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Ashwagandha 25 July 2009

Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) is an Ayurvedic herb from India which has been used for thousands of years. It is an adaptogen. Adaptogens have 5 properties:

  1. Non-specific resistance — increase the bodies resistance to physical, chemical and biological (infection) stress.
  2. Normalising action — increase under active systems and decrease over active systems.
  3. Innocuous — minimal if any physiological disturbance or side-effects.
  4. Balancing — must balance the body’s regulatory systems (cardiovascular, immune and neuroendocrine systems).
  5. Modulation — must modulate the bodies stress response system so it reacts in proportion to actual danger and doesn’t deplete cells of vital energy.

Ashwagandha is a great herb for people with low thyroid function because it helps convert the inactive thyroid hormone (T4) into the active form (T3). It influences cholinergic and GABA receptors in the brain to improve memory. Being an adaptogen, it is also a useful medicine in adrenal fatigue to increase energy.

Clinical experience also shows it can increase vitality and strengthen the immune system. It is a powerful aphrodisiac and anti-inflammatory.

Animal studies have shown that it has antioxidant properties- increasing superoxide dismutase and glutathione in rats. Studies have also shown mood enhancing and memory boosting effects.

Ashwagandha is available from my clinic where it is usually prescribed for people with low thyroid function, adrenal fatigue, chronic inflammation or low libido.

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