Ashwagandha – For Over 4,000 Years Considered India’s Most Potent Herb and All-Around Tonic
The Only Fresh Root, Biodynamically Farmed, Spagyrically Prepared Ashwagandha Tincture Grown in Oregon, USA…No One Else Offers This Level of Quality!
Find out about ashwagandha, what it can do for you, and our commitment to quality in bringing you the best possible ashwagandha spagyric tincture available in this video.
The Ayurvedic scholar from 100BC, Charaka said of rasayanas, of which ashwagandha is the main one, “One obtains longevity, regains youth, gets a sharp memory and intellect and freedom from diseases, gets a lustrous complexion, and strength of a horse.”1* This root enhances Ojas, which is the equivalent in Chinese Medicine as Jing and has been in use for over 4000 years.*The name ashwagandha means “horse smell” as the fresh root has a strong horse-like odor. It is also believed to give you the strength and stamina of a stallion.* Another name it is known by is Indian Ginseng.
Here’s a quick summary of the benefits of ashwagandha across many different functions, then we’ll dive deeper into how ashwagandha works, including the science backing it up.
- Lowers stress and cortisol.*
- Activity on GABA receptors helps with anxiety, some types of depression, and assists in quality sleep.*
- Modulates the inflammation response.*
- Modulates the immune system.*
- Increases testosterone in both infertile as well as healthy men.*
- Supports women’s hormone health.*
- Supports healthy thyroid hormone function, possibly in both cases of hyper- and hypothyroid.*
- Increases strength, endurance (including VO2 Max) and muscle mass.*
- Helps protect the nervous system from neurodegeneration.*
- May act as a nootropic, assisting memory, learning, reaction times and other forms of cognition.*
- Protects DNA.*
Ashwagandha’s Main Benefit is to Help Lower Stress and Cortisol*
Jeff, our farmer, likes to describe ashwagandha as “the Great Unclencher.” In our modern-day society an epidemic of chronic stress surrounds us. And that is why ashwagandha is becoming even more important.*
In quite a few studies ashwagandha has been shown to lower self-perceived levels of stress, as well as cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in the body.* One placebo-controlled study with 64 subjects, including both men and women found that after 60 days stress and cortisol were significantly reduced.2* You can see an adapted chart from this study showing the effects on cortisol as compared to placebo.
Another study found similar reductions on stress-related parameters. This one included a decrease in c-reactive protein (CRP) which is a marker for chronic inflammation in the body.3*
How it works is still not fully understood. Research is looking at multiple different constituents, such as sitoindosides VII and VIII, as well as withaferin-A, for these anti-stress activities.4 The reduction of stress seems to happen from multiple pathways. This includes less cortisol signaling.*
And ashwagandha also appears to suppress some of the neuronal excitation in response to stress.* That is something we hear from customers taking ashwagandha regularly. Things or situations that use to stress them out…just don’t seem to anymore.*
Not Just Stress…But How These are Linked to Effects on Anxiety and Depression*
Many people have found that ashwagandha helps in cases of anxious or depressed thinking.* These effects are likely best when they’re related to over-stress.
Several different human studies have found these anxiolytic properties to work consistently.2,5,6*
Depression isn’t as well study, though some rat research shows promise.7*
Part of these actions may be ashwagandha’s effects on GABA receptors, which brings us to our next section…
Ashwagandha Supports Sound Sleep
The Latin name, somnifera, comes from somnus, which means “to sleep.” This is not a plant that will knock you out like some others, but taking it during the day, many people notice an easier time falling asleep, with overall improved sleep quality.*
Despite it being in the name of the plant, and one of it’s major uses, this area has barely been researched. One human study found that in addition to reductions in total and LDL cholesterol, increases in strength and decreases in fat, that six of the eighteen subjects reported better sleep.8*
Some research in rats looked at the mechanism by which ashwagandha brings its sleep-inducing effects.* This appears to be through the signaling of the GABA-A receptor.9 GABA being a neurotransmitter that helps not only with sleep, but with feeling calm, this is likely part of its stress effects too.
