Questions and Answers
My eight and a half-year old son is going though an especially stressful period at the moment (his best friend doesn't want to be his best friend any more, and he's heart broken, yet desperate to get her back). He was always an intense little boy, prone to fits anger if he doesn't get his own way (no matter the consequence), but with a very loving and generous nature. Although he's was and remains to be a 'homoeopathy-baby', I am now being guided to start using Ashwagandha, in powder form, with milk just before his supper.
I know Ashwagandha is basically non-toxic, but any experience (dosage, length of treatment, etc) in treating children would be greatly appreciated.
There are definitely some herbs that children should not take, because of potential interference with hormonal systems and thus potential interference with growth and development in a negative way. It is always best to consult with a qualified doctor before administering something herbal.
However, regarding Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (WS)/Winter Cherry/also known as Indian Ginseng) it appears to have been used safely for children in India as an Ayurvedic herbal. There have also been a number of clinical trials involving administration of this herb in children. One such study involving children in the 8-12 year old age group demonstrated that WS may be useful as a growth promoter and hematinic (increases haemoglobin in the blood) in growing children.
Its main use in India in children is where there appears to be emaciation.Thus it may prove beneficial for children who do not appear to be thriving well.
Further info….Ayurvedic Herbs – A Clinical Guide ot the Healing Plants of Traditional Medicine by M.S. Premila PhD.
If your son is otherwise growing healthily I would be inclined to stick with homeopathy here or Bach flower remedies instead….safe for all age groups, including babies.
Rescue Remedy may prove beneficial as it is for stressful situations. It contains Star of Bethlehem essence for those who have experienced shock, grief or a fright. Rock Rose is for panic. It may thus be worth trying here
If you were really set on trying WS you might get more help in the India Section (under travel I think) regarding getting opinions from those who may have tried it in children…considering it is an Ayurvedic herb. But personally I think your son doesn't sound like he needs WS as its main use in children is more related to development…as studies suggest.
It is Withania Somnifera
Ashwagandha gets its name because its roots have the odor of horse. (Ashwa = horse , gandha = odor). It is called by another name Varaha karni because its leaves resemble pig's ear.
Ashwagandha has light (laghu) and sticky (snigdha) properties, bitter and sweet taste. On digestion the sweet taste dominates. The main part used is root of this herb.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi and Samm Al Ferakh, is a plant in Solanaceae or nightshade family.
It has been described in the sacred texts of Ayurveda, including the Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas where it is widely extolled as a tonic especially for emaciation in people of all ages including babies, enhancing the reproductive function of both men and women.
It has also been used for inflammations especially for arthritic and rheumatic conditions and as a major tonic to counteract the ravages of aging and promote youthful longevity. Some of its other traditional uses have been as a mild purgative for chronic constipation and for the treatment of swollen glands.
The root is taken in 30 gram dosage for general debility, consumption, mal -nourishment in children, senile debility, rheumatic and arthritic conditions, nervous exhaustion, fatigue, brain-gag, memory weakness, senile dementia, muscular weakness, spermatorrhea and leucorrhea. Normally this can be taken as a powder 10 grams three times daily mixed with warm milk or water, or as a one to 5 alcoholic extract, one or two tablespoonsful three times daily.
For impotence it can be used alone or combined with fried Cow-hage seeds. The method is to remove the inside of the seeds and mix this with ashwagandha and ginger.
For weak lungs, ashwagandha is combined with Sida cordifolia (Bala).
Milk, to stimulate production: combine with equal parts Dioscorea batatas (also available as Shan Yao, a Chinese herb) and licorice and make a decoction of 30 grams of the mixture. Take three times daily.
Sterility, Female: Boil a decoction of 30 grams in water down to half a cup, add mild and one tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) and a teaspoon of honey. Take three times daily for two weeks after menstruation.
Since it is widely used against sterility and impotence it is called ashwagandha.
I have taken it a few times and havent noticed any bad side effects. But could it be bad long term?
Should be no adverse interactions, as long as you stay at recommended dosages.