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Ecklonia Cava, Lumbrokinase, and Ashwagandha in Lyme disease by Marty Ross MD image.

About Ashwagandha 

Ashwagandha is an herbal medicine adaptogen, a substance which improves the ability to withstand stress, that may

  • improve energy and stamina,
  • stimulate white blood cells to fight infection,
  • balance adrenal and thyroid gland function,
  • decrease inflammation, and
  • decrease anxiety.

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herbal medicine adaptogen, a substance which improves the ability to withstand stress. Ashwagandha is an essential medicinal herb that I used with great benefit in most of my Lyme disease treatments in my Seattle practice. There is not a comparable prescription medicine. In my experience, ashwgandha successfully reverses the harmful effects of physical and emotional stress created by Lyme and associated diseases.

The stress of being ill with Lyme can alter the healthy functioning of our stress hormone systems regulated by the adrenal glands. When they are functioning properly the adrenal glands release hormones and other chemicals in correct amounts. These include hydrocortisone, adrenaline, and mineral regulating hormones.

Under acute stress, like saving a person from a fire, hydrocortisone mobilizes sugar to provide energy and adrenaline causes a person to think clearer, energizes, makes the heart pump more quickly and harder, and helps our muscles to spring into action. But under chronic stress, adrenal function becomes dysregulated and out of balance. This leads to low energy and stamina, immune suppression, low thyroid gland function, anxiety at times, and increased inflammation. Based on research and my own experience, Ashwagandha reverses these effects of adrenal dysregulation or what some call adrenal fatigue.

Method of Action

The exact mechanisms of how Ashwagandha works are not known. There are however numerous animal studies that support its benefits (1). Among the findings of these studies ashwagandha:

  • normalizes levels of hydrocortisone,
  • causes the size of the adrenal glands to return to normal,
  • increases thyroid hormone levels,
  • decreases inflammatory cytokines,
  • decreases oxidizing agents that can trigger inflammation,
  • decreases brain chemicals associated with anxiety,
  • markedly improves stamina and energy, and
  • turns on and improves white blood cell function to fight infections.


Ashwagandha 400 mg 2 pills in the morning and 2 pills between 1-2 pm. If insomnia worsens, decrease the afternoon dose to 1 pill.


Some of my colleagues recommend Siberian ginseng, licorice, rhodiola, or extracts of animal adrenal glands to treat adrenal dysregulation. However, I do not like these alternatives because they are too energetically hot or stimulating. Ashwagandha on the other hand is energetically neutral and does not seem to over stimulate a person who has chronic Lyme disease.


This is a safe herbal medicine without any know adverse interactions with other herbal medicines or prescription medicines.It should not be used during pregnancy.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.


View Citations

  1. Mishra L, Singh B, Dagenais S. Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review. Altern Med Rev 2000;5(4) 334-346. (View)
  2. Liao LY, He YF, Li L, et al. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med. 2018;13:57. Published 2018 Nov 16. doi:10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9 (View)
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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The Institute for Functional Medicine, and The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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