- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogen working on the endocrine system and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Axis (HPA), used since the time of Dioscorides and in Ayurveda for thousands of years. It is considered a rasayana (tonic), traditionally used to stimulate the mind, increase vitality and enhance vigour and sexual prowess. It has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant (steroidal lactones), neuroprotective, anxiolytic and hypnotic properties.
- It supports neurotransmitter activity (GABA, glutamate, serotonin) and enhances memory (acetylcholine) and improves endocrine activity. The steroidal lactones are similar in structure to human steroid hormones. It supports thyroid function, is cardiotropic, cardioprotective and has been shown to have anticoagulant properties.
- May have an anabolic effect on osteoporotic bone and improve bone mineralisation. Enhances anabolism to promote muscle strength. Traditionally used for conditions of ageing. Withanamides are considered helpful in preventing the formation of beta-amyloid plaques. Helps to protect against hepatic lipid peroxidation.
- Ashwagandha can lower blood pressure and have hypoglycaemic effects, although this tends to have a balancing adaptogenic effect. This herb should not be used during pregnancy or lactation unless under the care of a qualified professional. Do not use with active peptic ulcer. Do not use if sensitive to nightshades.