Because it is things like stress and anxiety that lead many into insomnia, this is likely the main method in which ashwagandha helps to bring deep, restorative sleep.*
One other note on this subject. Recent Japanese research isolated triethylene glycol from the leaves of ashwagandha and found this to induce sleep in rats.10 Our tincture is predominately made with the root, as is typical, but includes 5% leaf for greater sleep and nootropic effects.*
Pay Attention Guys! Ashwagandha Supports Testosterone and Sperm Health*
Now we move onto how ashwagandha helps with hormone health. Let me start by saying that if cortisol is too high, this will inhibit all of the “good” hormones (progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, etc.) as it steals away the starting material for them. Thus, lower cortisol and all the sex hormones can improve. This may be the primary way it works here…but there does seem to be additional effects.*
In several human studies looking at infertile men, consistent results have seen the increases of testosterone and sperm quality.11-13* The first of these saw increases in testosterone and luteinizing hormone, while follicle-stimulating hormone and prolactin went down.*
What about guys that aren’t infertile? One study did find a 15% increase in testosterone in young, healthy guys.14* And this increase was not seen in the placebo group. We’ll get back to this study later…
Pay Attention Women! Ashwagandha Improves Sex Lives and Helps Regulate the Thyroid*
Ashwagandha also supports women’s hormone health, though this is not as well studied.* While ashwagandha has a reputation as a male herb, very often women get even more benefit! In those same male studies, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) were affected. Women make use of these hormones even more so than men.
One study looking at female sexual function, found ashwagandha supplementation increased scores on Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) over eight weeks.* This included significant improvements in desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and comfort.15*
Another area that ashwagandha has a reputation for helping in is modulating the thyroid hormones, and thus being used in both cases of hyper- and hypothyroidism.* As women have more thyroid issues than men, this can be another place where it shines.
Until recently, only rat studies have investigated ashwagandha’s effects of thyroid hormone levels thus far. One study showed an increase in T4, without T3.16* The other showed an increased in both T4 and T3.17*
But earlier this year a placebo-controlled human trial with fifty subjects found that ashwagandha supplementation normalized TSH, T3 and T4 in people with sub-clinical hypothyroidism.18*
It is likely that ashwagandha will best support the thyroid, when such issues as stress are compounding them.*
Increases in Endurance, Strength and Muscle Mass*
Being that ashwagandha helps with general strengthening of the body (making you as strong as a stallion!) it’s no surprise that great effects have been studied in use of this root with various forms of exercise.*
In the aforementioned study, where normal, young men had their testosterone increase 15% with the use of testosterone, there were also increases in strength in the bench press and leg extension, as well as increased muscle size in the chest and arms.* Body fat decreased too.14* All these happened in the ashwagandha group more so than the placebo group. Select charts from this study shown below.
That’s not the only one. Looking at endurance a human trial found increases to VO(2) Max, velocity and power.19* Another study looking at cyclists (elite athletes) found improved cardiorespiratory endurance, specifically VO(2) Max and time to exhaustion.20*
Increasing VO(2) Max is a big deal! For those not familiar with the term, it is a measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense exercise. I’m not aware of any other herb that has two human trials showing improvement there.
Ashwagandha is Neuroprotective…and May Act as a Nootropic
Ashwagandha is being investigated for a wide range of effects in various issues of the central nervous system, including neurodegeneration.* One study looking at human neuronal cells found “protective effects of ashwagandha against β-amyloid induced toxicity.”21* As you may know, beta-amyloid is a plaque that forms in the brain tissue found in Alzheimer’s patients.
Part of this protection looks to be that the sitoindosides and withaferin A were found to increase antioxidant levels with superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) in certain areas of the brain, as was found in rats.22*
And ashwagandha interacts in numerous ways with our nervous system, including activity on several neurotransmitter receptors. This includes withanolides showing inhibition against butyrylcholinesterase and acetylcholinesterase.23* Butyrylcholinesterase activity may help with drug addiction. Acetylcholinesterase catalyzes breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, which is used for memory, learning and cognition.
Then there is activity on the NMDA receptor, which is very important for controlling synaptic plasticity and memory function.24* Neurology is a complicated matter so all the details are not known, even with as much research as has gone behind ashwagandha.
