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Life on the Farm

What is Ashwagandha?

Justine Garcia
Justine Garcia
Communications Coordinator

If you’ve ever visited us at the Hawi Farmers Market on Saturdays (and you should!), you’ve probably seen little brown bottles on our table labeled “Ashwagandha Tincture”. We get asked all the time, “What is that?” or “What can it do?”, so today we’d like to share a few fun facts about this super beneficial, but often little-known herb.


  • Ashwagandha, also known as winter cherry, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or scientifically, withania sominifera, has been used for over 3,000 years in Ayurveda to relieve stress and increase energy, and by Africans and Native Americans to cure a variety of infections.


  • Ashwagandha is actually Sanskrit for “smell/odor of horse” because of the strong and unique smell from its roots that is said to resemble that of a horse and also because it is said to give you the strength of one.


  • It may even contain some cancer-fighting properties. Studies have shown that it may help slow down or even stop the growth of tumors, can prevent metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other organs, and even lessen the side effects of chemotherapy without impeding the killing of cancer-causing cells.


  • It has been shown to increase the libido and fertility of men. In a three-month study in which ashwagandha was tested for its ability to reduce stress and combat infertility in men, “Treatment resulted in a decrease in stress…and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of individuals.” 14% of the participants’ partners even ended up getting pregnant after!


  • It is said to increase brain function, especially in those with brain issues stemming from a previous injury or disease.


  • It is good for the heart and may even help with the reduction of triglycerides and cholesterol levels.


  • It has been used within Ayurvedic medicine to fight diabetes, “Experiments showed that blood sugar levels during fasting and post-lunch period decreased significantly when Ashwagandha was consumed for a period of four weeks.”


  • It may help with the reduction of inflammation. A study suggested, “that ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties that come from the alkaloids, saponins, and steroidal lactones found within it.”


From your head to your toes, ashwagandha is amazing for pretty much every part of your body! So, next time you’re in town, stop by our table and pick up your very own bottle. Mahalo!


To practice and teach ecologically conscious agriculture, empowering individuals and communities to cultivate alternative systems of living that restore human and environmental health.

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