Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) Benefits, Uses, Dosage & Side Effects

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Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) helps in improving immune system. It is a potent adaptogen and aphrodisiac herb used in impotency, cancer, frequent miscarriage, uterine weakness, infertility, asthma, anemia, cancer, arthritis (osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis), anxiety, stress, depression, ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), cerebellar ataxia, diabetes, high cholesterol, infertility, Parkinson’s disease,  fibromyalgia etc.

Ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng) is used in Ayurveda since a very long time as a crucial part of ayurvedic treatment for several health conditions. In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is Rasayana (potent rejuvenative agent). It is acknowledged to increase the vitality and longevity. It improves memory, preserve mental functions and increases intelligence. It protects brain from degeneration and dementia. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is widely used in all inflammatory disorders.

The meaning of word Ashwagandha is ‘smell of horse’. It is named so for two important reasons – first is because roots of Ashwagandha emit the smell of horse. Second reason is – it is believed that consuming Ashwagandha in any form may develop or improve vitality, energy levels and strength similar to that of a horse. Ashwagandha is available in the market as a single herb formulation or in combination with other herbs.

Botanical Description

Scientific Name of Ashwagandha is Withania Somnifera. In Latin, the meaning of Somnifera species is ‘sleep inducing’.

Common Names

English NameIndian ginseng, Indian winter cherry, poison gooseberry
Hindi NameAshwagandha, Asgandh
Sanskrit NameAshwagandha, Ashvagandha, Gandhapatri, Ashvakandika, Palashaparni
Ayurvedic NameAshwagandha
Also Spelled AsAshwaganda, Aswagandha, Ashwaghanda, Ashvagandha, Ashwangandha, Ashwgandha

Botanical Classification (Plant Taxonomy)

KingdomPlantae
Sub-KingdomViridiplantae
Infra KingdomStreptophyta  (Land Plants)
Super DivisionEmbryophyta
DivisionTracheophyta (Tracheophytes or Vascular Plants)
Sub DivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes or Seed Plants)
ClassMagnoliopsida
Super OrderAsteranae
OrderSolanales
FamilySolanaceae (Nightshades)
GenusWithania (PAUQUY)
SpeciesWithania Somnifera

Plant Description

Native RegionIt is cultivated in various regions of India such as NEEMUCH, MANASA, JAWAD TEHSILS of the MANDSAUR district of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. It is also distributed in Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Sri Lanka, Mediterranean regions, the Canneries and Cape of Good Hope.
HeightAshwagandha is a short perennial shrub that grows 35-75 centimeters tall.
HabitatA dry climate is required for growth of Ashwagandha.
LeavesAshwagandha leaves are simple, ovate, elliptic and dull green in color. They are usually 10-12 centimeters long.
FlowersAshwagandha flowers are tiny and bell-shaped around 1 centimeter long. Very few flowers are 5 centimeter long. They have a beautiful green or lurid yellow color.
FruitsThe fruits (berries) are orange-red in color when they reach a mature (ripe) stage and they have a diameter of 6 millimeter.
SeedsSeeds have a diameter of 2.5 millimeter and they are yellow in color.
RootsAshwagandha roots are stout and fleshy when dry. They are unbranched, straight and gradually tapering downwards. Roots have a brownish white color on the outer side and the inner region is creamy white in color.

Medicinal Parts of Ashwagandha

Generally, roots are used in ayurvedic medicines for aphrodisiac and rejuvenative purposes. Other parts of Ashwagandha including leaves, seeds and flowers also possess therapeutic properties.

Roots

Roots of Ashwagandha are highly valued for its medicinal properties. It is used as a narcotic, aphrodisiac, astringent, diuretic, anthelmintic (expels parasites out of the body) and a stimulant. It is also used for the treatment and management of Leukoderma (a skin disorder), nervous breakdown, constipation and goiter. A paste made from Ashwagandha roots can be applied for the treatment of painful swellings and ulcers.

Leaves

Ashwagandha leaves possess medicinal properties. These are recommended in painful swellings and fever.

