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An Herb for Stress and Vitality: Ashwagandha

In todays world it is common for people to resonate with stress, fatigue, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating. Ashwaganda, a prized herb in Ayurveda, can help alleviate these symptoms and promote vitality.


Ashwagandha translates to “the smell of a horse”. While this might bring up unpleasant associations in the mind, the indication is that the herb imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion. Ashwagandha is most noted as a rejuvenative to the reproductive, nervous, and respiratory systems, and traditionally used to support a healthy male reproductive system. In addition, the properties of the herb support normalized physiological and psychological responses to stress.

The herbal remedy most commonly comes from the roots of the Ashwagandha plant, however the leaves and fruit have therapeutic properties as well. Also known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, ashwagandha belongs to the nightshade family.

Ashwagandha as an Adaptogenic Herb

Adaptogenic herbs contain substances that modulate your response to stress or a changing environment. When taken, they help stabilize the physiological processes that take place in response to stress and promote homeostatic functions such as rest and digest. In other words, Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress. Ashwagandha is considered to have adaptogenic benefits.


Ashwaganda is prized in Ayurveda for its dual effects of calm and energize. Strong impacts of stress on the nervous system can cause agitation and difficulty sleeping. Ashwaganda helps the body adapt to stress, shifting from fatigue and agitation to more energized responses. As the body adapts, stress doesn’t impact the nervous system as strongly, allowing for a calming effect on the system overall. Other benefits include:

  1. Support of healthy immune system

  2. Supports restful sleep

  3. Improves memory, learning, and reaction time

  4. Supports sustained energy levels, strength, and vitality

  5. Reduces inflammation

  6. Enhances male and female reproductive systems

  7. Stabilizes blood sugar and cortisol levels

  8. Help alleviate anxiety and depression

Ashwagandha is a powerful herb in Ayurvedic healing and has been used since ancient times. This plant can be an ally to our mind-body system that’s overloaded with stress and toxins, rejuvenating vital energy for beneficial responses to stress and change.

If you are curious about how to use other Ayurvedic herbs and spices for improving health, join us at our upcoming workshop on May 20th! We hope to see you there.

Many blessings,

Santa Cruz Ayurveda


  1. Spritzler F. 12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

  2. The Benefits of Ashwagandha. Indian Wonder Herb, Ashwagandha: An Antidote for Stressful Living.

  3. Saunders, J. (2016, Sept). What Is Ashwagandha?.

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