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Drinking Ashwaganda Milk Boosts Immunity

In Ayurveda, “Traditionally, one method of administering Ashwagandha and milk was to boil them together.” According to (Heather) Zwickey, investigations into herbal remedies rarely take into account how the herb has been administered throughout the tradition of the medicine’s life cycle, such as mixing it with water, tea, or oil. While many consumers today may consume the herb with water or no liquid at all, researchers know that Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has typically been taken with an anupana substance. It is believed to aid in the digestion and effectiveness of the plant.

To determine if an anupana substance would help enhance Ashwagandha's immune properties, the (NCNM) research team used milk in a co-administered intervention along with the herb extract. Zwickey said that cows’ milk was chosen over other potential substances for the immunological study because Ayurvedic medicine considers it to be a strengthening, nutritive driver for medicines.


They measured the effect of the concoction on the activation of lymphocytes. There are four types of lymphocytes considered: NK (natural killer) cells, B-cells (which make antibodies), CD4+ T cells (Helper T cells) and CD8+ T cells (killer T's). The found that overall white blood cells (lymphocytes) were more activated, but the most pronounced effect was on the CD56+ Natural Killer cells. NK cells are key players that can make the difference in a person's survival of cancer, among other things. Besides the strong effect on NK cells, they found a statistically significant increase in the number of CD4+ T helper cells. Other findings were not statistically significant.

Here's the NCNM writeup on the study. It's not published anywhere yet, but I think it will be.

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