How to Make an Ashwagandha Tincture (+ ashwagandha’s benefits for hormones, adrenals, mental health, & more!)
Reap the benefits of ashwagandha — an amazing adaptogenic herb that can improve mental health, hormone balance, adrenal fatigue, and more — by learning how to make an ashwagandha tincture! This easy herbal how-to saves money, too!
Recently, I’ve been dealing with some female hormone imbalances as well as HPA axis dysfunction (what used to be called adrenal fatigue).
Wanting to support my body and hormones naturally, I always reach for foods, supplements, and herbs that will provide the most support.
Ashwagandha is one such herb that I love and feel is absolutely essential for hormone balance — whether that’s a sexual/reproductive imbalance or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal imbalance or any other hormone imbalance.
Ash-a-what??? (What Is Ashwagandha?)
Ashwagandha, a.k.a. Indian ginseng, is a powerful Ayurvedic herb and adaptogen.
Adaptogens are plants, such as holy basil, maca, and ashwagandha, that support the body’s ability to handle physical and/or emotional stressors. They are traditionally called tonics — meaning that they have a general effect on the entire body but also specific effects on certain systems, such as nerve tonics, heart tonics, hormonal tonics, and digestive tonics.
Research is showing that ashwagandha has some promising potential for mental, physical, and emotional health.
Scientific studies reveal that ashwagandha is beneficial for numerous issues and functions, including:
- the ability to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the adrenal glands (source)
- useful in the prevention of stress-induced ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract (source)
- inhibiting tumor cell growth (source)
- slows, stops, reverses, or removes neuritic atrophy — meaning it can be used to treat neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s (source)
- an analgesic that can relieve arthritis pain (source)
- reported to support uterine health (source)
There is even more research from numerous sources, all singing praises about ashwagandha and its anti-stress, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties (source).
Ashwagandha’s Benefits In Plain English
- Improved thyroid function
- Treats HPA axis dysfunction (adrenal fatigue)
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Reduces fatigue and increase well-being
- Improves sleep
- Supports healthy memory and prevent nerve cell degeneration
- Reduces stress and inflammation related to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
- Reduces populations of oral bacteria known to cause periodontal disease
- Increases metabolism
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts immunity
- Improves mood
- Relieves depression and anxiety
Ashwagandha’s Specific Benefits for the Female Cycle & Hormones
In her book The Period Repair Manual, Dr. Lara Briden uses ashwagandha to help irregular periods, perimenopause, PMS, and thyroid disorders.
Of ashwagandha, she writes,
Ashwagandha (Withania somniferia) is a herbal medicine that has been used for thousands of years in the Ayurvedic medical tradition of India. It was traditionally given as an energy and reproductive tonic. It reduces anxiety and counters the long effects of stress such as blood sugar instability, insomnia, depression, and suppression of the hypothalamus. (The Period Repair Manual, pp. 193).
[Ashwagandha] is a herbal medicine that dials down the stress response. It stabilizes the HPA axis, and also has direct anti-anxiety and sleep-promoting effects (hence the Latin name somniferia or “sleep-inducing”) (The Period Repair Manual, pp. 267).
Ashwagandha stimulates the healthy production of thyroid hormone. It also reduces inflammation and stabilizes the HPA axis or stress response system (The Period Repair Manual, pp. 312).
Dr. Briden recommends using ashwagandha for a minimum of 3 months for it to have its full, beneficial effect on your cycle — in addition to supporting your cycle with magnesium, B vitamins, and other herbs or supplements, if needed.
Furthermore, if you are a woman and have any sort of hormone or cycle issues, I HIGHLY recommend reading The Period Repair Manual, which is a guide for natural treatment for better hormones and better periods!
So, ladies, can you see how ashwagandha can be a superhero for your hormones and cycle??
Why I’ve returned to ashwagandha time and time again for years…
I first discovered ashwagandha several years when dealing with some bad side effects after a round of antibiotics. I decided to try ashwagandha after experiencing anxiety, terrible brain fog, and insomnia for weeks.
Like many other issues that doctors will try to treat with pills, there is plant-based medicine that can help these issues. This is always the route I try first. (However, as of July 2019, I am using ashwagandha in conjunction with anti-anxiety medication. You can read more here.)
The first time I used ashwagandha, I could tell I a difference within 3 days. I was falling asleep faster, sleeping better, and my brain fog began to lift.
(I described my brain fog back then like my thought processes were a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter! LOL)
After that first experience, I was sold. Ashwagandha had truly made a difference in the quality of my health, sleep, mental health, and life!
And now, having gone through some physical issues that caused a mental health break and some hormone imbalances that are affecting my cycle as a result of that break, I’ve turned to ashwagandha again.
It’s important that I support my body if I’m putting pharmaceuticals into it.
I’ve always seen the pharmaceuticals as temporary. So, when I’m ready to come off of them, I believe it will be easier if I’ve done some hormone and adrenal healing in the meantime.
What Form of Ashwagandha Should You Take?
You can find ashwagandha in three forms:
- dried, cut root
- powdered root in capsule form (<– Save 10% with my discount code ALLTHETHINGS)
If you choose to add ashwagandha to your life, you should decide which form is best for you. It’s helpful to have a naturopath or functional practitioner to work with who will support your use of this adaptogen.
After a few months of spending $10 to $14 per ounce on ashwagandha tinctures, I decided to get crazy and make my own. 😉
I personally believe the tincture is the most effective — both for bioavailability and cost, especially if you make your own.
So, now that you know the many benefits of ashwagandha, here’s how to make an ashwagandha tincture!
How To Make An Ashwagandha Tincture
Here’s what you need:
- 1 part dried, cut ashwagandha root (cut root, not powdered — Get it here.)
- 4 parts 80 to 100 proof, non-GMO vodka or rum
Here’s how to do it:
Place one part dried ashwagandha root into a glass jar. Pour four parts vodka or rum over it.
I used 1/2 cup ashwagandha root to two cups vodka. I used the same measuring cup to measure out both so they would be true equal parts.
Cover the jar and place it in a dark location. Shake it every day for at least two weeks.
I put mine in the cupboard with my Mason jars — because I use Mason jars every, single day, and I knew I’d see the tincture and remember to shake it.
The minimum amount of time that the ashwagandha should steep in the alcohol is two weeks, but it can go up to four months.
The longer it steeps, the more potent the tincture. And remember to shake it each day.
The tincture in the above photo is about 8 weeks old.
When you’ve decided your tincture is “done”, carefully transfer it into cobalt glass bottles with droppers for easy dispensing.
How to Take Your Ashwagandha Tincture
If taking a straight-alcohol tincture doesn’t bother you, then you can take it straight from bottle. Simple squeeze the dropper until it fills with tincture, then squeeze out into your mouth.
You can also place the drops under your tongue and hold for a few seconds before swallowing.
The taste of the alcohol is very strong, however, so if that bothers you or you need to avoid alcohol completely…
Simply add a dropper-full to 4 ounces of water, let sit for a few hours so the alcohol evaporates, then drink — up to 3 times daily or as directed by your practitioner.
- Ashwagandha Benefits Thyroid & Adrenals
- Studies Prove Ashwagandha Can Treat More Than 50 Conditions
- How To Take Ashwagandha For Sleep
Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. You should consult your medical doctor or alternative practitioner when making any health-related decisions or any matter related to your well-being. I am just a research-loving momma, not a medical professional. The information and opinions presented here are believed to be accurate. You are responsible for your health choices.
Do you make your own herbal tinctures? What sort of tinctures do you make?
Originally published January 5, 2016. Republished with updated images and research on August 2, 2019.