Herb Spotlight - Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Part Used: Root
Flavor/Aroma: Sweet, Bitter, Astringent
Energetics: Warming, Drying
For over 6,000 years Ashwagandha has been revered as a holy herb that promotes both physical and mental health, and is thought to support a balanced immune system. Ashwagandha also may have positive effects on the brain,- boosting GABA (a mood balancing neurotransmitter), improving cognitive impairments, and benefiting both our memory and cognition.¹
Ashwagandha grows as an evergreen, woody shrub that stands about two feet high, and sprouts yellow flowers that transform into bright orange or red berries in the late fall. It’s leaves are ovate, and dark green in color with a lighter stem and veins.
Cultivation and Harvesting:
Ashwagandha is drought resistant, prefers sub-tropical growing climates, and is native to the landscapes of India, Africa, Asia, and throughout the Mediterranean. The root has a pungent odor that varies in potency depending on the region in which it is grown, and is best cultivated in the winter after at least one year of growth.
Southern Oregon Cultivation:
Ashwagandha is uncommon in the wild, but can be grown easily in the Southern Oregon climate. It is a perennial herb that prefers sun, and drier conditions, with fast-draining, more alkaline soil types. Always use caution and care when harvesting, and be aware of other human and non human foragers that use this therapeutic botanical.
History and Folklore:
Ayurvedic Medicine: traditionally Ashwagandha was used to treat emaciation, enhance the reproductive organs, and to support arthritic and rheumatic inflammation.² The tender shoots were often eaten as a common vegetable in India.
In Sanskrit, “Ashwa” meaning horse and “Gandha” meaning smell, paints us a picture for the pungent root odor we experience while working with this plant.2
The Maasai people of Kenya used the juice of the leaves as a remedy for conjunctivitis and the crushed, fresh berries for ringworm. In Lesotho, the root bark was brewed and used to remedy asthma, and externally used for bedsores.¹ It has also been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Yang tonic with an affinity for the kidneys, and is used in emotionally fragile conditions with excessive worry and nervousness.³
Ashwagandha may help assist the body with a variety of inflammatory conditions including arthritis, respiratory disorders, nervous system imbalances, and gynecological conditions. Ashwagandha provides a calming adaptogenic effect that may be helpful for those with mild anxiety and occasional nervousness.³
Uses and Preparations:
Dried Herb Tea Preparation:
3-6 grams of powdered root daily, infused into ghee, honey, or beverage of you choosing.
Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds.
2-4 mL per day.
Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.
It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended usage amounts are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the usage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.
Sun God Medicinals products that contain Ashwagandha:
Hypnos Sleep Aid Hemp & Herbal Syrup
Ra Herbals Ashwagandha Tincture
We suggest conversing with your practitioner before taking Ashwagandha if you have any autoimmune conditions, as it may be affected by the immunomodulatory effects of this plant.
- Ashwagandha Monograph. www.herbally.com/monographs/ashwagandha
- Ashwagandha: Wonder Herb of India. (2018, March 9). www.planethers.com/research-center/specific-herbs-articles/ashwagandha-wonder-herb-of-india/
- Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial (n.d.). https://myemail.constantcontact.com/-Science-Alert--Efficacy-and-Safety-of-Ashwagandha-Root-Extract-in-Subclinical-Hypothyroid-Patients--A-Double-Blind--Randomized-.html?soid=1101334774265&aid=O8mXt-Mo0Wc
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.