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Ashwagandha: the Ayurvedic Adaptogen

ISSUED // August 09

Ashwagandha plant

You may have heard of ashwagandha—a popular herb that is getting attention for its positive effects on stress, sleep and vitality.   

A traditional Indian Ayurvedic herb, the botanical name of the ashwagandha plant is Withania somnifera. It is also known as winter cherry and referred to as Indian ginseng because of its rejuvenative and restorative properties.

It’s praised in Ayurveda as a rasayana (life-promoting), to help balance Vata dosha, and to reduce the response to stress and helps fortify the body’s natural resistance to stress. Here are a few more reasons to try ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha for Vata dosha and stress

Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress. When under stress, the body starts secreting stress hormones to prepare us for either a fight or flight. This works if you are in a dangerous situation; however, what if you are just driving in traffic or you are chronically stressed at work? Such a strong stress response may not be necessary.

The root of excess worry, overthinking, or racing thoughts can be traced to the imbalance of Vata dosha in the mind, as Vata governs movement in the body and mind (think of thoughts as movement in the mind.) Ashwagandha simply addresses this Vata imbalance, and it begins to settle down that excess worry, that excess activity, that Vata is so susceptible to in the nervous system. 

Take ashwagandha for better sleep

Back to the name Withania somnifera. In Latin, this actually means “sleep”. With its calming effect, ashwagandha can actually help you fall asleep and get deeper sleep during the night. And for this reason, it is a key ingredient in our synergistically balanced sleep formulas.

Blissful Sleep can help you wind down and fall asleep, and Deep Rest can help you stay asleep if you tend to wake up before a full night of sleep.

Ashwagandha supports the reproductive system

The name Ashwagandha actually means “smell of a horse”. This nods to its ability to impart the strength and vitality of a stallion, meaning it is known to support a healthy libido and improve the healthy functioning of the reproductive systems for both men and women.

For women, it tends to increase and support the production of progesterone, which is the strengthening and supporting hormone that balances estrogen.

How to use ashwagandha

Based on the Ayurvedic texts, our panel of Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians) recommends one to two tablets of ashwagandha twice daily for maximum effectiveness. Try our Organic Ashwagandha in a convenient, easy-to-swallow compressed herbal tablet.

In addition to our sleep products, our emotional balance products are powerful synergistic blends containing ashwagandha. Worry Free paired with Organic Ashwagandha is a balancing combination for Vata dosha, calming and settling a worried mind.

Ashwagandha is an effective Ayurvedic herb with many health benefits. We encourage you to talk to your Ayurvedic practitioner about how best to incorporate ashwagandha into your diet and lifestyle. Book a free, personalized online consultation with one of our Maharishi Ayurveda experts.


© 1999, 2023 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. SEE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

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