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For more than six thousand years ashwagandha (an Ayurvedic rasayana) has been treasured for its ability to revitalise and rejuvenate. It helps down-regulate the body’s stress response, promote restorative sleep, calm the mind and support healthy ageing.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic rasayana (tonic herb).
Where Does it Grow?
Ashwagandha is native to the Indian subcontinent, specifically the drier areas of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The herb is also grown in The Middle East and Northern Africa. Ashwagandha can flourish in temperate climates and is now grown in regions of the United States. Our Ashwagandha is sourced di tao from India.
Classification – Rasayana
In the Ayurvedic healing system medicinal plants are classified into multiple groups according to their actions. Ashwagandha falls into the group of plants called the rasayanas.
The word rasayana is derived from the words rasa meaning primordial tissue or plasma, and ayana, meaning path, the word rasayana translates to “the path that rasa takes”. According to Ayurveda the qualities of the rasa (primordial tissue/plasma) influence the health of all the other tissues in the body, or the dhatus. As such, any medicines or herbs that improve the quality of the rasa, such as those belonging to the rasayana group, should also strengthen and promote the health of all of the body’s tissues.
Herbs belonging to the rasayana group are prized for their ability to restore and revitalise the body, slow the ageing process and prevent disease.
Rasayanas increase the body’s resistance to stress and can be taken over long periods of time without causing side effects or harm to the body.
A herb that belongs to the rasayana group can be classified in contemporary language and understanding as an ‘adaptogen’. With similar actions to the herbs we classify as ‘tonic’ in the Taoist herbal system.
With the use of rasayanas the specific intentions are:
Of course, like in Taoist theory, in Ayurveda there are themes and intentions towards physical immortality, but fundamentally rasayanas are used to create extreme longevity of the physical body and the mind, renewing the brain cells daily with the intent for the brain and the heart to be as clear in old age as in childhood.
Ashwagandha has been used in the Ayurvedic medical system for over 3000- 4000 years. This ancient herb was first mentioned in the sacred Ayurvedic texts: the Charaka and the Sushruta Samhitas, where it was favoured as a restorative tonic against emaciation in people of all ages. Ashwagandha is recognised for its ability to promote youthful longevity, enhance the reproductive potency of both men and women and to reduce age related decline.
Ashwagandha holds a similar place in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia as ginseng does in the Chinese healing system, however it is far less expensive and has a softer energetic. In Ayurvedic medicine ashwagandha is the chief rejuvenative herb, with a special affinity for the muscles, marrow and semen.
Ashwagandha is used in all conditions associated with weakness and tissue deficiency in those suffering from chronic illness, overwork, lack of sleep and nervous exhaustion. Ashwagandha can be used in children, adults and the elderly. Ashwagandha was traditionally used for Parkinson’s Disease, and more recently, Alzheimer’s.
Ashwagandha is sattvic in nature and is considered to have a nurturing and clarifying action on the mind, promoting a calming energetic and encouraging deep, dreamless sleep.
Ashwagandha regenerates the hormonal system, promotes tissue healing and can be used externally as a wound healer. Ashwagandha is the primary herb used to balance vata constitutions.