Ashwagandha is a name for the plant Withania somnifera and is a highly regarded substance among Ayurvedic herbs.
As I always explain here, don’t let the fact that this is a plant fool you: herbs are just as potent, if not more so than nutrients and the only reason we don’t understand them is because there isn’t much financial incentive to throw millions out there to study them further.
It’s easier to monopolize a patented pill than to monopolize a simple plant. Unless you’re Monsanto.
Anyway… after incorporating the tincture form of this herb into my stack, I quickly discovered ashwagandha’s benefits firsthand, and much more than in the capsule form I was taking months prior:
- Increased drive (especially for sexual stimulation)
- Reduced anxiety
- Subtle increase in overall motivation
- Improved sleep
The biggest one for me though is the fact that (combined with rest, relaxation and resistant starch) ashwagandha has helped me to recover from my bout of adrenal fatigue I experienced from overdoing the coffee last year. The so-called “adrenal fatigue” has gone away and I feel like a normal non-zombified person again. I know it’s the ashwagandha because it’s the only part of my stack that I will not pass up on a chance to take it.
Digging a little deeper, it seems that the active constituents of ashwagandha act on GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter used throughout the body and the brain for a variety of functions. Many unhealthy conditions and depressive or stressed mental states are correlated to low GABA levels, though this is not to say there is a GABA “deficiency” indicated by these states. GABA could easily help the symptoms though, and by extension ashwagandha may help.
Purported benefits of ashwagandha
Ashwagandha should definitely be rotated or cycled. Apparently the receptors can become acclimated to ashwagandha’s effect. Combined with theanine, ashwagandha doesn’t seem to have an increased effect on relaxation. In fact, combining too many anxiolytics or stress-reducers can make you more sleepy or overly relaxed — no good if you have people to see or things to do.
The other claim that’s mentioned about ashwagandha is having it in combination with alcohol is a potent social stress reducer. I haven’t noticed anything especially enlightening or soothing with this combination, but it sure is fun.
I liked ashwagandha so much that I recommend it among other herbs in Testosterone Black Book since it definitely aids in sexual drive and stamina due to its primary means of action.
Does it affect testosterone, the testicles, or reduce estrogen? Who knows. Many call it an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body to balance its own hormone levels in some beneficial manner. This means it can be good for women as well as men.
This is what silverhydra, one of the guys behind Examine, had to say about it on an old reddit post:
Balls are bigger
Have I noticed this effect personally? I can’t say for sure since my own pair has fluctuated in size with varying supplements and degrees of sexual release. Taking everything away except ashwagandha hasn’t made them lose their size though so perhaps this intriguing claim has some merit.
Unlike maca, if you’re already a high-libido individual I don’t think ashwagandha will make you unnecessarily horny. It’s a great herb to take for just about anyone who would need its benefits.
External literature on Ashwagandha
- Longecity: Ashwagandha tolerance or withdrawl
- Examine: Ashwagandha
- Traditional Ayurvedic use of ashwagandha