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What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a popular Ayurvedic herb that contains chemicals used to decrease stress, reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure, calm the brain, and affect immune function.

Where is ashwagandha found? Ashwagandha is a type of plant whose berries and roots are used to make medicine. It is sold in supplemental form only, both orally and topically.

What are the benefits of ashwagandha? Ashwagandha has many uses. As a tonic, it is used to increase both longevity and general health. Additionally, it is used to treat arthritis and decrease inflammation. It is considered an “adaptogen,” which helps increase resistance to environmental stress. It is also taken to decrease anxiety, insomnia, and fibromyalgia, and it is taken to help with symptoms of GI disease, diabetes and epilepsy. Some people take ashwagandha to improve sexual function, menstrual issues, and treat infertility. Others use ashwagandha to improve thinking ability. It is also used topically to treat wounds and backaches.

Are there interactions with ashwaganha food, herbs or other supplements? Ashwagandha should not be taken with other herbs that have sedative properties, such as valerian and St John’s wort.

Ashwagandha should not be taken during pregnancy. People with autoimmune diseases or peptic ulcer disease should not take it. Additionally, ashwagandha should be stopped two weeks before any type of surgery.

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