Seeds & flowers

Ashwagandha seeds are anthelmintic (expels parasites out of the body), whereas its flowers are diuretic and aphrodisiac. (1)

Phytochemistry (Active Constituents)

Various health-promoting compounds are present in different parts of Ashwagandha plants. Roots of Ashwagandha contain volatile oils, amino acids, alkaloids and starch. Ashwagandha leaves and fruits are loaded with flavonoids and tannins. These flavonoids act as antioxidants and neutralize the free radicals. They help to fight against oxidative stress and reduce the level of inflammation. Different kinds of amino acids present in different parts of Ashwagandha include:

  1. TRYPTOPHAN
  2. GLYCINE
  3. TYROSINE
  4. ALANINE
  5. CYSTINE
  6. PROLINE
  7. VALINE
  8. ASPARTIC ACID
  9. GLUTAMIC ACID (2)

Nutrients in Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is loaded with different minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Good amount of manganese, iron, zinc and copper are present in Ashwagandha that is grown and cultivated in different regions. It is believed that a dry climatic condition contributes to maximum values of nutrition in Ashwagandha plant. Thus, it can be said that habitat and geographical features influence the nutritional composition of Ashwagandha. (3)

Medicinal Properties

  1. Aphrodisiac
  2. Rasayana (Rejuvenating)
  3. Anti-inflammatory
  4. Anodyne
  5. Anti-depressant
  6. Anti-stressor
  7. Immunomodulatory
  8. Adaptogenic
  9. Antioxidant
  10. Anti-arthritic
  11. Carminative
  12. Uterine tonic (beneficial in uterine disorders, endometriosis and uterine pain and provides strength to uterus)
  13. Cardioprotective
  14. Alterative
  15. Anti-diabetic
  16. Anti-ulcerogenic
  17. Anti-cancer
  18. Mild antihypertensive
  19. Mild Anti-asthmatic
  20. Hematogenic
  21. Anti-malarial
  22. Nervine sedative
  23. Mild Hypnotic
  24. Anthelmintic (leaves)
  25. Diuretic (seeds)
  26. Anabolic effect

Ayurvedic Properties

Taste – RASATIKTA (Bitter), KATU (Pungent) & MADHURA (Sweet)
Main Quality – GUNALAGHU (Light) & SNIGADH or SNEHA (Unctuous or Oily)
Potency – VIRYAUSHNA (Hot)
Resultant – VIPAKAMADHURA (Sweet)
Therapeutic Effect – PRABHAVARejuvenation & Tonic
DOSHA KARMA (Effect on Humors)Pacifies KAPHA & VATA
Dhatu (Tissue) EffectAll – RASA, RAKTA, MAMSA, MEDAS, ASTHI, MAJJA & SHUKRA
Beneficial for OrgansAll organ especially brain, heart, muscles, bones, joints, uterus, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, adrenal gland
Impact on MindCalm the mind

Therapeutic Indication of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has powerful healing properties, so it is widely prescribed in ayurveda by ayurvedic doctors. It is used as general health tonic, energy booster, debility after disease and for increasing vigor and strength. The detailed indications of Ashwagandha are as follows:

Psychological Problems

  1. Anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Stress
  4. Mental Agitation
  5. Irritability
  6. Drug addiction treatment & rehabilitation (as a supportive therapy)
  7. Emotional trauma
  8. Sadness and drowsiness
  9. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  10. Manic depressive psychosis
  11. Generalized anxiety disorder
  12. Post-traumatic stress disorder
  13. Social anxiety disorder
  14. Anorexia nervosa
  15. Sleeplessness or insomnia
  16. Schizophrenia (as a supportive therapy only)

Neurological Disorders

  1. Chronic headache
  2. Migraine
  3. Dementia
  4. Alzheimer’s disease
  5. Vertigo
  6. Parkinson’s disease (as a supportive therapy along with Kaunch beej/mucuna prunus)
  7. Memory loss
  8. Atrophy of the brain
  9. Seizures
  10. Epilepsy
  11. Nystagmus (eyeball involuntary movement) along with rajat bhasma
  12. Amnesia
  13. Delirium
  14. Learning disabilities in children

Muscle, Joint & Bone Disorders

Ashwagandha decreases joint inflammation and swelling. It is also reported be beneficial in decreased bone density along with arjuna and hadjod herbs.

  1. Osteoarthritis
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis
  3. Gout
  4. Frozen shoulder
  5. Cervical spondylosis
  6. Lumbar spondylosis
  7. Sciatica (sciatic nerve pain)
  8. Osteoporosis or decreased bone density
  9. Muscle pain
  10. Fibromyalgia

Men’s Health

  1. Male infertility
  2. Impotency
  3. Erectile dysfunction
  4. Oligospermia
  5. Loss of libido

Women’s Health

  1. Uterine weakness
  2. Frequency and recurrent miscarriages
  3. Leucorrhea
  4. Underdeveloped female organs
  5. Loss of libido
  6. Postpartum depression
  7. Female infertility of unknown origin

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) Benefits & Uses

Since 6000 years, Ashwagandha has been used as a traditional medicine in India. Ashwagandha holds the most prominent place among all the Ayurvedic ‘Rasayana’ herbs. Ashwagandha powder (churna) is usually consumed by mixing it with ghee, milk, water or honey. Various studies have showed that Ashwagandha has beneficial effect on different systems of the body. It promotes a healthy reproductive balance and improves the function of overall reproductive system. It also improves memory and cognition by enhancing the function of the nervous system and brain. Ashwagandha boosts the immunity by improving the body’s defense against various diseases. Besides this, it also plays an important role in the management of various diseases and disorders such as diabetes mellitus, liver diseases, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cancer, gastric ulcers and arthritis.

