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Ancient Ally: Ashwagandha


Photo by Wowbobwow12 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

By Erin Stokes, ND

(ADVERTORIAL) – Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an ancient ally that has been utilized and revered in India for thousands of years. In the traditional Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, this humble looking plant is considered a rasayana, a restorative tonic that increases health and longevity.  Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word, literally means the “science of life” (Ayur = life, Veda= science or knowledge). The highly developed traditional system of medicine is centered around establishing balance in different systems of the body. Ashwagandha is the best known and also the most widely investigated plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Today, it sits at the top of many holistic practitioners’ list of adaptogens, along with Rhodiola, Holy Basil and Schisandra.

Ashwagandha is one of the most versatile of the adaptogenic botanicals because it is uniquely suited to benefit many people. Plants each have their unique characteristics, just like the people who take them. Ashwagandha has broad based characteristics that make it an excellent tonifying herb when taken on a daily basis to support both adrenal and overall health.* I find that its ability to strengthen the nervous system and soothe anxiety is unparalleled. In a recent 2012 study, people who were given Ashwagandha root extract showed a reduction in stress assessment scores and a significant reduction in serum cortisol levels after 60 days. They also reported improved quality of life.

Ashwagandha also helps promote restful sleep when taken over time.* In fact, the genus name somnifera (Withania somnifera) means sleep inducer in Latin. The primary active constituent that has been identified is the withanolides. Due to the wide variety in withanolide content among Ashwagandha preparations, I find it wise to utilize a standardized extract to achieve the desired clinical result. Sensoril is an extensively researched and proven patented extract of ashwagandha root and leaf, which has been clinically shown to strengthen the body’s natural response to stress.

In contemporary times, we have the opportunity to utilize this ancient ally that holds a legacy in a highly regarded system of medicine, and is currently available in a form that has been validated by current scientific research. As a practitioner, I believe this is an opportunity to bring together the best of both worlds to improve our adrenal health.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease.

1 Narendra Singh et al. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011; 8(5 Suppl): 208–213.

2 Ven Murty MR et al. Scientific basis for the use of Indian Ayurvedic medicinal plants in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders: ashwagandha. Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2010 Sep 1;10(3):238-46.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease.

3 Chandrasekhar K et al. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.

4 Raut AA et al. Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012 Jul;3(3):111-4.



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