hoping to treat. There is no standard dosage based on modern clinical trials.

Different studies have used different dosages. Some researchTrusted Source suggests that taking 250–600 mg per day can reduce stress. Other studies have used much higher dosages.

Capsule dosages often contain between 250 and 1,500 mg of ashwagandha. The herb comes in the form of a capsule, powder, and liquid extract.

In some cases, taking high doses can cause unpleasant side effects. It is best to speak with a healthcare professional about safety and dosage before taking any new herbal supplements, including ashwagandha.

15 Simple Ashwagandha Recipes to Help Relieve Stress


Ashwagandha Common Uses:

Adrenals, Anti-ageing, Anxiety, Anxiety / Stress, Aphrodisiac, Arthritis, Back pain, Cancer, Cold and flu, Convalescence, Debility, Depression, Endurance, Energy, Energy tonic, Erectile dysfunction, Exhaustion, Fatigue, Fertility, Gout, Immunity, Impotence, Infections, Infertility, Inflammation, Joint Pain, Libido, Longevity, Male libido, Male reproductive health, Mood enhancement, Nervous system, Oedema, Premature ageing, Relaxation, Restlessness, Rheumatism, Sexual anxiety, Sexual function, Stamina, Stress, Stroke prevention, Tension, Trauma (Emotional), Vitality.

Ashwagandha Actions:

Adaptogen, Anti-inflammatory, Aphrodisiac, Bitter Tonic, Diuretic, Hypotensive, Immune tonic, Immunomodulator, Nervine tonic, Sedative, Tonic.

Ashwagandha Precautions:

Can interfere with digoxin medications – use only with supervision. Will increase effects of anxiety medications and sedatives (phenobarbitone, barbituates, benzodiazepam), so use with caution and in small doses. Contradictory information about its role in pregnancy exists – while some studies and traditional usage support use of ashwagandha in pregnancy for healthy babies, other traditional usage supports the use of ashwagandha to induce abortion. For safety’s sake, do not use when pregnant. Taking large amounts of ashwagandha can lead to digestive upset, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. This may be due to irritation of the intestinal mucosa.

Refrances:, Michael Tierra (1988), Planetary Herbology, pp. 309, Image: by JMK (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Happy Herb,

Clinical Data:

Ashwagandha- and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study

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