I have spent quite a few years working with & studying herbs. I take special interest in the herbs we use everyday & the herbs that can be used to assist us in our overall well-being. When I decided to build my mini farm I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I started out making holistic skincare with only a dream of one day being a farmer. Growing medicinal herbs began as a way to cut down my overhead. Little did I know it was in my blood & I would become obsessed with the process.
As I am in the middle of becoming certified as a naturopathic herbalist I decided to start this series to share this knowledge with you all. I will concentrate on the herbs I personally grow on my mini farm. Even though I have lost quite a few herbs over the past couple of years I still have an extensive medicinal herb collection. Some of the herbs we will discuss in this series will be more familiar than others. There will always be information that you most likely didn't know about the herbs you are familiar with.
I decided to begin the series with one of my favorite herbs, ashwagandha. For years I have heard about this herb & considered this herb exotic or rare. I decided to begin with this herb for the same reason it is among my favorites. It is extremely resilient. I started my ashwagandha plant from seed. I did not think it was going to make it. Because we struggled to survive for so long my plant did not flower, fruit or go to seed. It has remained a seedling, but has been fed recently & is showing new life!
What is Ashwagandha
Withania Somnifera also known as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, winter cherry or poison gooseberry. It is in the shrub family. Considered one of the most important herbs in ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha may seem familiar to you because it is right now being advertised & promoted for its use as an aphrodisiac. It is an herb that will eventually flower & fruit in warmer climates.
Flower is used as an aphrodisiac, diuretic, astringent, & stimulant to increase sperm counts. May be used to reduce stress, increase energy levels, improve concentration, reduce symptoms of depression.
Roots are used as a tonic to rejuvenate the nervous system. Has anti-aging effects, stimulates immune functions & prevents the depletion of vitamin C. Anti-inflammatory, increases physical endurance & prevents stress related disorders. Also contains amino acids & other important nutrients.
Berries are used as a diuretic.
You will probably be familiar with ashwagandha as an aphrodisiac herb. That is how I first encountered this plant. I will admit that I was very unfamiliar with it before I began studying alternative medicine. "Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure & alter the immune system." (WebMd, 2020) Commonly ashwagandha is used to moderate stress/blood pressure levels.
As many health benefits as ashwagandha has, it has as many spiritual benefits. Commonly used to balance your chakral energy & your chi. Has been said to enhance sex magic due to its aphrodisiac properties(Worldbotanicaltherapy.com, 2020). Whether you are looking for a quick energy boost or support for your immune system you may want to check out ashwagandha.
Balch, P.A. (2010). Prescription for Nutritional Healing: The A to Z Guide to Supplements. New York: Avery