Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief
By David Winston
“It is believed that this herb gives its users the stamina and strength of a stallion. In ayurvedic medicine, this herb is used for prolonging life, stimulating the mind, and enhancing vigor and sexual prowess as well as for its recuperative powers.
“Most adaptogens are stimulating; Ashwagandha is a bit unusual in that it is a calming adaptogen. It enhances endocrine function, especially helping to re-regulate the thyroid, testes, and adrenal glands. Few herbs have a direct effect on thyroid function, but in animal and human studies, Ashwagandha Root was found to stimulate the thyroid, making it useful for hypothyroidism.
“Because of its nervine and adaptogenic functions, Ashwagandha is very effective for anxiety, fatigue, cloudy thinking, stress-induced insomnia, and neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion). It has significant benefit for hyper- or hypoimmune function and has been used clinically as part of protocols for cancer (it suppresses tumors and prevents depletion of white blood cells), chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and polymyositis (autoimmune inflammation of voluntary muscles).
“Ashwagandha is rich in iron and can be used to treat iron-deficient anemia when taken as a powder in milk mixed with molasses. It also relieves some perimenopausal symptoms such as muscle pain and cloudy thinking.
Cautions: “Avoid using this herb if you are sensitive to plants in the nightshade family, and do not use the powder internally if you have hemochromatosis (excess iron). Avoid using this herb if you have hyperthyroidism.
“It’s probably best to avoid its use during pregnancy.
“Ashwagandha can enhance or increase the effect of barbiturates.”
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Compiled by Linda Hall
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