Ashwagandha (Latin: Withania somnifera, Solanaceae family) is a highly regarded Ayurvedic herb that is mildly warming, bitter, astringent and sweet in taste. The root is often used, and it is considered a premier tonic and rejuvenative. It reduces Vata and Kapha, but increases Pitta and Ama with excessive use. It is not to be used when there is a cold or flu present, lymphatic congestion, high Ama (Phlegm in TCM), or severe congestion of any kind.
Dosage is typically 1-10g for acute conditions, or 1g per day as a lifelong tonic (mostly for men).
In recent years, Ashwagandha has been used for those with Hashimoto’s and thyroid dysfunction (low or hypo thyroid, not hyper). It is noted as a tonic for building stamina, something those of us with Hashimoto’s often struggle with.* Studies confirm that with the small tonic doses of ashwagandha, stress tolerance and endurance/performance enhancing benefits were noted. It is often used with issues of chronic fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, nerve diseases, general debility and exhaustion, anxiety, and if combined with arjuna bark it is beneficial with some heart/vascular disorders.
For women, if you are on the dry side, take with shatavari.
An important note: as a tonic, Ashwagandha is a slow-acting herb, so if you are using this to help rebalance your sleep rhythms, or tolerance to stress, be mindful that your results will not be immediate! If you are looking for something that is a fast-acting band-aid solution for insomnia or stress tolerance, this is not the herb for you.