Even if you’re not degenerating, there is some research showing that ashwagandha may act as a nootropic, meaning it can help improve things from baseline.* Ashwagandha has been shown to induce neurogenesis, the growth of neurons.25*
Furthermore, withanone and leaf extract increased BDNF, that is brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which also supports the growth of nerves.26*
In another study, in some tests, ashwagandha supplementation improved the reaction time in some tests, though not all of the tests, as compared to placebo in humans.27*
Immunomodulating and Anti-Aging Activity of Ashwagandha*
Different studies show that sometimes ashwagandha suppresses the immune system, while other times it increases activity.* This shows that it is immunomodulating, with dual direction activity.*
This small study with five participants showed immune system activation, including increased T cells and natural killer (NK) cells.28*
Ashwagandha also helps to modulate the inflammation response, by inhibiting NF-κB and AP-1 transcription factors.29* These are important for protecting your DNA.
Speaking of DNA, ashwagandha increased telomerase activity in cell lines.30* For those that aren’t familiar telomeres are the end-caps of DNA and are one of the leading theories on what causes aging and death. Going beyond the cell line, ashwagandha was shown to extend the life span of C. elegans, a nemotode often used in anti-aging research, by 20%.31* Curiously, this only happened in one of the two worm types they used.
While research is looking into ashwagandha’s effects on cancer, one thing seems clear. Taking ashwagandha while getting chemotherapy helps lessen fatigue and improves quality of life as occurred in 100 breast cancer patients in one study.32*
Ashwagandha is one of the most researched herbs out there. Honestly, we’ve only covered some of it’s far-ranging benefits. A search on PubMed yields over 1,000 studies for the keyword ashwagandha. But now let’s switch gears and discuss more about what sets our ashwagandha tincture apart from the rest.
What Goes Into Our Ashwagandha Tincture…
This isn’t your average ashwagandha tincture. In fact, we would place this head to head against any other ashwagandha product on the market. This tincture is special because it is:
1) Grown and Processed in Oregon – This is the ONLY commercially available ashwagandha from the states.
2) Spagyrically Prepared – This alchemical method adds the mineral component back into the tincture giving it more “body” and greater physiological effects. For more information on the process please read below!
3) Biodynamically Farmed – This allows for the highest quality roots with the most nutrients in them as the starting place for the tincture.
4) Tastes Great – In fact it tastes like an ashwagandha tincture should, not weak and watered down like many on the market are.
Made with 40% organic cane alcohol and 60% purified water. After this is created, the remaining root matter is burned down and purified for the mineral content and added back into the liquid.
Making a High-Quality Spagyric Tincture
To get a product like this tincture takes a lot of time and a lot of work. Both time and work bespeak quality. The entire process takes roughly a year. Jeff, the main man behind this ashwagandha farm, does much of the work to make this happen and his commitment can be tasted. Each stage of the journey is done with practiced care and awareness. Below is the ENTIRE process from seed-to-bottle.
Beginning in February and March, Jeff and co. seed the ashwagandha in their greenhouse as ashwagandha is a somewhat slow germinator. While in the greenhouse they water, tend, and apply compost tea (compost, worm casings, kelp, and humic acid, horse tail, nettle) to ensure healthy starts.
In April, they apply Biodynamic Preparation 500 to the fields. This awakens the earth and brings life and balance to the soil.
In May, they prepare the earth by mowing and preparing the earth for transplanting the ashwagandha. From May 15th to June 15th they transplant out the ashwagandha into the fields.
From here they apply Biodynamic preparation 501 towards the end of June. This preparation of ground quartz crystal helps the sunlight turn into matter as well as harden the leaf.
In July, they continue to apply compost tea. This helps the plants typically have sizable growth, growing what seems to be almost a foot a week!
They tend and weed the ashwagandha during August, preparing for the harvest.
The harvest happens in the fall. From the full moon of September to about the end of October they harvest and wash the roots.
Jeff will then prep the roots in order to cut them and soak them in a solution of alcohol and distilled water.
After macerating for three months or more they drain the solution and press the herb material. Being a dense root they have found three months to be the minimum amount of time needed to get the deep reddish quality that they are looking for in the initial extraction.
