Ashwagandha is used to tone, support, and revitalize bodily functions.1 It has been revered over time for its dual capacity to energize and calm at the same time. Stress can cause fatigue, often manifesting as “hyper” signs like agitation and difficulty sleeping. By providing a nourishing, energizing effect, you can support a healthy nervous system. When the stress doesn’t impact the nervous system as strongly, the “hyper” signs will naturally resolve over time,2 allowing for a calming effect. This quality of ashwagandha makes it a prime supplement to use in the toning and rejuvenation process.3 In addition to its dual energizing/calming effect, ashwagandha offers a number of benefits:
- Supports a healthy immune system*2, 3
- Calms mental processes*3
- Fosters healthy sleep patterns*2
- Benefits a healthy reproductive system in both males and females*4, 5
- Supports sustained energy levels, strength, and vitality, including with physical activity*
- Supports healthy back and joints*4
Ashwagandha and Ayurveda: Traditional Uses
Ashwagandha is used in Ayurveda to balance vata and kapha;2 in excess, and because of its heating, unctuous, building nature, it can imbalance pitta, and also worsen ama (toxic build-up).6 Ayurveda recognizes ashwagandha particularly for its building, strengthening, and nourishing nature. It is used for the same reasons as listed in the Benefits section above, particularly to support healthy muscles and reproductive systems, and to balance vata.
How to Use Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is available in powder and tablet forms, and as a liquid extract. The traditional use is as a powder, mixed with warm milk and honey, and taken before bed,3 calming vata and fostering healthy sleep patterns, reproductive system, and strength. A general dose can be 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon once or twice daily.1, 2 Traditionally ashwagandha is taken with ghee and honey (equal parts) anupans for overall nourishment and rejuvenation. Adding sugar (cane or sugar candy) adds a cooling effect and can even be substituted for the honey, particularly in the summer months. It can also be used with ghee and sugar to support the female reproductive system and joints.4 For a more convenient method of taking ashwagandha, you can also find the herb in tablet form. This can be an easier method, especially for those that travel a lot, have a shortage of time, or do not like the taste of ashwagandha tea. Banyan Botanicals prefers tablets over capsules as there is still some mild tasting of the herb that occurs. Taste starts the digestive process, and sends signals to the body as to what to expect, already initiating your body’s own inner pharmacy. Liquid extract is also available and provides an alternative method of taking ashwagandha. It\'s convenient, easy to assimilate, and has a long shelf life.
Large doses of ashwagandha can cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea.1 Ashwagandha has otherwise been tolerated well in the few reported studies that exist.