Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as "Indian ginseng", is a nightshade plant that bears bright red fruits. Its root is mainly used for the application in Ayurveda. Translated from Sanskrit, ashwagandha means "smell of the horse" as it is believed that the one who is of it becomes as strong as a horse. In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha has been valued for over 3000 years for infertility, signs of aging and to strengthen the blood flow in particular.
In terms of alternative medicine, ashwagandha is also an adaptogenic plant. Adaptogenic plants have attracted particular interest from scientists in recent years because of their ability to adapt to environmental factors. That is, they take away what there is too much of and fill in what is lacking. This means that the idea behind using these plants is that they could also contribute to this self-regulation in the human organism.
Benefit and mode of action
In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is used to calm the Vata and Kapha doshas. In German it is also referred to as "sleeping berry", which already reveals another purpose in Ayurveda: Promotion of sleep and relaxation as well as alleviation of anxiety and poor memory and concentration.
Ashwagandha supports the balance in the nervous system and, according to the teachings of Ayurveda, ensures calm and clarity of mind. It is therefore often used in overexertion and chronic exhaustion.
A double-blind study with 98 participants published in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association 2008;11(1) 50-56 from 2008 is dedicated to reducing stress-related parameters by taking 125 mg or 250 mg Ashwagandha 2x per day - resulting in a significant reduction in clinical and biochemical stress indicators with no undesirable side effects.
The biologically active components of Withania somnifera root are withanolides (steroids) and alkaloids. The root has been used in traditional medicine to treat bronchitis, dyspepsia, impotence, scabies and ulcers, and for abortion (WHO, 2009). In traditional Chinese medicine, the rhizome is used, among other things, as analgesic, antipyretic and antimalarial (Teuscher and Lindequist, 2010).
Withania somnifera roots are classified as "Rasayana" which means "tissue regeneration" and is a paraphrase of the group of rejuvenating agents (Gupta and Rana, 2007; Rege et al., 1999) . In addition to life-prolonging and rejuvenating effects, Withania is said to have calming properties (Andrade et al., 2000; Mirjalili et al., 2009). It is used as a tonic, known as "Medharasayana" which means "promotes learning and memory" and for geriatric problems (Mirjalili et al., 2009).
A study from 2015 suggests a contribution of Ashwagandha to muscle building: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26609282/
The roots are used as a health-promoting nutrient in pregnant women and the elderly (Mirjalili et al., 2009).
For the root of Withania somnifera (Radix Withaniae) there is a positive WHO monograph for medicinal use (WHO, 2009). 3–6 g of the dried and ground root are indicated as a dosage for medicinal use, or 250 mg twice a day as an anti-stress agent (WHO, 2009) Source for the above points: Source: https://www.bfr.bund .de/cm/350/risk-assessment-of-plants-and-herbal-preparations.pdf
Legal consumer information
German and European jurisdiction wants to protect the consumer from supposedly misleading claims about effectiveness. The statements made here refer to the original Ayurvedic and TCM texts. This knowledge, which has been handed down for thousands of years, is based on experiences that are passed on from generation to generation. It should not be claimed that the products described here have any effect in the sense of western medicine. All products are dietary supplements; they are not medicines and have no medicinal effect. If you are ill and require medical attention, please contact your doctor or pharmacist..