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What is ashwagandha? What is it
Ashwagandha is a small bush related to the pepper family
found throughout India and Africa. In India, the shoots and
seeds of the plant are used to thicken milk. The roots are
used medicinally and are frequently included in ayurvedic
The compounds that give ashwagandha its medicinal properties
are called withanolides. Animal studies have found that ashwagandha
root stimulates the immune system, can reduce inflammation,
and may even improve memory. These properties have caused
some practitioners to label ashwagandha as a tonic or adaptogen
an herb with multiple (yet nonspecific) actions that
counteract the effects of stress and promote health and wellness.
How much ashwagandha should I take?
Some herbalists recommend 3-6 grams of dried ashwagandha
root taken daily, either in capsule or tea form. Tinctures
(2-4ml) and extracts can also be taken daily.
What forms of ashwagandha are available?
Dried ashwagandha root is available in some specialty stores.
Many nutritional stores also sell ashwagandha extracts and
What can happen if I take too much
ashwagandha? Are there any interactions I should be aware
of? What precautions should I take?
To date, no significant side-effects or known drug interactions
have been reported with ashwagandha. The herb has been used
safely by children in India. However, it has not been tested
in pregnant or lactating women. Women who are pregnant or
breastfeeding should consult with a health care provider before
taking ashwagandha supplements.
Other Resources :
More You Know About Nutrition
- Anabalgan K, Sadique J. Antiinflammatory
activity of Withania somnifera. Indian J Exp Biol
- Bhattacharya SK, Kumar A, Ghosal S. Effects
of glycowithanolides from withania somnifera on an
animal model of Alzheimer's disease and perturbed central
cholinergic markers of cognition in rats. Phytother Res
- Bone K. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic
and Chinese Herbs. Queensland, Australia: Phytotherapy
Press, 1996, 13741.
- Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs.
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 5145.
- Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant
adaptogens. Phytomed 1994;1:6376.