8.3 Famous Ayurvedic
8.3.2 ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera, Dunal)
Taste: Bitter and astringent
Attribute: Light and oily
General Action: Rejuvenating, tonic, corrects impotency, increases ojas, corrects debility, reduce stress, immunomodulator, antitumor
Specific Action: Aphrodisiac, rejuvenating
Therapeutic Action: Lowers vata and kapha, okay for pitta in moderate doses unless toxins are present
Ashwangandha is one of the main herbs for promoting ojas and rejuvenating the body in Ayurveda. It is a well-known semen promoter and it treats impotency and infertility. It is used in many general tonics and preparations, such as Chavana Prash. Asheagandha is especially good for lowering vata in men or women, and rejuvenating vata sits in the body, such as bone marrow (the site of B and T cell production). Although considered to be the primary tonic for men, it can be safely used by women for up to one year in cases of general debility, pregnancy, and high vata.
Clinical studies show that ashwagandha has antibacterial antitumor, anti0inflammatory and immunomodulating properties. A separate study also showed immunomodulatory (harmonizes immune function) effects, including a positive effect on the central nervous system.
These tests show strong anti-stress actions, increased memory, and learning capabilities. The strong anti-stress properties include both mental and physical stress and exhaustion. Furthermore, this test indicates the low order of toxicity of the plant, supporting the Ayurvedic view that it is safe for long-term consumption. It has also exhibited antibacterial and antifungal activities in a raw or unprocessed state and it has antibiotic effects. Many studies have documented the profound antitumor action of ashwagandha, suggesting possible anticancer effects.
Other studies substantiate the tonic effect on the heart and lungs that Ayurveda has known about for so long. One study showed a prolonged hypotensive (stablizes low blood pressure), bradycardiac (regulating heartbeat), and respiratory-stimulating action. In tests on the central nervous system mild depressant effects were noted, but when electroshock were administered, ashwagandha actually protected the subjects. This indicated the strong nourishing and protective effect it has on the nervous system. Large doses of the root show radio-protection from X-rays. In addition the anti-arthritic effects, the prevention of necrosis of liver tissue, the rejuvenation of these liver tissues (which can reduce death probability) and the intestinal anti-inflammatory actions of ashwagandha clearly show why Ayurveda has such a high opinion of this herb as a general tonic.
Dose: 2 to grams per day with milk (or warm water)