Ashwagandha Use as Tonic

Ashwagandha (in form of Churna or powder) is beneficial in lower dosage (500 mg) for preventing diseases by boosting immune system functions. It enhances non-specific immunity. It alleviates stress, increases physical stamina, and improves overall health.

For tonic and Alterative purposes, 500 mg of Ashwagandha power (churna) should be taken with milk throughout the life. In India and Sri Lanka, ancient Vaidya (ayurvedic doctors) were using this remedy in their families since 3000 years.

Heart Diseases

Ashwagandha is a reputed health tonic that is used in the treatment and management of heart diseases. Oxidative stress and increased load of free radicals increases the pressure and burden on the heart. This compromises the functioning of the heart and affects its structure too. Ashwagandha is considered a heart-protective antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. It further inhibits lipid peroxidation (degradation of lipids). Such a property of ashwagandha is comparable to that of vitamin E. A study found that treatment with ashwagandha improved overall heart health in patients with heart diseases by increasing the heart rate, contractility and relaxation.

Furthermore, ashwagandha has energy boosting properties that provides energy to the heart and improves the overall functioning. It also protects the heart by inhibiting the markers of inflammation that may otherwise cause damage to the heart by increasing inflammation. Besides this, the structure of ashwagandha is similar to that of DIGOXIN, a drug used in the treatment of heart.

Stress is another major factor that causes heart diseases. Research has found that ashwagandha alleviates stress-induced changes and reduces the overall stress levels. Such an anti-stressor effect of ashwagandha improves the overall health of heart, increases its weight and increases duration of contractility. (4, 5)

In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is used along with Arjuna. Ashvagandha & Arjuna Ksheer is more beneficial for heart patients experience debility and exhaustion.

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

A very interesting research published in 2012 evaluated the effect of ashwagandha root powder on hypertensive individuals. These individuals were treated with 2 grams of ashwagandha root powder along with water or milk. It was reported that ashwagandha root powder with milk had a greater protective effect on high blood pressure as compared to when given with water. A drop in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels was observed. A positive link is found between stress and high blood pressure. Ashwagandha reduces high blood pressure levels by inducing a calming effect and by reducing the stress levels. Therefore, ashwagandha can be used in the treatment of hypertension as an adjunct with conventional agents or as a natural alternative. (6)

In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is commonly used for high blood pressure in following combination:

Ayurvedic RemediesQuantity
Ashwagandha powder2000 mg *
Arjuna Churna1000 mg *
Jatamansi (Spikenard) – Nardostachys Jatamansi500 mg *
Mukta Pishti125 mg *
Abhrak Bhasma60 mg *
SarpagandhaRauvolfia Serpentina powder50 mg *+
* Twice daily with Milk
+ In pre-hypertension & mild hypertension, Sarpagandha powder is not required. This Ashwagandha combination is highly effective in moderate hypertension. In severe hypertension or stage 4 hypertension, Sarpagandha powder dosage should be increased to 250 mg twice daily in this combination.

Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Ashwagandha has gained recognition recently as anti-anxiety and anti-stress agent. It is an adaptogenic herb, which raises the ability of the body to resist the damaging effect of stress on the body. Thus, it restores normal physiological functioning. It also helps in reducing the level of stress hormones. Ashwagandha further improves the overall quality of life.

Various studies have shown positive results for stress reducing activity of ashwagandha. A human trial with 64 healthy subjects observed the effect of ashwagandha on stress, anxiety and depression. Out of 64, 32 subjects were treated with ashwagandha for 60 days. At the end of treatment, it was found that the level of stress hormone ‘cortisol’ had reduced significantly in the group treated with ashwagandha. A significant reduction in different measures of stress such as anxiety, depression and insomnia was observed. Furthermore, no harmful or toxic effects were found after consumption of ashwagandha for 60 days. Thus, ashwagandha root extract has the ability to improve the well-being of a person. (7)

The following Ashwagandha combination is highly for mental stress, anxiety disorders and depression.

