Ashwagandha is an adaptogen working on the endocrine system and the HPA. The Sanskrit implies it gives the user the strength and stamina of a horse- some doctors saying that taking it in the morning will allow you to run 20 miles while taking it at night will allow you to sleep like a baby. I am sure that is an exaggeration (at least in my case), but you get the idea. It is most well known to decrease fatigue, allow you to handle stress more effectively, increase strength and stamina, increase libido, improve memory and clarity, and produce restful sleep when needed. The various conditions it has been used for include arthritis (it is anti-inflammatory), chronic lung conditions and immune deficiency, hypertension, auto-immune problems, hypo-thyroidism, and many others. Animal studies have shown it may be useful in treating drug-induced dyskinesia. In one animal study, ashwagandha increased brain levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase. This could easily be the mechanism of how it improves cognition, memory and perhaps longevity. Other studies have shown it increases acetylcholine receptor activity, stimulates the growth of axons and dendrites and has GABA-like activity. In most cases we prefer it to GABA because it is a whole food and has many complementary properties.