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Ayurveda - Breaking the Rules Without Breaking the Principles

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What is Ashwagandha and is it right for everyone?

Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) has become highly popular over the last few years in the west in treating issues like anxiety and depression. But what does Ayurveda, the originating medical discipline of Ashwagandha say?

Withania Fruit by User:Wowbobwow12 on Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
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Picture this: You are standing next to a horse and as it runs by you, you see the rippling of its muscles, the intensity in its eyes, its strength and its vigor. But when you step away from the horse and you see it running in the distance, it looks like it’s effortlessly flying. 

This is essentially what Ashwagandha does to the nervous system. It supports focus and calmness all at the same time.

It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic Medicine as an immunomodulator, ashwaganda functions as an adaptogen.
Depending on the dosage and parts of the plant used, studies have shown that it regulates plasma corticosterone levels in stress-induced environments. 1

Because it’s application also shows GABA mimetic activity, patients present with reduced levels of stress and anxiety.2

When appropriate, I recommend using the Ashwagandha root for anxiety at an initial dosage of 500mg per day away from bedtime. Increasing to no more than 1000mg per day. Some have taken a dose as high at 1000mg 2x/day but are subject to side effects. Research also shows that it can also increase myelin levels in the nervous system as long-term supportive regeneration.3

Side effects will be dependent on each patient as it is an adaptogen. Some include constipation, headaches and sleeplessness in depressive patients.

1. Archana R, Namasivayam A. Antistressor effect of Withania somnifera. J Ethnopharmacol.

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