The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Plant Profile: Ashwagandha Root

Botanical Name:
Withania somniferarasayana adaptogen Ashwagandha Withania somnifers materia medica monograph

Family:
Solanaceae

Common Name:
Ashwagandha

Primary Characteristics for Field ID:
Withania can be grown in many parts of the US. It is not found in the wild in North America.

Part Used for Medicine:
Root

Habitat in Which it is Found/ Harvesting Season/ Special Considerations:
The best quality comes from smaller growers who provide whole roots or cut/sifted. The traditional forms of powder are mediocre in quality.

Energy & Taste:
Warm, dry, bitter, sweet (nourishing)rasayana adaptogen Ashwagandha Withania somnifers materia medica monograph

Traditional Uses:
Strongly supports the nervous system during prolonged stress
Provides a calm, restorative energy – use for deep exhaustion
Part of sleep formulas
Deep immune tonic
Reproductive tonic
Builds ojas
One of the primary Ayurvedic herbs for Vata

Preferred Method of Preparation:
The traditional Ayurvedic preparation for Vata is in milk. Kapha does well to mix the herbal powder into a honey paste.
Western herbalism uses this herb as a decoction, tincture, elixir and electuary (honey-based paste)

Herb Combos:
Excellent combined with Shatavari as these herbs have opposite and balancing energies. This combo can be tridoshic if used in the proper ratio.
Use with Milky Oats for nervous system support
Its heavy energy is balanced with cardamom, the hotter ginger or other carminatives
Use with Dong Quai and Astragalus for a blood tonic
Use with Passionflower and/or Skullcap for a sleep nervine.
Use with Astragalus and/or Reishi to build the immune system

An excellent video on this herb’s attributes is here.

The Plant Profiles are brief materia medica summaries of plants encountered during plant walks or introduced during class on our longer programs. They are presented here to help students organize plant info on an ongoing basis. Although the Profiles are not meant to be comprehensive, they are offered here to the public in the hope that others find these pages useful.

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