Ashwagandha has a history of use stretching back thousands of years. Its name in Sanskrit means ‘the smell and strength of a horse,’ alluding to its effect on improving the body’s ability to maintain physical effort and helping the body adapt to various types of stress. Withania somnifera is one of the herbs that were traditionally considered a Rasayana, or in other words adaptogenic. Because of this it is used for supporting many systems of the body. These include the reproductive system, nervous system, circulatory system, immune system, and endocrine system.
Traditional medicinal uses
Bioactive constituent withaferin A has shown potential in therapy for glioblastomas, although this is not a traditional use of the plant. The plant’s long, brown, tuberous roots are used in traditional medicine. In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are applied externally to tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers. The roots are used to prepare the herbal remedy ashwagandha. The traditional use is as a powder, mixed with warm milk and honey, and taken before bed. In Yemen, where it is known as ubab, the dried leaves are ground to a powder from which a paste is made and used in the treatment of burns and wounds
Ashwagandha root extract is a popular supplement, with purported benefits including reduction of anxiety and stress (potentially mediated by reducing cortisol levels). The extract is also thought to reduce total cholesterol levels increase power output and muscle mass and has other, less significant effects. As a supplement, the lowest effective dose for acute use is 300–500 mg, with the optimum dose being 6000 mg per day in three 2000 mg doses, taken with each meal.
Warnings and side effects of Ashwagandha
Pregnant women are guided to completely avoid consumption of this potent medicinal plant, as it possesses powerful abortifacient properties. More importantly, large doses of the herb can cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort