Ashwagandha tincture is growing in popularity as more eyes are opened to its amazing health benefits. While widely accepted in the herbal community, it’s still considered uncommon in Western medicine.
Whether you have questions about doseage or simply want to learn more about Ashwagandha, here’s a quick overview to help you determine if this valuable herb is right for you.
Time-tested as one of the most powerful herbs in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is a derivative of the plant Withania somniferous. It's helpful for various conditions and can be enjoyed as a tea or in capsule form, but Ashwagandha tincture is a potent (and easy) way to benefit from this rejuvenating and restorative herb.
Also known as winter cherry, dunal and Indian ginseng (although unrelated to ginseng), the plant is actually a member of the nightshade family. It grows as a shrub in drier regions of the world such as India, northern Africa and the Middle East. Due to its rising popularity, American farmers are starting to grow it as well.
As for the plant itself, Ashwagandha has oval leaves and produces yellow flowers that later grow into red, raisin-sized fruits. Every part has a purpose and is routinely used in herbal medicine throughout the world.
Interestingly, the word “Ashwagandha” is variously translated as “horse essence,” “the smell of a horse” or “the grounded strength of a stallion.” These terms may be related to the plant's scent or to the vigor and strength it imparts.
How Does Ashwagandha Tincture Work?
Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are nutrients and other plant constituents that help control the body’s response to stress. Ashwagandha's function can be best understood by relating it to the vitamins, minerals and amino acids we consume every day.
Just as each vitamin has a distinct effect on our body’s cells, this versatile plant contains hundreds of different components, each with its own unique purpose. Some of those constituents are withanolides (also called steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, calcium, iron, fatty acids and amino acids. They can positively affect nearly every cell in the body, which is why Ashwagandha root is thought to have varying uses.
Uses of Ashwagandha Tincture
Since Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, it helps regulate how your body responds to stress or environmental changes. Traditionally, it was prescribed to promote immune system function after an illness. It’s commonly taken as a tincture (the essential properties of the herb are typically extracted into 20% alcohol) but is also available as tablets, powder and capsules.
With a tincture, only a small amount is needed to be effective, and it absorbs into the body much quicker than a capsule. This is why tinctures are often preferred over other methods. Besides stress management, research indicates Ashwagandha has countless functions, among which are:
- Combating the effects of stress
- Anxiety reduction
- Decreased depression
- Stabilization of blood sugar
- Cholesterol reduction
- Decreasing brain cell degeneration
- Helping to treat inflammation
- Promoting hormonal balance
- Treatment of anemia due to iron deficiency
- Muscle relaxation
- Promote tissue growth
One recent study showed that Ashwagandha tincture decreased the concentration of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. The root extract has also been shown to reduce anxiety similar to gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) - a neurotransmitter commonly prescribed in psychiatric medicine.
Countless other studies have been, and continue to be, conducted:
- A small study recorded in the July 2012 Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine revealed that subjects taking Ashwagandha reported a higher resistance to stress and improved quality of life.
- A 2000 study in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology showed that Ashwagandha root powder decreased blood sugar concentrations. Its effects were comparable to those of medications normally prescribed for that purpose. Similar studies showed lower levels of LDL cholesterol and reduced blood pressure.
- In a 2013 trial of Ashwagandha root powder, patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer reported less fatigue as well as a better quality of life.
- Infertile male patients with sperm count or sperm quality issues at King George’s Medical University in Lucknow, India were given Ashwagandha root powder in milk for 3 months. Semen samples taken at the end of the trial showed normal seminal markers. These results confirmed a 2010 study, which showed improved sperm motility and increased hormones such as testosterone.
Cautions When Taking Ashwagandha
Although generally safe in recommended doses, like any herb or medicine, Ashwagandha may have side effects. One of these is excessive sleepiness. Although used during pregnancy in traditional medicine, it is not currently recommended for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant. As with any new supplements, it’s best to consult with your physician.
How to Buy Ashwagandha
There are 3 main ways to buy Ashwagandha:
- Capsule or Tablet
If you’ve been studying herbalism, you might be playing around with the idea of making your own herbal products. In this case, powdered Ashwagandha may be your best option. You can purchase in bulk, which will lower your cost, and it gives you the advantage of versatility.
Its pill form is a quick, convenient way to take it, though it takes longer to absorb than its liquid counterpart.
For those who need a fast-acting, easy-to-swallow method, a tincture is best. While capsules can take over 30 minutes to digest, liquid typically absorbs and begins working within 4 minutes. A liquid tincture also has a longer shelf life and is less affected by its surrounding environment.
Another option within the tincture family is to take a liquid supplement that combines Ashwagandha and other potent herbs with similar profiles. Whichever route you choose to take, make sure you source your product from an organic company, ensuring its purity and safety.
If you’re considering taking Ashwagandha for its ability to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, try our specially formulated Happy tincture. Along with Ashwagandha root, it contains other powerful, mood-boosting herbs such as St. John’s Wort, chamomile, wild lettuce and more – all ethically sourced and 100% organic.
What would your life look like with less stress and more clarity of mind? See for yourself what Ashwagandha tincture can do for you.