Asoka, Sorrowless Tree
Leaves, Flowers, Bark
The Ashoka tree is a medium sized evergreen that is still found growing wild in the Himalayas and across the Indian sub-continent. It is classed as one of the divine herbs – divya aushadhis – in Ayurveda, and is revered for its spiritual properties as well as its many benefits to the physical health of the body.
The literal meaning of Ashoka is “no grief”, and it is the spiritual energy of this tree that is said to have the effect of removing grief from the heart. It is traditionally used in Ayurveda as a powerful women’s herb, in particular as a uterine tonic to treat conditions including endometriosis and menstrual disorders.
Female Reproductive Health
As an effective uterine tonic, Ashoka is hard to beat. It tones the uterus, easing heavy menstrual flow and relieving discomfort. The bark of the Ashoka tree is rich in flavonoids, tannins and glycosides that work as a uterine sedative that has a direct impact on the fibres present in the muscles of the uterus.
The bark also contains natural phytoestrogens which help to regulate the menstrual cycle, stimulating the uterus to normalise menstrual flow.
Ashoka can be effectively used to aid with a number of uncomfortable menstrual disorders such as; Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Amenorrhea (absent periods), Dysmenorrhea (painful periods) and Menorrhagia (heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding).
Recent studies have confirmed the presence of quercetin, beta-sitosterol and luteolin, phytoestrogens that support healthy hormonal function during the transition into the menopause. One particular study found that the bark exerts a balancing effect on artificially elevated oestrogen levels, exhibiting adaptogenic qualities that are referred to in Ayurveda as “herbal intelligence”. Furthermore, it can support the healthy production of oestrogen and progesterone only when it is needed.
The hormonal balance that is promoted by this herb makes it effective against many menopause symptoms including; hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems, mood swings and weight gain.
Ashoka is considered particularly effective for female infertility and endometriosis. One study, published in "Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice", identified Ashoka as one of the herbal remedies used by traditional healers in remote areas of India to successfully treat “reproductive disorders”.
An article published in the "Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research", explored some of the infertility treatments popular amongst Indian women. It said, “The drug of choice for female infertility is Ashoka, by its astringent taste and cold potency, it strengthens the uterus. It stops the bleeding by contracting the uterine blood vessels and promoting uterine muscular contraction. It stimulates the uterine function by stimulating the (endometrium) and the ovarian functions”.
It is important to note that diet and lifestyle were also addressed during treatment. The success of Ashoka in the treatment of infertility in women may be linked to the herb’s ability to successfully treat endometrios - one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
Whilst Ashoka really does shine as a herb to support women throughout each stage of their reproductive lives, other benefits include:
Anti-inflammatory – especially effective for the heart, Ashoka has been shown to protect cardiac tissues from infiltration by inflammatory cells.
Sleep Aid - The bark and seeds of Ashoka help to relax an overactive central nervous system, helping to reduce the time it takes to drop off to sleep. The quality and duration of sleep can be improved due to the presence of certain flavonoids, glycosides and tannins.
Skin Health - The root, bark and seeds of Ashoka are useful in the treatment of skin conditions including; eczema, acne, dermatitis, herpes scabies and psoriasis. It is also widely used to rejuvenate the complexion, reduce freckles and calm down inflammation.
Organic Ashoka Tincture
Add to water or fruit juice.
Traditionally Taken: Take 2-3 ml 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
In India, the Ashoka tree occupies a privileged place in many Indian folk and socio-cultural traditions. Natives in India wear root species of Ashoka as herbal rosary for mental tranquillity. Women in tribes of Chhattisgarh, India consume decoction of Ashoka's bark in cow's milk.
In Buddhist tradition, it is said that Queen Māyā of Sakya gave birth to Gautama Buddha under an Ashoka tree in a garden in Lumbini, in south Nepal, while grasping its branch.
The legendary Indian text, Ramayana, has a mention of Ashoka tree. The classical Ayurvedic text "Charak Samhita" describes the effectiveness of Ashoka as an analgesic and astringent, as well for skin diseases including leprosy.
The chemical constituents reported from Ashoka belong to different classes such as tannins, flavonoids, phytosterols, alkanes, esters, anthocyanin pigments, fatty acids and carbohydrates.
Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
If you are taking prescription medication, please consult your healthcare professional before using Ashoka.