Has anyone had any experience with Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha: an overview of the sleeping berries

Used in Ayurveda for over 3000 years, the Indian plant is still relatively unknown in this country. In our article you will learn interesting information that we do not want to withhold from you.

What is Ashwagandha?

If you haven't heard of Ashwagandha, now is the time, as it is now attracting attention outside of traditional Indian healing.

Incidentally, Ashwagandha is the Sanskrit term for the medicinal plant, which translates as “smell of the horse”. In this country it is also known as Sleeping berry, Indian ginseng, Horse root or Winter cherry known. In botany it belongs to the nightshade family, is called Withania somnifera and is a natural adaptogen.

The special thing about Ashwagandha is that it has a long history under its belt. It has even been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3000 years, while it is only now slowly gaining importance in Europe.

Uses of Ashwagandha

Sleeping berry bushes reach heights of about one to two meters and produce bright red fruits. However, only the leaves and mainly the roots of the plant are of interest for use.

The shrubs of the Ashwagandha settle mainly in dry areas, including the tropical and subtropical regions. In India, the plant is grown as standard.

In Ayurvedic medicine alone, Ashwagandha is one Ingredient in over 200 different preparations. Far from it, however, it is also used elsewhere.

Dosage: This is how ashwagandha is taken

In Germany, there is no information available on the use of the Ashwaganda root as a food. In the EU, the sleeping berry is classified as a novel food and therefore a food. The root is intended to be used in the manufacture of tea drinks and in food supplements.

If you are looking for Ashwagandha, you will mostly find it on the Internet, where it is the plant either in tablet or capsule form and as Ground plant material extracted from the root to buy there. The powder can be prepared as a tea, for example.

But how should the Withania somnifera actually be dosed? Depending on the provider, there are different consumption recommendations for the preparations, which can vary widely. For example, some recommend one capsule a day, others two to three. For powder, among other things, a teaspoon is given once or twice a day.

Due to the different consumption recommendations, the daily intake amounts also differ WithanolidesAccording to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the intake of the active ingredient fluctuates between five and 61 milligrams. The BfR also emphasizes that the various dietary supplements do not make it clear what amount of the different active ingredients they contain. Therefore, there are no recommendations to be made regarding Ashwagandha supplementation.

Does the winter cherry have any side effects?

Now we come to a difficult but important part that is meant to shed more light on the mystery of Ashwagandha. What about possible side effects?

According to the World Health Organization (as of 2009), ingesting the root could lead to diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. According to the consumer advice center, caution should be exercised with exotic plants such as sleeping berries, because so far insufficient proof of safety are present.

It is also possible that it is with Ashwagandha in conjunction with other drugs to interactions could come. So it is certainly not bad to get an expert opinion, for example from a doctor or pharmacist, if you are unsure.

Women should refrain from using ashwagandha powder, capsules and the like during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Even with chronic diseases, caution is advised when using preparations with the winter cherry.

We generally recommend that you consult your family doctor beforehand with any supplement.

Ashwagandha: Conclusion

  • Ashwagandha is a plant whose roots are used as a medicine and which is particularly used in Ayurveda.
  • It is also known as sleeping berry, winter cherry, horse root, and Indian ginseng.
  • Ashwagandha has many different uses.
  • When taking it, side effects such as nausea could occur.
  • Positive effects have not yet been confidently proven.
  • There are scientific uncertainties about the effects and health hazards of Ashwagandha.
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  • Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (2012): Risk assessment of plants and vegetable
    Preparations, https://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/350/risikob rung-von- Pflanzen-und-pflanzlichen-zubereitungen.pdf [as of: 26.04.2021].