Vitamin Expert


(Withania somnifera)

Botanical family: Solanaceae (nightshade family)
Parts used: Root, leaves and fruit
Main active constituents: Alkaloids, beta-sitosterol, chlorogenic acid, steroidal lactones, withanoloids and withaferins
Actions: Adaptogen
Good for: Stress, fatigue, hormonal imbalances

Ashwagandha is from the same family as the tomato and potato and actually bears red berries not unlike cherry tomatoes. Ashwagandha is a perennial plant originating from south-east Asia, which can grow up to a metre in height. It survives in harsh environments, and this positive attribute is passed down through the plant. It’s one of the reasons why it can help users adapt to extremes in their own lives. The roots are used to produce powdered ashwagandha.

History of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is one of the most prized herbs in Ayurvedic medicine as a rejuvenating tonic, hence it is known as a ‘rasayana’ meaning a rejuvenative. It is also known as Indian ginseng (although not related to ginseng) or winter cherry. It has been used for around 5,000 years in India to support weakness in children and the elderly, constipation, insomnia, nerve conditions, joint inflammation and hormonal imbalances.

Current uses of Ashwagandha


Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen because it helps the body adapt to stressors. It helps improve an individual’s resistance to stress and therefore improves self-assessed quality of life.


It helps increase overall physical performance and is often used by athletes. Ashwagandha’s antioxidant actions may help faster muscle recovery.

Ashwagandha’s anxiolytic effects may be due to the withanolides being able to mimic the activity of the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This also helps to promote sleep and elevate mood.

Whilst better energy and stress management both support immune function, ashwagandha stimulates white blood cell production as well as haemoglobin concentration. It works as an antioxidant, also supporting the immune system.

Whilst an increase in mood and motivation is going to have a positive effect on libido, ashwagandha also helps increase testosterone and semen quality in men. Women have also found improvements in sexual arousal from taking ashwagandha.

How to take Ashwagandha

Dosages of 300-600 mg per day have been found to be effective
It works best in capsule form as it naturally has a horse-like smell
Ashwagandha is a staple Ayurvedic herb and is the most widely used


Ashwagandha should not be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding women. It should also not be taken in conjunction with any immune-suppressant medication.

Try this

Ashwagandha can be found in Nature’s Way Ashwagandha Premium Extract capsules, which helps support symptoms of stress, anxiety, low mood and overall mental health.