You’ve probably read about ashwagandha or heard more than one friend swear by it for its calming effect. In fact, a small 2012 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found, “…high-concentration full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.” We asked for an ashwagandha overview from Dr. Scott Roos, an Ayurveda practitioner. Ayurveda was developed in ancient India and is the world’s oldest medical system. It’s the primary healthcare system in India and employs a natural and holistic approach to health, using plants, minerals, diet, exercise and lifestyle to maintain or regain health, wellness and vitality. Roos says ashwagandha is a shrub found in Asia and Africa. It is one of the treatments for people with Vāta Dosha out of balance. Doshas are the three categories, or constitutions, affecting the body, mind and behavior. Vāta dosha controls movement and processes, including blood flow, bowel movements, breathing and thoughts. Roos says ashwagandha can help people with various issues including acne, allergies, anxiety, back pain, fatigue, insomnia, low sex drive and muscle stiffness. Pregnant women should avoid ashwagandha, as well as women in perimenopause or menopause experiencing hot flashes, “unless it is combined in a formula with sufficient cooling herbs,” says Roos, because the flashes indicate a (treatable) doshic imbalance. “A good introduction to the herb would be to take 500 milligrams three times a day after meals with warm water for 100 days,” says Roos, who recommends it in powder form. “Ashwagandha is an amazing herb when used properly,” says Roos. “Because Vāta Dosha tends to be the main culprit for folks over 55, Ashwagandha can be a great supplement to our diets as we enter the latter part of our lives.” As with any supplement or change in diet, consult your healthcare practitioner before taking it.
Organic India Tulsi Ashwagandha Tea is a caffeine-free blend of tulsi leaves and ashwagandha root designed to uplift and relax at the same time. Available locally at Whole Foods.
Himalaya Organic Ashwagandha capsules include ashwagandha root and extract. The recommended amount is one caplet per day before food. himalayausa.com.
Banyan Botanicals Ashwagandha Powder. Roos recommends a powder as his top choice of how to take ashwagandha. Banyan’s suggested use is “¼ to ½ teaspoon with warm water, once or twice daily, or as directed by your health practitioner.” banyanbotanicals.com