Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an ancient medicinal plant that’s been used for time immemorial in India’s traditional medical system, Ayurveda. Other common names include Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry. Known to be an adaptogen, Ashwagandha supports the body’s response to stress and in a way that promotes balance. It is also considered a ‘Rasayana’ in Ayurvedic traditions, meaning a rejuvenator and youthful tonic.
An adaptogen is a classification of plants and mushrooms that can help our bodies adapt to stress. Adaptogens work in a context dependent manner. In general, adaptogens work to support the body’s immune and endocrine systems to help them stay balanced.
Ashwagandha is calming and relaxing, but not a sedative. It should not make you sleepy or lethargic when used in the daytime. What it tends to do is settle the nerves and promote relaxation so that if you intend to sleep, it will be a smoother process and a more deeply restorative rest.