Ashwagandha it May Surprise You

Mixed spices


It’s not always easy to come up with blog topics so I’m taking a page from last weeks “fun to say” group and investigating Ashwagandha.  The interesting name is attributed to sanskrit Ashva meaning horse and gandha meaning smell or smell of a horse.  The belief is that the name stems from the horse-like smell of the root and it’s ability to promote vigour. 

What is it Good for?

Ashwagandha has been used extensively throughout the centuries and is a particular favourite in Ayurveda.  It’s uses include

  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Combating stress
  • Increasing sexual potency
  • Relieves depression
  • Strengthens brain cells 
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief in arthritis 

In addition the NIH (National Institute of Health) states that it has been found to increase stamina, decrease stress, helps prevent stress induced ulcers and helps slow neurodegenerative disease.  It has been used for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s as well as others. 

Stress With a Side of Anxiety

One of the most common maladies of our modern world is stress.  Too many deadlines, responsibilities and concerns.  Stress causes the adrenal glands to become exhausted leading to craving sweets, memory problems, and a depressed immune system.  Ginseng can help in these situations as can ashwagandha.  Ashwagandha has actually been called Ayurvedic ginseng, although the plants are not related.

Ashwagandha works on the adrenal glands by regulating cortisol production.  Lowered cortisol levels lead to increased disease.  Ashwagandha both regulates cortisol levels and supports immune system health keeping you healthy and strong. 

Neurodegenerative Disease

Ashwagandha helps in diseases such as Alzheimer’s by preventing the build up of plaques that are toxic to brain cells.  According to ashwagandha is thought to work by boosting a protein in the liver which removes the amyloid from the brain.  Check them out for more information. 

Sexual Potency

Ahh, it just wouldn’t be an herb if it wasn’t credited as an aphrodisiac.  However, in this case there is some evidence for this.  Ashwagandha has been used throughout history to 

  • Increase the libido
  • Prevent infertility
  • Strengthen sperm
  • Prevent premature ejaculation
  • Prevent impotence 

Studies have shown that ashwagandha has a spermatogenic (increasing sperm) effect.  It has also been used to treat menopausal symptoms and painful menstruation.

Due to it’s rejuvenating properties and it’s ability to improve sleep, promote healthy adrenal function, reduce stress and generally promote good health into old age it is not surprising that it would work for sexual potency. 


  • Ashwagandha should not be used by pregnant women.  In high dosage it has been found to cause abortion in mice.
  • Overdosing on ashwagandha may sound like a good idea but too high a dose can impact liver function as well as cause drowsiness.
  • Auto-immune diseases such as MS Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis – if you have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease please do not try ashwagandha. You do not want to increase your immune system function. 

Ashwagandha is not only fun to see but it is overall an impressive tonic herb. 



The Chopra Centre