Ashwagandha is a herb central to the traditional home medicine of India called Ayurveda.
Its Latin name is W. somnifera, meaning sleep-inducing, and it has been used for that purpose for centuries.
It is sometimes known as “Indian ginseng”.
Modern scientific studies have shown that crude powder of Ashwagandha helps to promote sleep.
Now, new research has revealed the active ingredient.
The Ashwagandha leaf is rich in triethylene glycol (TEG), which scientists have now found helps improve deep sleep.
Although this study was carried out on mice, no side-effects are generally found for humans.
The researchers hope that investigating TEG will revolutionise the treatment of insomnia.
Around 10-15% of the general population suffer from insomnia, rising to 30-60% in the elderly.
Insomnia is linked to many other problems, such as depression, obesity and cardiovascular disease, to name a few.
The active component of Ashwagandha, triethylene glycol (TEG), is commercially available and was found in the study to have the same effect as the crude powder.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Kaushik et al., 2017).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Organic Ashwagandha image from Shutterstock