HerbsQuantity
Ashwagandha powder1000 mg *
Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) powder1000 mg *
Gotu Kola (Centella Asiatica)1000 mg *
Jatamansi (Spikenard) – Nardostachys Jatamansi500 mg *
* Twice daily with water
Milk is also a good adjuvant if patient also experience severe mental fatigue. In such case, Ashwagandha dosage should be increased to 2000 mg twice daily.

Alzheimer’s Disease

A rat study published in 2012 found that ashwagandha root extract play a beneficial role in reversing Alzheimer’s disease. It was observed that ashwagandha contains health-promoting compounds that promote cognition, and increase memory. It also promotes growth of brain cells, improves brain health and reverses behavioral deficits. Alkaloids present in ashwagandha increase the clearance of toxic amyloid (protein fragments that get deposited in the brain and affect cognition) and prevent further damage. Thus, ashwagandha root is an amazing food for brain that improves cognition, memory, concentration level and overall quality of life. (8)

Muscle Weakness

It has been found that ashwagandha plays an important role in strengthening the muscles. Ashwagandha capsules when given to subjects for 30 days resulted in increase in muscle mass activity and increased muscle force in upper extremity, lower extremity and trunk region. Improvement was also observed in hand grip strength. A reduction in body fat percentage and increase in muscle mass was observed. This clearly indicates that ashwagandha promotes muscle activity and strength. The exercise intensity and tolerance also improved. Thus, aged people who have less muscle strength can use ashwagandha. (9)

Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful, inflammatory condition of the joints. Research has found that ashwagandha plays an anti-arthritic role by reducing the inflammation. Furthermore, it reduces the pro-inflammatory markers of inflammation and increases the anti-inflammatory markers. It also improves the overall antioxidant status and prevents the production of reactive oxygen species. Treatment with ashwagandha reduces the level of inflammation that further improves signs and symptoms of arthritis such as swelling, redness, tenderness and improves the overall flexibility of joints. (10, 11)

The following Ashwagandha combinations are used in ayurveda as per different types of Arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

HerbsQuantity
Ashwagandha powder2 grams *
Mulethi (Licorice) Powder1 gram *
Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris)1 gram *
Nagarmotha (Cyperus Rotundus)250 mg  *
Trikatu300 mg *
* Twice Daily with Milk in Thin People and with water in Obese People

Rheumatoid Arthritis

HerbsQuantity
Ashwagandha powder2 grams *
Punarnava (Boerhavia Diffusa)1 gram *
Giloy – Tinospora Cordifolia1 gram *
Nagarmotha (Cyperus Rotundus)500 mg *
Trikatu300 mg *
* Twice Daily with warm water

Osteoporosis

Ayurvedic doctors use Ashwagandha powder for improving bone strength in osteoporosis. A study also proved that Ashwagandha improves bone calcification.  Withanolides in Ashwagandha have potential anti-osteoporotic activity. (12)

The following Ashwagandha combination is beneficial in osteoporosis:

HerbsDosage
Ashwagandha powder2 grams *
ArjunaTerminalia arjuna1 gram *
Hadjod (Cissus Quadrangularis) powder1 gram *
* Twice Daily with Milk

In osteoporosis, you may also require other calcium supplements. In ayurveda, good natural calcium compounds are Godanti Bhasma (Calcined gypsum processed with herbs)Praval Pishti (coral calcium)Mukta Pishti (pearl calcium) and Mukta Shukti Pishti (pearl shell calcium). You can use some of these natural calcium supplements to increase bone mineral density.

Diabetes Mellitus

Research has found that ashwagandha roots and leaves play a very important role in lowering high blood glucose levels. Thus, it is considered very beneficial for the management of diabetes mellitus type-2. Ashwagandha works by replenishing the glycogen stores in the liver and it suppresses the release of the excess glucose in the blood thus, it helps to control blood sugar levels.

Scientific studies have shown that free radicals and oxidative stress causes damage and death of beta cells, main producers of insulin. Such damage reduces the production of insulin that further increases the blood glucose levels. In individuals with diabetes mellitus, the ability of insulin to stimulate glucose uptake reduces. It was found that treatment with ashwagandha improved insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin resistance. This further enhanced the uptake of glucose by cells and liver and thus reduced the amount of glucose that enters the blood. The result was restoration of delayed insulin response and improved glucose tolerance. (13, 14)

Cancer

A very interesting research has found that ashwagandha extract works by inhibiting human cancer cell lines of lung, breast and colon. Such anti-cancer property of ashwagandha was similar to that of cancer chemotherapy drug ‘DOXORUBICIN’. In fact, it was further found that ‘WITHAFERIN A’, a compound present in ashwagandha was more effective in inhibiting colon and breast cancer’s cell growth as compared to DOXORUBICIN. It also possess tumor preventing activity and immuno-stimulant properties.

