ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera)

ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera)

Most of you never heard of it. So by way of introduction I will say, “Here is an alternative to Boswellia serrata” (see my post of June 21th, 2016). Boswellia serrata is also called Indian Frankincense, and is the first cousin of Boswellia sacra that was the Frankincense given to Jesus by the Magi.”

Ashwagandha is called “The Prince of Herbs” in Indian (Ayurveda) Herbal Medicine. Benefits include neurological, immune, endocrine, and as a help in stress and anxiety and also as a potent antioxidant.

In one human clinical study, ashwagandha improved overall mental aptitude and reaction time. Ashwagandha could prevent memory deficit and cognitive impairment by inhibiting degeneration of neurons and repairing the damaged neurons.

In experimentally induced inflammation Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) seemed to be more potent than hydrocortisone even in small dosages and quite similar to the effect of aspirin without the gastrointestinal side effects. May I remind you that topical preparations like creams or gels are even safer as small amounts are applied in specific areas.

In summary, the opinion of herbalists is that Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) is more potent than boswellia and at least as potent as hydrocortisone and aspirin.

A very good summary of the tested clinical benefits of this wonderful herb was published in the “WHO monographs of selected medicinal plants.” Anyone who desires a copy please use the contact form to send us a message requesting a copy of the WHO monograph for ashwagandha.

Reviewed are: Anti-inflammatory effects – greatly summarized above, stroke and heart muscle protection, antioxidant activity, possible protection of short term memory and neuronal protection in Parkinson’s disease. The great majority of results are based on animal studies, however.

The same source suggests that powdered crude drug (mostly in the form of powdered root) could be taken as “an anti-stress agent”: 250 mg twice daily.

Finally, the monograph warns that, “Due to the lack of safety data and the fact that the crude drug has been used in traditional medicine to induce abortion”, its use should be avoided in younger women of child bearing age, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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