Ashwagandha: Ancient Traditions for Today

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on February 7, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Creative Commons License photo credit: cliff1066™

According to Ayurveda, the ancient healing system of India, Ashwagandha is considered the premier herb for imbalances of ‘vata.’ These are conditions that generally correspond to the nervous system, which is why Ashwagandha is often used for calming the mind and easing anxiety. It also helps in maintaining a general sense of wellbeing.

Amongst adaptogens, which strengthen our adaptive response to stress, Ashwagandha stands out as simply one of the best!

Often called “Indian Ginseng” because of the similar health benefits it shares with Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Ashwagandha is gentler and does not confer the same degree of stimulation as Asian Ginseng does. This may make it more suitable for those individuals who tend to ‘run hot,’ and especially for long-term use.

Ashwagandha is also excellentwhen used preventatively to help avoid burnout, when under chronic stress, and as a restorative for those who have already become run down.

As part of an overall rejuvenative program, Ashwagandha may be helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), depression, debility, and emotional stress. It is considered a ‘specific’ for autoimmune disorders, and may also be of benefit in chronic neuromuscular conditions such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to:

• Reduce anxiety
• Support a sense of wellbeing
• Strengthen nervous system
• Enhance resistance to stress
• Rejuvenate and strengthen overall vitality

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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Ashwagandha has long-been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen, strengthening energy and vitality and improving the ability to manage stress.

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