The Benefits of Ashwagandha

by Melissa Chichester

A perennial shrub native to India, the Middle East, and North Africa, ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic practices.

The word “ashwagandha” originates from Sanskrit words that translate to “horse smell,” meaning it has a horse-like scent. In Ayurveda, this is a nod to its powerful benefits. Many say that ashwagandha is strong like a horse.

Similar in appearance to a tomato, it is also known as “Indian ginseng” and “Indian winter cherry.” Ashwagandha now grows all over the globe. It can be recognized by its yellow and green bellflowers.

Ashwagandha in Ayurveda

Ashwagandha holds a revered position in Ayurveda. The herb is believed to balance the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. In traditional practices, ashwagandha powder made from the roots of the plant is preferred for use. The leaves and seeds are also used, and ashwagandha appears in the ancient Vedas of Ayurvedic custom.

Ayurvedic practitioners continue to harness the potential of ashwagandha today, and its popularity has gained global recognition. 

Ashwagandha as an adaptogen

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress by restoring balance.* To be considered adaptogenic, herbs have to meet specific criteria, originally identified by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarez. These discoveries were made based on another adaptogen, Siberian ginseng.

Adaptogenic properties include stress support, benefiting overall well-being, and not harming the body.* Overall, adaptogens help the body adjust to stress.*

Ashwagandha may even provide occasional anxiety support.* In addition, ashwagandha can support a calm, relaxed mood and nourish overall well-being.*

When will I feel benefits from ashwagandha?

It takes more than one day for ashwagandha to help your well-being. It is natural for herbs to work with your body. Depending on your health, it may even take several months before you notice the beneficial effects of ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha with mushroom

Another ashwagandha supplement to consider is Puritan’s Pride Mushroom Complex with Ashwagandha. It’s a unique blend of mushrooms and herbs that supports wellness.* It contains chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and maitake mushrooms. These mushrooms have long been used for their healthy properties.* 

This complex also features St. John’s Wort, turmeric, astragalus, and schizandra. Turmeric contains flavonoids which provide antioxidant properties.*  

Ashwagandha beauty benefits

Ashwagandha also plays a noteworthy role in beauty and skincare. Ashwagandha is used in skincare such as masks, face creams, and serums. 

Ashwagandha is often used in topical beauty items that can be made at home, including in powdered conditioners and shampoos that are activated by water. It is also easy to make a nourishing face mask with ashwagandha root. 


  • ½ teaspoon ashwagandha root powder (or more for a thicker mask)
  • 2 tablespoons facial toner
  • 2 drops tea tree oil


Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Gently smooth the mask all over your face and leave on the skin for fifteen minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.