In addition to this, ashwagandha prevents the growth, multiplication and spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Furthermore, it also offers protection against reactive oxygen species that play a causative role in the development of cancer. Ashwagandha has strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. It neutralizes the free radicals and protects the body against oxidative stress.

Ashwagandha leaves also possess anti-cancer activity and it works by controlling the population of cancer cells in the body. Different health promoting compounds have been extracted from ashwagandha leaves that control the spread of cancer to other organs. Its leaves have found to be very effective in the treatment of breast cancer. Therefore, the mechanisms through which, ashwagandha helps in the prevention and treatment of cancer include – immunomodulator, antioxidant, anti-stressor, anabolic effect, reducing fatigue levels and improving the overall resistance of the body. (15, 16)

Liver Diseases

Excess alcohol intake or certain toxic drugs may cause damage to the liver and may interfere with its normal functioning. Toxic drugs cause generation of reactive oxygen species that cause damage to the liver cells. If not treated, it may further lead to liver necrosis (death of tissue). In such a condition, the levels of liver marker enzymes increase in the blood. Research has found that ashwagandha root extracts are cheap, easily available and relatively safe for the treatment of liver diseases. It prevents liver damage by restoring the normal structure of liver cells and by reducing the blood level of liver enzymes. Such a drop is a clear indicator that ashwagandha reduces the damage caused to the liver.

Production of toxins and free radical are the key players in liver damage. With an increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species, the amount of antioxidant enzymes decreases. Treatment with ashwagandha improved the antioxidant status by increasing the antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase, and reduced glutathione. Such strong antioxidant properties indicate that ashwagandha plays an important role in preventing the liver against the harmful effects. (17, 18, 19)

Peptic Ulcers

The main cause of ulcer is H. pylori infection or an imbalance between causative and protective factors. Drugs such as aspirin, excess alcohol intake and smoking increase the production of gastric acid and lead to the formation of gastric ulcers.

Research had found that ashwagandha roots in case of alcohol-induced ulcers reduced the number of ulcers, further incidence of ulcers and increased the factors that inhibit the formation of gastric ulcers. Furthermore, the effects of ashwagandha roots were similar to that of standard drugs used in the treatment of gastric ulcers. Such anti-ulcerogenic property of ashwagandha is attributed to the presence of flavonoids and antioxidants in it. Oxidative stress and excess of free radicals play a causative role in the development of gastric ulcers. NSAIDs, alcohol and smoking increase the burden of free radicals that cause damage to the inner lining of the stomach. Ashwagandha, a source of antioxidant works by scavenging the free radicals. Thus, the gastro-protective role is due to the presence of antioxidants and flavonoids in ashwagandha roots. (20)

Infections

Research has found that ashwagandha root as well as leaf extract possess anti-bacterial properties against Salmonella Typhimurium. Treatment with ashwagandha reduced the bacterial load in different vital organs and increased the survival rate of subjects with such infection. Different parts of ashwagandha such as roots, stems, fruits and leaves possess strong anti-microbial property. This property was attributed to the presence of flavonoids in free and bound form in different parts of ashwagandha.

It was further noted that ashwagandha had antimicrobial activity against 3 gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus mirabilis. It also protects against 3 fungi namely Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus and Candida albicans. Flavonoid extract from ashwagandha root had the best activity against C. albicans.

Another study reported that ashwagandha leaves possess strong anti-bacterial activities and they are rich in anthocyanins too. Anthocyanins are a class of flavonoids that fight oxidative stress, scavenge free radicals and protect against the harmful action of bacteria. It was observed that phenolics, anthocyanins and ascorbic acid content of ashwagandha interfere with the action of pathogen and destroys it. It also inhibits the growth and multiplication of S. typhi that causes diseases such as food borne illnesses and typhoid. Due to such anti-microbial properties of ashwagandha, it has been used since ages for the treatment of diarrhea and other gastrointestinal disorders. Thus, it can be said that ashwagandha can be exploited further for its use in anti-microbial drugs in future. (21, 22)

Physical Weakness

Ashwagandha has strengthening action, so it helps reducing physical weakness and treating general debility after chronic disease. The following Ashwagandha combination is very effective treating physical weakness and improving physical stamina.

HerbsQuantity
Ashwagandha Churna2 grams *
Trikatu125 mg *
* Twice Daily with Milk

Male Infertility

The common cause of male infertility is oligospermia. Withania Somnifera along with other herbs improves the total count and quality of spermatozoa. The following combination ashwagandha churna helps in male infertility.

