Latin: Withania somnifera
Parts Used: Roots
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, slightly sweet, warming
Properties: Restorative Tonic, adaptogenic, anxiolytic, hypotensive, libido enhancing
Actions: In India, ashwaghanda is a very popular “Rasayana”, an ayurvedic term meaning supreme tonic. Ashwaghanda is a tonic adaptogenic herb that helps reduce fatigue, increase vitality, improve mood and wellbeing and bring a greater sense of calm energy when taken over time. It is especially helpful for those folks who have felt burnt out and frazzled, tend to go a little too fast, move a little too quickly and are prone to anxiety and insomnia. It also tends to build stamina and strengthen libido. This is not an aphrodisiac that tends to cause an immediate feeling of virility. Instead it helps to restore one’s reserves and improve vitality so that a strengthened libido is a natural outcome. I work with ashwaghanda quite a bit and think of this herb for many of us who need deep sustenance, strength and greater resiliency when we feel tapped and depleted.
Dosage: As a tincture, take 2-5 ml up to twice a day. As a decoction, one to two tablespoons to one pint of water simmered for 30 minutes. In India this herb is traditionally taken as a powder and added to teas, drinks and food. A classic is adding a 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ashwaghanda powder to a cup of milk and a tinch of honey and then gently heating the mixture for several minutes until the powder is dissolved and then drinking it a couple hours before bed. Especially good for those with insomnia.
Contraindications: Avoid in pregnancy. Avoid if there is sensitivity to nightshades.
Ashwaghanda monograph by Rosalee de la Foret
Ashwaghanda monograph by Krystal Thompson (Herb Rally)