Herb Profile: Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha.  It’s certainly the herb of the moment and is included as a “magic” ingredient in teas, lattes, cakes – you name it.  It seems everyone wants their dose of this wonder herb.

However, before I go on to look at some of the benefits of Ashwagandha, I should point out that it isn’t a herb that everyone should be taking as a matter of course.

Firstly, it has a heating post-digestive effect which may make it unsuitable for your if you are experiencing any Pitta-related changes.

Secondly, Ashwagandha shouldn’t be taken if there is Ama (toxins) present in the body or mind.  The part of the herb that is used is the root and it has a very heavy effect. Great for grounding but its heavy quality means it can increase Ama which is also heavy.  In this case, I would suggest taking Triphala alongside Ashwagandha as this will help ensure toxins are being effectively eliminated from the body.

Coming onto the benefits.  The actions of Ashwagandha are nourishing, grounding and calming so it’s very helpful for the nervous system.  If you’re suffering from stress, anxiety or insomnia, it may well be the herb for you.

Ashwagandha is also great for boosting the immune system.  If you find yourself suffering repeated infections, colds or flus, Ashwagandha may help.

Musculoskeletal problems? Ashwagandha is a potent anti-inflammatory and its anabolic properties mean it can help with weakness whether that be post-illness or general debility.

The literal translation of Ashwagandha is “strength of a stallion” so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the main Ayurvedic herbs for the male reproductive system!  That said, it’s also good for some female gynaecological issues, particularly if accompanied by pain.

With a profile like that, it’s easy to see why Ashwagandha has become so popular over the last few years.  As with all Ayurvedic herbs, however, it’s always best to take advice from a qualified practitioner before starting treatment.

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