Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Withania somnifera/physalis somnifera
Also called asana, ayurvedic ginseng, , indian ginseng, and indian winter cherry
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub that grows to be 4-5 feet tall. It is native is usual dry areas of india, the middle east, and africa.
Applicable parts used
Roots and berry
Translation of ‘horse’ or ‘stallion’ to symbolize its contribution to a healthy male libido.
Organs & systems affected
An ayurvedic healer of the mind, nervous system and hormonal function
Mechanism of action
Analgesic, adaptogenic, anticancer, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, nervine, anxiolytic, hypotensive, immunologic, thyroid, sedative, stimulant (respiratory and thyroid)
Mildly and pleasantly sweet; warming
Sterols, amino acids, alkaloids, steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins), and saponins, withanolides (similar to ginsenosides from ginseng) and withaferin
Orally used for arthritis, mental imbalances and disorders (adhd, ocd), stress, insomnia, tumors, and chronic liver dysfunction, decreased cognitive function, decreasing inflammation, preventing the effects of aging, sexual dysfunction, cough, fatigue, high blood glucose and high blood lipids.
Topically, ashwagandha is used for treating ulcerations, backache, and hemiplegia.
Precaution & adverse reactions
Usually well-tolerated at typical doses. Large inappropriate doses may cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset, diarrhea, and vomiting.
This herb may interact with antidiabetic drugs, antihypertensive drugs, benzodiazepines, cns depressants, thyroid hormones, and immunosuppressants
Pregnancy and lactation
When used orally, high doses of ashwagandha may have abortifacient effects. Further research is needed. Avoid during pregnancy.
Herbal infusion: 1 or 2 teaspoons per cup. Steep 10 minutes . Consume as tolerated.
Tincture: 1 or 2 dropperfuls (or 20 drops), 3 to 6 times per day or as tolerated.
· Anxiety: ashwagandha root 300 mg twice daily for 12 weeks in combination with dietary counseling, deep breathing exercise instruction, and a multivitamin or ashwagandha root powder granules 4 grams three times daily for 60 days
· Diabetes & hypercholesterolemia: ashwagandha 3 grams daily for 30 days
· Osteoarthritis: ashwagandha 450 mg, ayurvedic zinc complex 50 mg, the guggul resin from Indian frankincense 100 mg, and turmeric 50 mg (articulin-f) two capsules three times daily for 3 months has been used
Cooling herbs such as licorice
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Pursell, jj. The herbal apothecary: 100 medicinal herbs and how to use them. Timber press. Kindle edition.