Ashwagandha

Family: Solanaceae
Genus & Species: Withania somnifera
Common Names: Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry
Overview: Ashwagandha is a perennial shrub in the nightshade family that has been used extensively in the Indian subcontinent where it is recognized as one of the supreme rejuvenative herbs or rasāyana. [1] The cream-colored root is often dried and powderized to be used medicinally. The name comes from two sanskrit root-words, “ashwa” meaning horse and “gandha” which means smell. [2] In addition to the pungent odor of the fresh root,  ashwagandha is known within Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to impart the strength and stamina of a stallion to the person who regularly takes it. [3] It strengthens the body’s resistance to disease by improving cell-mediated immunity as well as being a potent antioxidant, reducing the impact of free radicals. [1] 
Therapeutic Properties: Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anthelmintic (anti-parasitic), aphrodisiac, thermogenic, tonic, nervine, adaptogen, anxiolytic, neuroregenerative, immunomodulator, muscle-tonic. [1,2] 
Typical Uses: Ashwagandha can be most commonly bought in its powdered form (churna) or as an alcohol tincture. To take advantage of the herb’s anxiety reducing, adaptogenic, and immune boosting properties its best to use the powdered root. [1] It can be mixed with warm water or a milk alternative and a little cinnamon to make a delicious tonic! The tincture can also be a great option for anyone that needs immediate grounding. Topically, ashwagandha can make a fantastic addition to any herbal salve. This will really bring out the herbs anti-inflammatory properties and natural analgesic action. 

References:

1. An Overview of Ashwagandha | PubMed Central® 

2. The Beginner’s Guide to Ashwagandha | Herbal Academy

3. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) | Herb Rally

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