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  • Writer's pictureDr. Wilde


Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen – a substance which normalizes and mitigates stress response in the body. It proofs against the negative effects of stress and gives your body a coping ability and resilience to stressors.

A root of the nightshade family, it has been termed Indian Ginseng due to, like the Chinese ginseng, has such a broad applicability as a health remedy. Other names it is known by include Clustered wintercherry, Orovale and Kanaje. Ashwagandha itself derives from the Sanskrit word meaning, “smell of the horse” for the plant's innate scent

Source: Largely sourced from India, it is a drought tolerant plant which grows in dry soil and is harvested in places with low rainfall



Stress Reduction: Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted by the adrenals which raises blood sugar and, when elevated for extended periods, leads to increased fat storage in the abdomen. Cortisol also contributes to muscle loss, weakness and wrinkles. Stress is a sympathetic nervous system response - while the activity of the immune system and digestion are parasympathetic activities. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (and stress!) by as much as 30%

Stress and Anxiety: In multiple studies, patients who took Ashwagandha reported lower levels of anxiety at far greater rates than the placebo subjects. Ashwagandha helps to block the stress pathways in the brain. Corollary to this, there has also been some initial evidence in studies that Ashwagandha mitigates depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Ashwagandha additionally protects against insomnia and sleeplessness

Memory and Brain Health: It's long been used to aid in memory and reduce memory or neurological dysfunction caused by injury or illness. This bodes well for those who just want a mental boost and assisting in more severe conditions such as brain encephalopathy. Due to its antioxidant properties, it’s been shown to protect nerve cells from free radicals

Promotes Nerve Growth: Studies show Ashwagandha to cause neurogenesis and proof nerves against oxidative stress. It was proven beneficial against neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s. These benefits extended to those patients with ADHD and even Schizophrenia

Lowers Cholesterol – Studies have shown Ashwagandha to lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This goes far in raising the efficacy of dietary metabolic processes and mitigating against cardiovascular disease and the assorted illnesses brought on by high cholesterol issues

Anti-Fungal + Anti-Bacterial: Studies have shown Ashwagandha to inhibit fungal growth in vivo as well as be effective in its activity against certain pathogenic bacteria such as Tuberculosis and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus)

Anti-viral + Anti-Parasitic: Studies have shown it effective against Hepatitis and even in aiding those with HIV/AIDS. Ashwangandha has shown efficacy against malaria and other parasites

Anti-Cancer: Ashwagandha improves white blood cell count which are depleted in chemotherapeutic treatment. It also is a strong radiosensitizer (making tumors more sensitive to radiation). Ashwagandha has shown beneficial effects against most all cancers including brain, stomach, prostrate, colon, skin, pancreatic and breast. It seems to have an anti-tumor effect and suppresses certain cancer genes


Risks: Should not be taken while pregnant as it can induce abortion. Talk to a doctor before taking ashwagandha if you are breastfeeding. It may also be contraindicated for those with autoimmune issues

As it can also lower glucose levels, those with diabetes taking insulin should consult their doctor first


Sustainability: As Ashwagandha thrives in all parts of India as an evergreen plant resistant to drought. It can also be grown in home gardens - so there is no foreseeable issue with resourcing this herb

Processing: Ashwagandha is a shrub bearing small red berries chock full of seeds. Once the leaves and berries start to dry out, the plant is pulled out from the ground. Ashwagandha roots are cut away from the plant – the roots are the portion of this plant which are then processed for their medicinal benefits. Once the roots are cut up, they need to be scrubbed thoroughly of all their dirt. The roots will then be cut up into small pieces and dried out. The dried root can be used to make a tea or decoction. They can also be ground up into a fine powder by which Astragalus is commonly sold and consumed


Resources: - Effects on increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity - Reducing stress and anxiety with effects on cortisol - Effects on lowering cholesterol

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