Ashwagandha, an herb grown on a shrub-like nightshade plant, is also known as "India's ginseng" or "winter cherry." Practitioners use ashwagandha for its medicinal properties in Ayurveda, India's traditional medical system. Often used to make tea, ashwagandha has many benefits, but you must use it properly to avoid negative side effects. Consult with your health-care professional to before drinking ashwagandha tea.
Ashwagandha tea is most commonly used and prescribed to treat both mental and physical fatigue. Ashwagandha can help increase energy levels gently, meaning it won't give you the crash and burn effect caffeine often does, according to Ayurvedic physician and president of the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, Dr. Vasant Lad. Dr. Lad recommends drinking 1 cup of ashwagandha tea daily to help increase energy levels.
Although there is no research to support the claim, Ayurvedic practitioners believe ashwagandha can be an effective remedy for loss of sex drive in both men and women. Ashwagandha is thought induce abortions in Ayurveda, although these claims have not been proven. As a general rule of thumb, once use is cleared by your doctor, try using ashwagandha tea to improve your libido and see if it helps.
According to the medical director of the Maharishi College of Ayurvedic Medicine in New Mexico, ashwagandha may strengthen the heart. The heating qualities of ashwagandha may have positive effects on the health of the heart. Some Ayurvedic practitioners believe ashwagandha may also relieve heart burn.
Cautions and Considerations
Ashwagandha tea can generate an extra amount of heat in the body. For this reason, Ayurvedic practitioners believe it best to combine it with something cooling such as licorice, raw sugar or milk. You should not use ashwagandha continuously for more than six months, followed by a break of at least three months. Do not drink ashwagandha tea if you are pregnant or suffer from high blood pressure. No claims about the effectiveness of ashwagandha have been approved by the FDA. Consult with a health-care professional before incorporating ashwagandha tea into your diet.
- Yoga Journal: Ashwagandha Power
- "Ayurveda: A Life of Balance"; Maya Tiwari, 1995
- "Ayurveda, The Science of Self-Healing"; Dr. Vasant Lad, 1984