Ashwagandha’s All the Rage These Days. Should You Be Taking It?

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By Tanner Garrity At the height of World War II, the USSR became obsessed with a berry. Soviet scientists were intrigued by “the stimulating and tonic effects of Schisandra chinensis,” more commonly known as the five-flavor berry, a vine plant endemic to the Russian Far East. The Nanai people — a group of hunter-gatherers some 10,000 strong — had sourced and consumed the berry for thousands of years. And half a century earlier, Russian topographers had cataloged their findings in Eurasia’s largely undeveloped basins, raving about the habitual use of medicinal plants. The Nanai hunters, they re…

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