Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Withania somnifera is the latin name for ashwagandha, a sanskrit word that literally means ‘horse pee’.  This word must vary in translations because I learned in an Ayurvedic class that ashwagandha means, “to impart the strength of a horse.”  How do we get the strength of a horse from its piddle?

Take heart though, because horse urine has nothing to do with the medicinal properties of this herb.  It’s actually the root that provides all the medicinal horse power.

Combats Adrenal Fatigue

Ashwagandha is my favorite herb, ever.  This herb, oh, it works.  Taking ashwagandha, otherwise known as Indian ginseng, is like giving your adrenal glands the gas they need to keep trucking you along when you continue to burn the candle at both ends, as many of us unfortunately do.  Although this herb should not be used as a crutch to continue an unhealthy lifestyle of staying up late and waking up early, it sure can be supportive when stress is high, sleep is little, and you’ve just been pushin’ pushin’ pushin’.  If the energizer bunny (oh no, another bunny keyword for Google!) had a secret to his ability to keep going and going, it would be ashwagandha.

Harmonizes Energy & Sleep

The incredible feature of ashwagandha is how balancing it can be.  Some herbs that support your energy levels can also affect sleep, but not this one!  Ashwagandha can actually help you sleep better because it happens to be a nervine.  It can also be used to treat anxiety.

Modulates the Immune System

A fascinating quality to this restorative herb is that it enhances immune function.  Chronic stress and sleep deprivation can really take a toll on your immunity.  But, wow, ashwagandha helps with stress, helps with sleep, and then, it boosts your immune system.  What more could you ask for in an herb?!

Protects Your Brains

More!  There’s more!  Ashwagandha is also food for the brain, or you can say ‘neuroprotective’.  In vitro research has shown that ashwagandha can regenerate damaged nerve tissue.  It’s anti-inflammatory and functions as an antioxidant.  It can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and it may help as an adjunct therapy for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Supports Male Sexual Health

Ashwagandha can also be helpful in the men’s health department.  It can be used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and male infertility, especially when chronic stress is part of the picture.

Rover Can Have It Too

The horse power in a pill is not just for humans.  Ashwagandha is also friendly for dogs and cats.  I like that Ayush Herbs makes an ashwagandha product just for this purpose.  Consult your veterinarian before administering this herb to your pets.

I love ashwagandha because it equilibrates the body on all levels:  physically, mentally, and emotionally.

If you would like to start taking ashwagandha, please consult your naturopathic doctor.  A licensed healthcare practitioner can tailor the dose according to your needs.  

1. Yarnell, Eric.  Botanical Medicine V.  Bastyr University.  Spring 2011.
2. Raymer, Katherine.  Neurology.  Bastyr University.  Spring 2011.

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3 Responses

  1. Janet Croneberger

    This herb sounds very interesting I see why you are excited about it, the article on it was really well written and I am going to check with the local health food store to see if they have it I find Archerfriendly a great site to be up on the latest info.Thank’s!


    Dr. Archer

    Hi Janet – thanks so much for the lovely comment!


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