HerbsQuantity
Ashwagandha Churna2 grams *
Vidarikand – Pueraria Tuberosa1000 mg *
Shatavari (asparagus)500 mg *
Yashtimadhu (Mulethi)500 mg *
Trikatu125 mg *
* Twice Daily with Milk

Female Infertility

In traditional medicines, ashwagandha is used in female infertility with unknown reason. In such case, ayurvedic doctors consider to maintain the optimum health of uterus, ovaries and all reproductive organs in females. Ashwagandha plays a role to provide strength and to maintain optimum health of these organs.

For this purpose, ashwagandha is taken after menstruation when the bed of endometrium starts proliferating (that means from the 5th day of menstrual cycle) for enhancing its support to appropriate Kapha build-up in the uterus, stimulating proper maturation of egg cells into follicles and for strengthening the uterus and other reproductive organs. During this phase, ashwagandha should be taken with milk.

How to Use Ashwagandha for Female Infertility

  1. Take 10 grams of ashwagandha powder.
  2. Boil it in milk, and add sugar (Misri) to ashwagandha milk.
  3. The mixture should not be filtered to discard ashwagandha.
  4. This mixture should be taken in the morning on empty stomach. It should be used after the cessation of menstrual period up to 15 days.

Alternatively, 2 grams ashwagandha powder can be taken twice daily with milk. You can also take Withania Somnifera extract capsule (500 mg ashwagandha extract) with milk twice a day.

Read More: Ashwagandha Use in Female Infertility and Recurrent Miscarriages

Menstrual Disorders

Ashwagandha Churna is used in menstrual disorders occurring due to Vata aggravation.

Can I take ashwagandha during period?

Yes, Ashwagandha Churna or powder tablets can be taken during menstruation (periods). It is more beneficial for menstrual disorders caused by Vata Aggravation. If you have following symptoms, then it will be beneficial:

  • If menstrual blood is frothy, dark in color and menstruation occurs with light flow
  • Vata types Pain (Prickling, spasmodic or sharp pain) in the lower abdomen
  • Backache with similar characters of Vata type pains or with stiffness
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Fear
  • Fatigue or exhaustion

When should I not take ashwagandha during period?

If you have no such symptoms of Vata aggravation, and have any of following symptoms of Pitta aggravation, then you should avoid taking it during periods.

  • Pain with Burning sensation
  • Feeling irritability and anger
  • Menstruation occurring with heavy flow, fleshy or foul smelling
  • Feeling warmness in the whole body
  • Nausea or vomiting with Pitta aggravation
  • Acne
  • Tenderness in breasts
  • Increase body temperature

In such cases, Yashtimadhu (Licorice – Glycyrrhiza Glabra) along with Amla (Indian gooseberry – Emblica Officinalis) and Praval Pishti are more beneficial.

Note: However, the low dosage of Ashwagandha (less than 1 gram per day) can still be taken in Pitta cases to manage anxiety and stress. It is considerably safe in such cases because its low dosage has little effects on the Pitta due to minimum hotness in its intrinsic nature. The effects of its hot potency can also be minimized taking it with milk. But it is advised not to use it alone in Pitta cases.

Nutritional Deficiencies & Debility in Children

Marasmus and Kwashiorkor occur in children due to energy, carbohydrates and protein deficiency. However, altering diet and providing sufficient diet to the children during these diseases is a crucial part of the treatment. Along with dietary management, in holistic medicine, ashwagandha is used.

Sometimes, child becomes weak after prolonged sickness and if he is continuing suffering from some chronic ailments. In both cases, the following method should be adopted.

How to use ashwagandha in children – Recipe

  1. Take half glass of water and half glass of milk.
  2. Mix water and milk and put the pan with mixture on burner.
  3. Take 1 gram of ashwagandha powder and add it in the mixture.
  4. Boil it until it reduced to half i.e. alone milk remains and water gets evaporated.
  5. Cool it down and add sugar in this ashwagandha tea.
  6. Give this mixture to child once in a day.

This ashwagandha recipe helps a lot in quick recovery from debility, nutritional deficiencies and chronic diseases of children.

Ashwagandha Dosage

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) dosage varies from 250 mg to 6 grams as per health condition and age group. Its maximum dosage is 12 grams per day.

Ashwagandha Churna (Powder) Dosage

The reference dosage of Ashwagandha Churna (powder) is as follows.
Infants (Up To 1 year)250 mg *
Children (1 to 3)500 mg *
Children (4 to 10)750 mg *
Children (Above 10)1000 mg *
Adults3000 mg *
Pregnancy2000 mg *
Geriatric (Old age)2000 mg *
Maximum Possible Dosage12 grams per day (in divided doses)
* Twice a day with Milk
When to Take: Any Time, better is – 60 minutes Before Meal or 2 hours after meal.

