A mainstay for managing high cortisol yet at the same time, improving “stores” of vitality. In Ayurvedic medicine it is known as a rejuvenating botanical – improving the body’s ability to maintain physical effort and help the body adapt to various types of stress.
Withania is reputed to impart the vigour and strength of a stallion.
It’s also a key herb for adrenal and sexual health, by supporting healthy testosterone levels and DHEA levels.
The species name; ‘somnifera’, comes from the herb’s use as a sleep aid and sedative.
Ashwagandha is one of the rasayana herbs in Ayurveda — one of the herbs that purportedly promotes youth and longevity and alleviates suffering.
Botanical Name: Withania somnifera
Common name: Withania, Ashwaganda, Winter Cherry, Indian ginseng
Parts Used: Root
- Steroidal lactones (withanolides and withaferins, sitoindosides)
- Iron – not enough to restore but to provide tonic to decrease fatigue
- Amino acids — improve brain function/neurotransmitter support
Bitter, sweet, warm and relaxing
Phase of Life & Emotional Connections: Fulfilment. Tonic for the nerves and brain.
- Mild sedative – on an unregulated nervous system
- Nervous system tonic
- Blood tonic / Anti-anaemic
- Immune Modulating
- Thyroid Modulating – improve T4 —> T3
- Anti-arrhythmic (Hechtman, 2012)
- Anti-stress – via modulation of GABA and a reduction in plasma corticosterone levels
- Stress (physical and emotional stress)
- Debility / convalescence — especially immune deficient/depleted
- Insomnia (sleep maintenance and onset) – balance natural sleep cycles
- Sleep deprivation – can reverse anxiety and improve locomotor activity that can be induced by sleep deprivation and also improve all biochemical parameters of oxidative stress
- Nervous exhaustion where sleep issues are prominent
- Erectile Dysfunction
- May prevent cancer / Cancer Therapy
- Pregnancy?? (Traditionally used)
- Recovery after illness in children
- Anaemia or failure to thrive in children
- Pernicious anaemia
- Chronic inflammatory disease ie arthritis
ORx 1:1 20-50 mL week
5 -14ml of 1:2 liquid extract/day
35 – 98ml of 1:2 liquid extract/week 20- 50ml of 1:1 liquid extract/week
Dried Herb Equivalent
3 – 6 g / day dried root (decoction)
- Eleutherococcus for immune dysregulation and stress
- Passiflora for anxiety and sleep issues
POINTS OF NOTE:
- The alkaloids present in withania are understood to be responsible for the sedative and hypotensive actions
- Used in convalescence, it contains iron and has been shown to increase haemoglobin
- A mild sedative, withania is used in many conditions exacerbated by stress, including insomnia and male sexual dysfunction
- Anti inflammatory, in conditions including asthma, psoriasis and rheumatic pains
- Used in convalescence due to its immune modulating effects