Latin name: Withania somnifera
Also Know As: Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry or winter cherry
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb used in Ayurveda medicine. Ashwagandha means ‘Smell of Horse,’ which refers to the fresh root’s distinct horsey smell, and the traditional belief that ingesting the herb will confer the strength and virility of a horse.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It is supplemented primarily for its ability to prevent anxiety. Ashwagandha’s anti-anxiety effect is even synergistic with alcohol. It also shows promise for relieving insomnia and stress-induced depression. Ashwagandha can significantly reduce cortisol concentrations and the immunosuppressive effect of stress.
Beyond reducing stress levels, ashwagandha can improve physical performance in both sedentary people and athletes, as well as reduce Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Ashwagandha can improve the formation of memories, and may be able to treat Alzheimer’s disease, though more human evidence is needed before supplementation can be recommended specifically for Alzheimer’s
The lowest effective dose for acute usage of ashwagandha, and perhaps the most cost-effective dose, is 300-500mg. The optimal dose is 6,000mg a day usually divided into three doses (2,000mg) and while 300-500mg is effective for most situations a lower dose of 50-100mg can be seen as effective in few instances such as reducing the immunosuppression seen with stress and augmenting anxiolytic (anxiety reducing agents). Ashwagandha should be taken with meals. If taken once a day, it should be taken with breakfast.