Ashwagandha Extract Dosage

The reference dosage of Ashwagandha Extract is as follows.
Infants (Up To 1 year)25 mg *
Children (1 to 3)50 mg *
Children (4 to 10)75 mg *
Children (Above 10)100 mg *
Adults300 mg *
Pregnancy200 mg *
Geriatric (Old age)200 mg *
Maximum Possible Dosage1200 mg per day (in divided doses)
* Twice a day with Milk
When to Take: Any Time, better is – 60 minutes Before Meal or 2 hours after meal.

Safety Profile

A study conducted in 2012 to evaluate the safety levels of ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera). 18 young and healthy subjects were given ashwagandha capsules for 30 days and its dosage increased every 10 days (750 milligrams, 1000 milligrams and 1250 milligrams). The results showed that no symptoms or abnormality was detected at the end of 30 days. In addition to this, no clinically significant change was found in blood pressure, temperature and pulse. No changes were noted in hematological parameters, liver function test and blood glucose test. All parameters were within normal range at the end of this trial.

Thus, it can be said that ashwagandha capsules are safe to use and had no ill effects on overall health. Up to 4 grams of ashwagandha is considered safe and non-toxic for humans.

Ashwagandha Side Effects

However, Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is considerably safe for most people, but the rare and mild side effects of Ashwagandha may appear in some individual. These side effects generally occur when Ashwagandha is taken in larger doses (i.e. above 10 grams per day). Large doses of Ashwagandha can result in following side effects.

  1. Stomach Upset
  2. Loose Stools
  3. Male Breast or Gynecomastia – very rare, but it may occur when Ashwagandha powder is used in larger dosage (more than 10 grams per day) for several months (more than 6 months).

Withania Somnifera in natural form (Ashwagandha Churna or powder or decoction) is safer than ashwagandha extract derived through modern methods. However, water extract prepared through traditional methods by boiling water with Ashwagandha powder is also likely safer.

Ashwagandha in Pregnancy

(Is Ashwagandha safe during pregnancy?)

The safety of various herbs has been questioned during pregnancy. A very recent study published in 2015 has observed that ashwagandha extract causes no damage to the mother and developing fetus when consumed during pregnancy. No evidence of fetal toxicity and maternal toxicity was observed in rats who had consumed up to 2000 milligrams of Withania Somnifera extract. No pathological changes, body weight changes, behavioral changes, and skeletal and soft tissue malformations were observed. Thus, it can be said that ashwagandha is safe to consume during pregnancy. However, human trials are required to evaluate the effect of ashwagandha on humans. (23)

Traditional Formulations of Ashwagandha

  1. Ashwagandhadi Churna
  2. Asvagandha Rasayana
  3. Ashwagandha Ghrita (Ghee)
  4. Ashwagandharishta (Aswagandharishtam)
  5. Ashwagandha Kashayam
  6. Ashwagandha Churna
  7. Ashwagandha Extract Capsule
  8. Narayan Oil (Taila)
  9. Maha Narayan Oil
  10. Amukkara Choornam
  11. Amukkara Kizhangu Choornam
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32 Comments
  1. Alka Yadav says

    Can 3 months pregnant woman take Ashwagandha powder for a proper development of baby? Does it have effect on developing baby’s immune system? Does it prevent infections in early childhood after birth? What will be the dosage that can be safe for this purpose and when taken for a longer period in pregnancy?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      There should be no problem taking Ashwagandha Churna (Powder) by 3 months pregnant women. In India, many women are using Ashwagandha for optimum development of the developing fetus. According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha can help enhancing immune system and intellect. It helps proper growth of developing baby. It may likely to prevent or decrease the occurrence of infections in early childhood if pregnant women consume ashwagandha throughout the pregnancy. For this purpose, the dosage of ashwagandha should be 1 gram twice daily with milk.

      For Safety Profile Read: Ashwagandha in Pregnancy

  2. Rahul says

    Does ashwagandha increase weight? How to use ashwagandha for weight gain

  3. Freda says

    Does ashwagandha help a person with cold clammy sweaty hands and feet?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      However, telling exact cause of this condition is difficult, but in many cases, panic attacks and hypotension (low blood pressure) are main cause. However, it may also have other causes like menopause, overactive thyroid, low blood glucose level, internal bleeding and heat exhaustion etc.

      Ashwagandha will only work in such case of cold clammy sweaty hands and feet if the underlying causes are low blood pressure or panic attacks.

