Ashwagandha: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Ayurvedic Uses

This classic Ayurvedic herb is a powerful adaptogen that can help with stress management, sleep, memory, and more.

In This Article

Healing Powers of Ashwagandha

An adaptogen is an herb with overall nervine tonic benefits – energizing the body when it needs it during the day, and calming overactive nerves for easy and restful sleep at night.

The word Ashwagandha is alternately translated as the “strength,” “sweat,” and “smell” of ten horses. This is sometimes said to refer to the smell of the root, and likely also harks back to its building and strengthening properties, and its tropism for building the nervous system and sexual vitality.

The root is also used to support athletic performance, endurance and exercise recovery.

Ashwagandha is one of Ayurveda’s few natural ojas builders, which means it supports vitality, immunity, radiant health and longevity. Ashwagandha is also considered to have herbal intelligence, as it can increase or decrease stress hormones like cortisol depending on the needs of the body.

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Ashwagandha supports the nervous, reproductive, immune and respiratory systems.

It is also a specific rasayana, or rejuvenative, for the mamsa dhatu or muscle tissues. As such, it is useful for promoting the optimal strength and vitality of the heart, uterus, and the muscles of the respiratory system that bolster and support the lungs, making it useful in the support of breathing issues.

When applied to the skin, as an oil or an ingredient in a skin care formula, Ashwagandha provides a calming effect.

Ayurveda considers Ashwagandha to be an overall health tonic.

Ashwagandha is said to decrease excess vata and kapha, though caution is advised in the case of excess pitta.

Energetics of Ashwagandha

  • Taste (Rasa): Bitter, astringent, sweet
  • Energy (Virya): Heating
  • Post-digestive quality (Vipaka): Sweet
  • Quality (Guna): Light, unctuous
  • Tissue (Dhatu): Blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve, reproductive
  • Channel (Srotas): Reproductive, nervous, respiratory

Need Support?

Ayurvedic Supplements with Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha also known as winter cherry, is becoming a favorite adaptogen with many Western herbalists because of its unique nourishing and stabilizing properties. An adaptogen is an herb with overall nervine tonic benefits – energizing the body when it needs it during the day, and calming overactive nerves for easy and restful sleep at night. In the daytime, it helps support healthy weight loss, detox, cognitive function, hormone balance, sexual health, and the immune system, all of which can be negatively impacted by stress.*

Energico is a proprietary, adaptogenic, herbal formula designed to support the nervous system and help the body to replenish the reserves and adapt to stress to get through the day. If the body is depleted and deficient, it will constantly be “borrowing,” going more and more into debt and having to produce more adrenaline and stress-fighting hormones, which are toxic to the body. As Ashwagandha is a heating herb, for those with a lot of pitta – or fire – in their constitution, Ashwagandha on its own may be too fiery. For these cases Dr. Douillard has specially formulated a proprietary adaptogenic blend. Energico gives you the same nervine tonic benefits, supplying energy during the day while helping the nervous system unwind adequately to provide a good night’s sleep. Energico also supplies the rejuvenative and brain tonic benefits of Shilajit and Brahmi.

Ojas Nightly Tonic: This sumptuous blend of ojas-building foods and herbs (Ashwagandha and Shatavari) makes it easy to replenish your reserves. Add a heaping teaspoon to a cup of milk or milk substitute, add a bit of ghee or coconut oil and bring to a simmer for your ojas-building nightcap.

Chyawanprash: is a classic Ayurvedic superfood with a supporting cast of over 40 organic herbs for anyone who needs support to avoid vata imbalances during seasonal changes and stressful life transitions. The base and key ingredient of this formula is Amalaki, or Indian Gooseberry, a powerful antioxidant fruit that is considered a superfood in India for its potent free radical-scavenging properties. Chyawanprash helps support the body’s natural ability to remove toxins or “ama” and boost “ojas” which, in Ayurveda, supports optimal vigor and vitality.

Royal Glow Facial Moisturizer is a concentrated moisturizer in the tradition of Ayurvedic beauty care containing vitamins A, D, and E, as well as the tonifying Ayurvedic herbs Bala, Brahmi, Turmeric, Amalaki, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Tulsi. According to Ayurvedic legend, these herbs promote a glowing and lustrous appearance of the skin. A light, silky texture and subtle floral scent give this moisturizer its fine, delicate feel.

Fountain of Youth Skin Serum is designed to be applied to target areas of the skin to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Combining time-tested Ayurvedic herbs Neem, Amalaki, Vacha (Calamus), Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Bala, along with vitamins A, C, D, and E, Fountain of Youth Skin Serum brings Ayurvedic beauty solutions to the areas of your skin most vulnerable to the signs of aging.

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