Withania somnifera’s main constituents are a class of triterpene lactones called withanolides, such as the steroidal lactone Withaferin A (shown below)
Indian Ginseng / Ashwagandha
What is Indian Ginseng?
A little known Himalayan herb, Indian ginseng or Ashwagandha (अश्वगन्धा in Sanskrit) was recently rediscovered in the west. It is touted in India for its anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) properties. Traditionally it belongs to the ayurvedic school of Indian medicine, where it is given as a health tonic to adults and children of all ages.
How to use it:
Ashwagandha works best for regulating mood and focus, it is capable of crushing stress and providing the physical energy and focus needed for study or exercise. It achieves this by mimicking the GABAergic system and increasing neurotransmission- the rate at which impulses are carried by neurotransmitters in the brain.
Under the Microscope:
Ashwagandha improves neurogenesis after it is taken for just 7 days1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/. It’s a GABA receptor mimetic, and GABA is implicated in the regulation of dendrite formation. It’s also an antioxidant and reduces the neurodegenerative effects of free radicals2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/. This also means it has anti-ageing properties. It binds to DNA damaging free radical atoms, rendering them harmless.
Ashwaganda Side Effects:
Diabetics should monitor their blood sugar carefully when taking Indian Ginseng, as it may lower blood sugar levels. If you are taking thyroid medications, have an autoimmune disorder or are taking tablets to control blood pressure, consult with your general practitioner before taking supplements.
Besides that, the plant is very safe at the stated doses. At higher doses, expect typical supplement overdose symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea- although you would need to take well over 6 x the stated dose to suffer from those.
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Properties of Ashwagandha
- Sex drive boost
- Anxiety and Stress Relief
Indian Ginseng Dosage
- 300 Mg a day is all you need to combat stress according to the latest clinical studies3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/.
- Take Ashwagandha full extract, high strength capsules with meals to come as close as possible to the clinical settings.
- For concentration and energy, for example when recovering from a cold, exercising or studying the dose can be ramped up to two doses of 300 mg a day for a total of 600 mg a day.
- If you dose 600 mg a day, try to ‘cycle’ Ashwagandha, for example, do one week on, and one week off it.