Botanical Medicine: Withania somnifera (Ashwaghanda)

You may have heard about Ashwaghanda before – recently, maybe a little bit more! Ashwaghanda (latin name Withania somnifera) comes from the Solanaceae family of herbs and is originally from India and the Middle East. Therefore, Ashwaghanda is also known as Indian Ginseng. The plant itself is comprised of yellow flowers and scarlet red berries.

The medicinal properties of Ashwaghanda are to be found in all parts of the plant: the root, leaves and berries.

The active medicinal constituents of the plant, the STEROIDAL LACTONES also called WITHANOLIDES are what hold the medicinal activities of Ashwaghanda.

In naturopathic medicine, Ashwaghanda is commonly used as an ADAPTOGENIC herb. It helps balance the stress-cortisol response via the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis, to mitigate nervous exhaustion and promote neuroplasticity. It is also very useful in inflammatory conditions and with memory and cognitive impairment as well.

Many herbs are not safe in pregnancy and will interact with medications. Please consult a Naturopathic Doctor to ensure that any herb you decide on taking is appropriate and that it’s method of administration and dosing is safe for you!

 

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