- Used traditionally as a tonic for fatigue, to improve mental performance and memory, and to prevent and treat (adjunctively) early stage Alzheimer's
- Used traditionally as an adaptogen to improve physical performance, endurance, and resistance to the effects of stress
- Used traditionally to reduce inflammation
- Used traditionally for age-related or stress-related impotence
A first class tonic herb, ashwagandha has a long and distinguished history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medical system of India. Dr. Michael Tierra calls ashwagandha India’s wonder herb and is of the opinion that it compares favourably to herbs like ginseng and astragalus, for example, the world’s most renowned herbal tonics.
Tierra points out that ashwagandha “has been held in high regard by generations of people over the course of millennia for its ability to increase vitality, energy, endurance and stamina, promote longevity and strengthen the immune system without stimulating the body’s reserves. In fact, ashwagandha has the ability to nurture the nervous system, counteract anxiety and stress, and to promote a calm state of mind. This same herb, having powerful anti-inflammatory properties, is specific for treating arthritic and rheumatic conditions. As if all of this were not enough, it is easily one of the most potent tonic aphrodisiacs in the entire botanical kingdom.”
Ashwagandha is a marvellously effective adaptogen, increasing the body’s resistance to environmental stresses. Medical herbalist Kerry Bone describes pharmacological research in support of the adaptogenic benefits of ashwagandha and concludes that: “Oral doses of ashwagandha demonstrated significant anti-stress activity, increased endurance, and enhanced growth and development in experimental models.”
Ashwagandha's most remarkable effect may involve its neuro-regenerative activity and its ability to preserve the health of the aging brain. Research indicates that ashwagandha extract is capable of halting and even repairing damage to brain cells in an experimentally induced model of Alzheimer's disease. In laboratory experiments in India in 2004, researchers discovered that ashwagandha root extract inhibits acetylcholinesterase in much the same way as the prescription drug donepezil, which is currently used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
In addition, a monograph published by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center suggests that ashwagandha’s anti-inflammatory effects are comparable to hydrocortisone.
Finally, Dr. Michael Tierra considers ashwagandha a near specific for cases of male impotence.
80 drops (2.66 ml), three times daily, in a little water, before meals.
Contraindications and Cautions:
Consumption with alcohol, other drugs or natural health products with sedative properties is not recommended.
Consult a healthcare practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant.
A Note On Tinctures
Tinctures are more readily absorbed by the body and have a high degree of bio-availability. As well, they have a long shelf life.
Sometimes people ask us why tinctures are alcohol-based. There are very good reasons. Alcohol is critically important in the extraction of an herb's medicinal ingredients. It also helps to stabilize and preserve them. Alcohol is the ideal carrier substance, conveying the therapeutic goodness of the herb to the body. In itself, too, science has proven that alcohol enhances the immune system and its defences.
As for the amount of alcohol taken in an average dose of tincture, you'll be surprised to learn that it's about the same as what you'd find in an overly ripe banana!
Tinctures remain the most practical way to take advantage of the amazing, health-giving power of herbs.