Often called Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, Ashwagandha is one of my favorite herbal tonics for stress.
Ashwagandha grows in India, Pakistan, Spain, and parts of the Middle East and Africa.
It’s used extensively as a libido enhancer and rejuvenative herb in Ayurveda, the oldest system of healing in the world.
Here in the West, Ashwagandha has gained popularity as an adaptogen, with an important role in formulas to de-stress and revitalize your body.
Like other adaptogens, one of Ashwagandha’s main roles is as a body balancer.
Because it simultaneously reduces daytime fatigue and eases nighttime sleep, it’s ideal for people with burnout (usually type A people who struggle with having energy in the day, but who are up with worries through the night).
I find Ashwagandha works when nothing else does in this regard.
Ashwagandha is unusual as an adaptogen in that it calms the nervous system, like an herbal nervine.
It has a much more relaxing effect than adaptogens like Asian or American Ginseng. University of Texas research suggests it has a similar effect as GABA (gamma amino-butyric acid), a calming brain neurotransmitter.
In early research, Ashwagandha showed similar benefits in stress relief as anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicines. Yet it has a long history of safe use, and is not expected to create dependency or cause side effects.
A small study with 64 people shows Ashwagandha decreases cortisol production, the “stress” hormone linked to early aging, mental decline, and even wrinkles.
As an antioxidant, Ashwagandha decreases oxidative damage to the brain linked to degeneration. It appears to even support the reconstruction of nerve synapses.
Furthermore, Ashwagandha supports a healthy memory, making the herb ideal for students and people with demanding mental work.
For women, Ashwagandha supports endocrine health and natural hormone balance.
In India, it has a reputation for being a vegetarian’s best friend, helping to build energy and stamina that is associated with eating meat.
For healthy sexuality, Ashwagandha improves circulation and relieves tension.
I find it works well for both men and women whose libido is locked up from stress. There is evidence that it can also enhance male and female fertility.
For women, it supports thyroid function, critical to healthy pregnancy and hormone balance.
Research with men with fertility issues suggests the herb may improve semen quality and increase testosterone production.
As Ayurveda’s most revered tonic, Ashwaganda is truly an herb to be experienced.
Ashwagandha helps soothe frazzled nerves, clears the mind, and increases calm energy so you will feel more productive and happy!
Most people I consult with find they work and sleep better with peaceful Ashwagandha.