Origin of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) also known as Indian ‘Winter Cherry’ or ‘Indian Ginseng’, is a small evergreen shrub that produces yellow flowers. It’s commonly native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa but has the capability to be cultivated elsewhere in temperate climates. The roots and leaves have a long history of use throughout ancient medicine and are considered to be one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda (1) (an alternative system of medicine practiced in India as far back as 6000 BC).
It’s known as a ‘Rasayana’ (2) which translates to ‘the path of essence’ in Sanskrit, a term that refers to the ‘science of lengthening a lifespan’ (3). ‘Ashwagandha’ is Sanskrit for the smell of the horse due to the roots literally smelling like a horse and the horse-like strength/energy that is said to come after consuming.
How it’s Used
Leaves: Ashwaganhda leaves can also be made into a tea by boiling the dried leaves. As they are rich in iron, they may help in cases of anemia (4) and blood loss due to heavy menstruation. Some additional benefits include relieving fevers, reducing swelling, and boosting energy.
Roots: When the roots are ground and mixed with water to form a paste it can be applied to areas of swelling to reduce inflammation in the joints. This paste can also be applied to boils, pimples, and ulcers to promote healing and help reduce swelling in the affected areas. It’s said that the maximum benefit (5) from ashwagandha occurs when using it in powder form. The root carries a bitter, earthy flavor so it helps to add it to a sweet beverage, like a smoothie or tea. If tea isn’t your thing don’t worry! Ashwagandha powder can also be taken in capsule form, like our Be Good Sleep & Relaxation Capsules with added botanicals.