Used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions, Ashwagandha, one of the most vital herbs in Ayurvedic healing but is most well-known for its restorative benefits. The name “ashwagandha” translates to “horse’s smell,” referencing the musky scent of the plant. It is is a small, shrub-like plant belonging to the nightshade family and is closely related to the common tomato. The plant is native to India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, thriving in the semitropical environment of these regions.
For over 3000 years, Ayurvedic practitioners in India began using it for people with anxiety, low energy, and the ravages of aging. In holistic medical care, ashwangandha is seen as ‘adaptogenic’, meaning it will help increase effect when activity is low, but will block excess stimulation when activity is too high. This is a very good choice for the wild hormonal variations that occur with anxiety.
In a recent study published in the peer reviewed Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Ashwagandha was shown to improve several areas of cognitive effect in subjects with bipolar disorder. Recent research has identified numerous bioactive constituents in Ashwagandha that have cognitive enhancing benefits, namely the steroidal lactones which are known as glycowithanolides and sitoindosides. These brain eantooxidants have been shown to enhance mental performance and promote nueroprotective activity.
Typical dosage is 300mg of ashwagandha standardized once or twice a day. Ashwaganda may be beneficial for someone who suffers from anxiety, bipolar disorder or experiences sleeplessness due to high amounts of stress.