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Ashwagandha Tea: An Ancient Adaptogen

Of all the teas associated with Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is probably one of the least known. Despite growing native in Africa, India, and other parts of Asia, ashwagandha tea is gaining popularity in the West as a dietary supplement in herbal medicine.

Ashwagandha tea is an herbal tisane made from the root of the ashwagandha plant or winter cherry. Ashwagandha is associated with several positive health properties in Ayurvedic medicine, increasing energy during the day and ensuring a good night’s sleep in the evening.

Even if you haven’t heard of ashwagandha tea before, it’s worth looking into adding this herbal drink into your nightly tea rotation. Read on to learn more about ashwagandha tea and how it can help improve your health. 

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),  is an evergreen shrub grown in India, Asia and Africa.  Part of the nightshade family, ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.  

When dried and ground, the root of this plant is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.

Ashwagandha is well known for its health benefits, but this wasn’t always the case. Originally, this ancient herbal tea was popularized by Ayurvedic medicine in Indian culture thousands of years ago. 

ashwagandha plant
The Withania somnifera, or Ashwagandha plant is also known as Indian ginseng.

In Western culture, ashwagandha has become a common ingredient in moon milk, a milk-based herbal beverage intended to induce good sleep. 

This is because the chemicals in ashwagandha are considered adaptogens, compounds that can help the human body adapt to stress more easily.  Tulsi tea is another example of an ayurvedic tea that contains healthful adaptogens.

What Does Ashwagandha Tea Taste Like? 

While ashwagandha tea is renowned for its health benefits, it is less popular for its flavor. Ashwagandha tea has a bitter and earthy flavor, with some people comparing it to the flavor of dirt.

As a matter of fact, the plant’s name ​​is a combination of the Sanskrit words ‘ashva’, meaning horse, and ‘gandha’, meaning smell.   So if you’re looking for an herbal tea that smells like a horse, this should be perfect for you!
Because of this taste, ashwagandha is usually included in moon milks or other herbal mixtures that include milk and sweeteners to help mask its bitter flavor.

As for texture, the texture of ashwagandha tea, once mixed, is slightly creamy. This makes it a great pairing for cow’s milk or other silky additives for a smooth-tasting drink. 

adaptogen ashwagandha tea
Ashwagandha root can be dried and ground for tea or capsules.

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha Tea

The main reason ashwagandha is included in so many herbal tea mixtures is because of its health benefits. Drinking ashwagandha regularly can have several positive impacts on the body. Here are a few of the healthy properties of ashwagandha tea: 

  • Reduced stress: Studies have shown that people who drink ashwagandha tea show reduced cortisol levels, a hormone in the human body associated with stress.
  • Increased physical endurance: The same adaptogenic properties that help ashwagandha lower stress levels in people who drink it also helps reduce the physical exhaustion associated with stress. This can lead to lower levels of fatigue.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Ashwagandha is full of antioxidants and polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties in the body. This can help people who drink ashwagandha tea regulate inflammation in chronic conditions like arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Increased fitness: Ashwagandha has been shown to positively impact physical fitness during exercise, leading to increased oxygen intake and physical strength. 
  • Improved cognitive function: Ashwagandha has been explored as a beneficial supplement for people who experience chronic issues with depression, such as people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. While ashwagandha shouldn’t be used to replace traditional antidepressants, it can help reduce negative symptoms. 

Ashwagandha can have a wide range of health advantages as an herbal tea supplement. However, to see gradual results, the tea needs to be consumed long-term. 

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ashwagandha tea vs capsules
Although it has a strong, earthy taste, ashwagandha is prized for its adaptogenic qualities.

Side Effects of Ashwagandha Tea

Most people tolerate ashwagandha tea well in reasonable doses. Some people who drink ashwagandha tea may run into unpleasant side effects.

Taking too much ashwagandha tea can lead to general digestive distress such as upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.

To avoid these side effects, only drink ashwagandha in recommended amounts and take it after eating so you aren’t drinking it on an empty stomach. 

Does Ashwagandha Tea Have Caffeine?

Ashwagandha root does not have caffeine.  Interestingly, the plant’s species name “somnifera” means “sleep-inducing” in Latin.  

But, since it’s an adaptogen, it can seem to give you energy when you need it – thus the nickname, Indian ginseng.

Ashwagandha Tea vs. Capsules

Because of its strong taste, many people prefer to get their daily dose of this ground root in a capsule instead.  Both deliver the same health benefits though.  

how to make ashwagandha tea from ground ashwagandha root
If you don’t want to make tea, ashwagandha capsules are readily available.

How to Brew Ashwagandha Tea

Brewing ashwagandha tea is simple if you have access to it. Follow these steps to brew a cup of ashwagandha tea : 

Simple Ashwagandha Tea Recipe

  • Heat the water. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil on the stovetop or in an electric kettle, then add the hot water to a teacup or mug. (Multiply this recipe for as many cups of tea as you plan to make.)
  • Steep the tea. Add one teaspoon of dried ashwagandha root powder to your mug of hot water and allow the ashwagandha to steep for at least 10-15 minutes. Agitating the ashwagandha can help it seep into the tea water more effectively. The longer you allow the tea to be steep, the stronger it becomes.
  • Strain the tea if desired.  Most people just drink without straining, but
  • Add lemon and sweetener. Many people drink ashwagandha tea with a dash of lemon juice and a sweetener such as honey or sugar. Ashwagandha tea can also be added to cow’s milk and spices to temper its earthy flavor. 

And there you have it! For a drink that is so good for you, ashwagandha tea is very easy to make. 

ashwagandha powder and capsules are healthy adaptogens
However you take it, ashwagandha is a healthy addition to your daily routine.

Ashwagandha Tea:  Is An Ancient and Healthy Choice

While it might be relatively new in Western holistic medicine, ashwagandha has been used in the East for thousands of years. This bitter, pungent herb may not be one of the tastiest ingredients you add to your herbal tea mixtures, but it is certain to be one of the healthiest. 

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