  4. Harshitha says

    Will ashwagandha churna alone help to increase height or should we still have something else.

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Ashwagandha churna alone is also beneficial for increasing height. Other herbs, which are likely to increase height, include Shatavari, Musli, Vidarikand, Amla, Yashtimadhu, etc.

  5. Bharat Bafna says

    Dr Singh Thanks for very informative website.
    Ashwagandha Root extract
    1. Dosage for reversing Alzheimer
    2. How can we take – are there powders/capsules or what is the other way & what should be the dosage pattern (quantity, dosage with, frequency etc)

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      The dosage of Ashwagandha Root extract is 300 mg twice daily with milk. It can also be taken up to 500 mg twice daily with milk. Capsules in name of Stress com (manufactured by Dabur) is available in the market.

  6. Joanna says

    Dr Singh, is it safe to take ashwagandha during menses?

    Thank you,
    Joanna

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Yes.

  7. divakar says

    where I can purchase?

  8. vikas says

    Hi Sir- thanks for such detailed information about ayurveda. Just wanted to know ayurvedic protein supplement if any to gain muscle or Ashwagandha can help in same. Please advise fat burning & muscle gaining options in ayurveda.

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      We are not in favor of protein supplements. The best way to get an appropriate amount of proteins is to take foods rich in protein sources.

      Ashwagandha can help gaining muscle mass, but it is also likely to increase the weight.

      For weight Loss, you can read following articles:

      Dietary Guidelines for Losing Weight

      Ayurvedic Medicine for Weight Loss

      Home Remedies for Weight Loss

  9. Sudha says

    Would it have negative side effects to take STRESSCOM with water instead of milk?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      There are no negative effects of taking Ashwagandha (including STRESSCOM that contains 300 mg of Ashwagandha Extract) with milk.

      If you take it with milk, it shows more strengthening action and may also promote weight gain.

  10. Raja says

    Does Gokshura and Ashwagandha work in azoospermia and erectile dysfunction? Please guide me the dosage.

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Ashwagandha and Gokshura, both are not likely to work in cases of azoospermia, but they are good remedies for ED.

      When Ashwagandha and Gokshura are taken together, then the dosage should be around 1 teaspoon (around 3 to 5 grams) with milk and twice daily.

  11. Rocky says

    Can ashwagandha combine with kalonji (nigella sativa) or such herbal medicines, which contain nigella sativa?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Yes, Ashwagandha can be taken along with Kalonji (Nigella Sativa) and its formulations without any issue.

  12. DR.MASOOD SOOMRO says

    HI
    Dr. Jagdev Sing
    GOD Bless you
    Today is my first day on your web site .Very nice articles about single ingredients .very knowledgeable
    kindly allow to copy for self knowledge or( pdf) files of your articles
    I am a qualified homeopath and learned unani medicine in local area college for one yaer
    I strong believe that nature is a great healer.
    DR Masood Soomro

  13. M.MANIMARAN says

    Shall I take ashvagandha churna for weight gain without medication? Will there be any side-effect due to this consumption? Is there any other ayurvedic medicine for nutritional supplements?

    Also suggest a suitable place / store/ online shop from where I can buy a pure ashvagandha churna without any adulteration/artificial mixed ingredients?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Yes, Ashwagandha churna will help you to gain weight. For this purpose, you should take it in dosage of 2.5 grams twice daily with milk.

  14. sachin says

    Can I take aswagandha with water to increase my health?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Yes, you can take ashwagandha along with water or milk to improve your health, increase your strength and prevent diseases. For this purpose, generally, 750 mg ashwagandha powder per day is sufficient and advisable dosage.

  15. Iqbal says

    Dear Sir,
    Greetings, my questions are as following.

    1- Can I take Triphala, Ashwagandha and Arjuna Daily.
    2- I have little faster Heart Beat. Is It safe to take Ashwagandha.
    3-what is the safest possible daily dose for Triphala/Ashwagandha and Arjuna tablets.

  16. rashmi jalan says

    Is ashwagandha churna and ashwagandha root powder are two differnt things or same?
    How to use ashwagandha for height gain after 21?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Both are same things. You can take 2 grams Ashwagandha Churna along with a cup of milk for increasing height.

  17. Lakeside says

    Which herbs can increase libido in women.

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Asparagus, Pumpkin Seeds and Nutmeg should help to improve libido in females.

  18. ifham says

    Can i eat himalya aswagandha and himalya mentat together and how much and when ??

  19. Niha says

    Could you please tell How to use ashwagandha for sleep improvement without gaining weight

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