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Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps with those inflicted with ailments such as Lyme disease by benefiting the thyroid and adrenals.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Cut and Sifted Bulk (sometimes spelled Ashwaganda)
Preparation and dosage: blend 1 or 2 teaspoonful of the herb into 1 cup boiling water. Simmer 10 minutes. Drink 3 x daily. Tincture: take 1 teaspoon, 3 x daily.
Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)
The common name translates from the Sanskrit ashva, "horse," and gandha, "smells like," which alludes to the virility of a horse. The species name somnifera indicates that the herb is a soporific agent.
Range of Appearance
Ashwaghanda is native to India and the subtropical areas in the drier regions of the foothills of the Himalayas, at altitudes of up to 5,500 feet. It now grows wild from Europe to North Africa and the Middle East, often along roadsides and in fields. This perennial plant somewhat resembles a stout potato plant but grows as large as a shrub. During its fruiting stage, the auxiliary clusters of yellow-green flowers look like miniature Chinese lanterns. As the plant reaches maturity, the calyxes become transparent, revealing orange-red berries that contain yellow seeds.
Root (primarily), leaf, berry, seed
Ashwagandha's use has been recorded for at least three thousand years.
The plant has a flavor somewhat similar to that of unsweetened chocolate. Tea prepared from the plant is often flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and milk. Ashwagandha powder is sometimes mixed with honey and almond butter or ghee and served on crackers. The seeds have been used in place of rennet to curdle milk for the making of cheese.
The leaf is used as an insect repellent. The fruit, which is rich in saponins, is sometimes used as a soap.
Thirty-five alkaloids (including ashwagandhine), steroidal lactones (withanolides), amino acids (tryptophan, alanine, ornothine), iron
During pregnancy use ashwagandha only under the guidance of a health-care professional, as there have been some reports of the herb having abortifacient properties. Using this herb in combination with barbiturates can exacerbate their effects. The berries have caused gastrointestinal distress when consumed by children. Do not use the leaf in cases of congestion.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.