Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera

Traditional ayurvedic medicinal plant. Also called Winter Cherry and Indian ginseng. Helpful against chronic infection, stress, nervous exhaustion and illnesses caused by these conditions. Also good for aiding convalescence.

Ashwagandha contains a number of alkaloids which decrease blood pressure and have relaxing effects. The plant’s infection inhibiting properties are due to so called withanolides which, on top of their usefulness against lupus and arthritis, are believed to be able to decrease the growth of cancer cells. Ashwagandha also contains a large amount of iron and is therefore well suited to the treatment of iron deficiency and anaemia.
Ashwagandha is especially used to strengthen the adrenal glands under stress, to counteract the development of grey hair, to strengthen sexual prowess, and to help children who grow to slowly.

In India the leaves, roots, and berries are used. The amount of active chemicals varies in the different plant parts, which is why the different parts of the plant work in different ways.

Pregnancy and nursing
There is no certain information regarding why use should be discouraged in these periods.

Dosage
Dried herb: 3-6 g daily (Børn: 2 g daily)
Extract (1:2): 6-12 ml dialy

Side Effects
There are no reports of side effects with the recommended dosages, but high dosages can cause symptoms in the digestive tract such as diarrhoea and vomiting.

Interactions
Ashwagandha is believed to strengthen the effectiveness of benzodiazepines and possibly of GABA.