They then do a finishing extraction to get as much out of the plant as possible into solution and this takes about 10-14 hours per run.
After the extraction is complete, they rotary evaporate the solution to make it more concentrated.
From there they pack out a crucible (clay vessel) and burn the ashwagandha root for 12 hours. They then grind the ashes and burn it again.
They add water to the ash and then pour off the solution into a tray from which the water can be evaporated. The earth salts (potassium, sodium and some metals like iron) are left over from the ashwagandha root. They add these salts back into the tincture. These salts are aspects of the plant that do not dissolve out into the menstruum during the maceration process.
Adding the salts back in brings the tincture to a more complete and robust tincture of the plant roots that got pulled out of the dirt.
This whole process produces a much higher quality tincture then the simple stuff normally found in the market. If you value quality then you have certainly found it here.
As we learn more about the ashwagandha through laboratory testing we get to experience the joy of working with our suppliers like Jeff to help his product become even better. Working as a team to better the tincture benefits both our companies and most importantly, benefits those that consume it.
While we highly value nature’s intelligence we need to remember that humans are an integral part of nature. Using the tools of modernity to evoke the medicine out of a plant is just another form of humans interacting with their ecology. It is as old as time. As long as we respect the process and wisdom of the natural world, we can become, once again, effective agents for fostering a natural abundance for all humans and nonhumans alike as many of our forebears once did.
Jeff grew up in rural South Jersey. In his youth, he would work summer jobs on farms. His father had a large garden in the back yard and it provided most of their food growing up. Moving to California in 2000 he would began managing a biodynamic farm. Soon there after he elected to move to Oregon and in 2009 returned to agriculture after working in the tech industry. He was inspired to grow medicinal herbs for his community after visiting a local herb shop and discovering that the plantain leaf they carried was coming from Poland (plantain grows everywhere so no reason they had to import it!).
He began growing medicinal herbs as one part of the farm and five short years later it became the main focus of the farm. He has been growing ashwagandha for over a decade now.
Independent Lab Testing
Like all our products our ashwagandha tincture comes back clean as far as heavy metals and bacteria is concerned. You can find all our lab reports on the Lab Results tab.
We’ve also tested our ashwagandha for withanolide content. This is just one grouping of the active ingredient inside ashwagandha, though of course, there is much more. Each dose of 1.5mL contains approximate 239 µg total withanolides.
See the lab test for the individual withanolide content, which includes different withanosides, withaferin, withanone and more. (Note that this is likely to vary from one year’s harvest to the next.)
This amount is likely smaller than you’ll find in powdered extracts, but we know there is something special about how tinctures work, where you can get more from less. Most of the research has been done with patented extracts with withanolide content of about 5-25mg depending on dose. Again, this group of compounds, isn’t everything and tinctures tend to be more absorbable (straight to blood stream, rather than passing through digestion) than powders. We would love to compare the effects of our tincture against some of the well-known brands in a study, but until that time you’ll have to be the judge.
Dosage and How to Take Ashwagandha Tincture
Recommended dosage is a dropperful (about 30 drops) twice per day or as directed by your medical professional. Feel free to use more or less than this as you see fit.
The taste it horse-like…just kidding! It is described as sweetish, bitter and astringent, with mucilaginous properties. Some people may find it off-putting but many people enjoy it.
Various studies typically used a powdered extract dose of 300-500mg, though sometimes its from 2-6 grams. Usually the bigger amounts is straight powdered roots and not an extract. There is not enough research to compare how these dosages compare to using tinctures. We encourage you to experiment and find what works for you.
Side Effects and Contraindications
Generally the side effects are mild at best, no more so than placebos. When there are side effects of Ashwagandha, this typically only happens at excessive dosages. It’s been reported to cause abortions, so pregnant women should avoid this herb.
Reports of stomach upset, diarrhea and issues with ulcers are not likely to occur at all with the tincture, as opposed to consuming the raw root.
It is not recommended to take in combination with sedatives or anti-anxiety drugs, or immunosuppressants. Please talk to you doctor before using if on these as well as thyroid medication.