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  • Laura

Ashwagandha, the Plant that Keeps Showing Up

I've come to realize that 2022 has been the year of Ashwagandha for me. And I know I'm not alone. This plant has always been in my top 10 medicinal herbs, but as I reflect on the year, I am seeing how often this plant showed up for me this year.

Fresh ashwagandha root
Ashwagandha root from one of our plants this year

The medicine of Ashwagandha is in the roots. Luckily, if you plant this herb in your garden, you'll be able to harvest the roots for medicine that very same year. This is not always common with other root medicine.

We had our first harvest of this magical plant from our garden just a couple weeks ago. We brewed ourselves a few quarts of fresh root tea, then dehydrated the rest in order to preserve it for the upcoming year.

Earlier in the year, I was so honored to teach a class on making tinctures by the percolation method, and Ashwagandha was the medicine of the day. Everyone in that workshop got to see a percolation tincture being made and then got to bring home some Ashwagandha tincture for themselves. I made an extra amount of tincture before the class so that if something went horribly wrong, the attendees could still bring home some tincture. Luckily, the class went well, the percolation completed before everyone went home, so the attendees were able to bring some home from that day's batch. That meant I ended up with a boatload of tincture from my "just-in-case" batch.

But that's ok! In my life, with all my running around and leaning a bit towards the anxious side, Ashwagandha is good company.

Plant Profile

In Western Herbalism, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is known as one of the most relaxing adaptogenic herbs. It works best for those who are stressed, fatigued, or deeply depleted. If you want to fall asleep, yet you’re wired and exhausted and can’t, then ashwagandha may support you towards slumber. It helps shift those who need it to a more healing and nourishing state, supporting the body’s natural sleep cycle. It can calm the mind, yet it is not sedating.

Ashwaganda's energetic profile is deeply relaxing, drying, and warming.

It's taste profile is slightly bitter, sweet, and pungent.

It has been used clinically as a way to:

  • Reduce anxiety by helping bring a gentle state of calm and peace

  • Help bring about a healthy sleep cycle. This is not always immediate and may take a few days to be noticeable.

  • Help stimulate the thyroid in those with hypothyroidism

  • Build immunity

  • Help with anemia due to being rich in iron. This also makes it a good blood builder.

  • Help restore libido and fertility. Ashwagandha was historically known as a “men’s tonic” for this reason.

Considerations and Contraindications

Some individuals experience agitation from using this plant, rather than the relaxing quality. If that happens to you, stop using it. There are many more tools and plants available to help you achieve your goal.

Do not take this herb with barbiturates.

Before taking this herb in any form, talk to a medical professional if you are pregnant or if you are taking thyroid medicine.

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