PART USED: Root
PROPERTIES: Adaptogenic, Tonic, Sedative, Nervine
SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Nervous, Reproductive, Digestive, Immune (stimulant), Endocrine
POSSIBLE USES: chronic inflammatory auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, anemia, stress, relaxation after exhaustive projects, insomnia, concentration and memory issues, depression, anxiety, thyroid issues, seasonal allergies
Ashwagandha is called “Indian Ginseng” because it is used in Ayurvedic medicine in much the same way as Ginseng is used in Chinese medicine. These uses include improving overall vitality, especially in those who are suffering from overwork or nervous exhaustion, and in recovery from chronic illnesses. Ashwagandha is also considered an aphrodisiac.
Because Ashwagandha improves neuron impulses throughout the nervous system, strengthens and rebuilds nerve cells, and relaxes tension in the neural synapses of the brain, it is considered effective for memory issues. Ashwagandha is effective for impotency and fertility issues in men. Claims are made in Ayurvedic medicine for Ashwagandha to prevent and treat cancer. Other uses for Ashwagandha include stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol levels, and boosting immunity.
Research trials in 1980 indicated that this herb increases hemoglobin levels and improves thyroid and adrenal function. This makes sense since Ashwagandha contains iron. A unique feature of Ashwagandha is that research indicates that it helps prevent the depletion of Vitamin C when the body is under stress.
Ashwagandha contains an active ingredient called withanolides—a chemical that resembles human steroid hormones.