Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Plant

Ashwagandha Plant

Ashwagandha Benefits

In India, Ashwagandha is considered a powerful adaptogen. This means that is has a beneficial normalizing effect on the entire body.

Ashwagandha is often used as a rejuvenator. It can also be used as a sedative, anti inflammatory, diuretic and to increase physical energy and endurance. It’s beneficial for colds and coughs, diabetes, ulcers, insomnia and Parkinson’s disease. It also protects the nervous system in a beneficial way.

Ashwaganda is rich in antioxidants, such as catalase, glutathione and superoxide dismutase. These are all powerful free radical fighters and help protect against oxidation of the cells. These antioxidants may explain the wide use of this herb for anti-aging.

In India, Ashwaganda is often prescribed to elderly patients for the treatment of cerebral disorders, such as memory loss. Some research suggests that this herb can increase acetylcholine receptor activity, partially explaining it’s benefit to the brain. It has been used historically for increasing cognitive ability also.

Researchers at the University of Texas found that extracts of Ashwaganda had similar effects on the brain as the nutrient GABA. This may be why it is good for reducing anxiety.

Taking Ashwagandha can calm the mind, promoting better more restful sleep. It does this by calming the nerves and improving a person’s ability to handle physical and emotional stress.

Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory action and is often taken to treat rheumatoid arthritis. There is a naturally occurring steroid in the herb that is similar to hydrocortisone. It’s pain relieving action is as effective as aspirin.

Ashwagandha is popular with athletes too. It can promote better oxygen flow to the cells in the muscles, helping to increase strength and endurance during exercise. This would enable the athlete to gain more lean muscle than normally possible. It can also reduce the effect of stress hormones and reduce lactic acid build-up.

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Ashwagandha Uses

  • Treat diabetes
  • Treat ulcers
  • Treat insomnia
  • Treat senile dementia
  • treat Parkinson’s disease
  • Treat nervous disorders
  • Treat rheumatism and arthritis
  • Treat intestinal infections
  • Treat breathing disorders, like bronchitis and asthma
  • Treat cancer
  • Reduce the severity of colds and coughs
  • Increase sexual enhancement
  • Enhance health as an adaptogen
  • Treat anxiety
  • Treat tumors
  • Treat skin conditions
  • Treat fibromyalgia
  • Treat menstrual difficulty
  • Treat liver disease
  • Treat persistent hiccups
  • Decrease pain and inflammation
  • Prevent the effects of aging
  • Enhance fertility in men and women
  • Treat wounds and backaches
  • Increase thinking ability



Scientific Name

Withania somnifera

Common Names

Winter cherry

Where It Grows

This plant grows in India, Africa and the Middle East

Which Part Of The Plant Is Used

The root

Ashwagandha Roots

Dried Ashwagandha Roots

How It Works

Ashwagandha contains many beneficial chemicals, such as alkaloids, choline, withanolides, amino acids and different types of natural sugar.

How It’s Used

Ashwagandha is dried and powered. This powder can be mixed into a hot beverage such as warmed milk or tea. It can also be put into capsules.

Precautions and Side Effects:

Ashwagandha should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing without consulting a doctor. It may cause slight drowsiness and a heavy feeling in the abdomen in taken in large doses.

Description and History Of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an evergreen woody shrub that grows up to six feet high. It has a grey stem and oval leaves with yellow/green flowers and berries that are red in color. Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen used mainly for stress and as a calming tonic. Since it’s an adaptogen, it also has a general tonic effect on the whole body.

Ashwagandha has been used successfully in India for over 3,000 years and is a respected herb in the system of Indian medicine called Ayurveda. Ashwagandha thrives in warm, sunny, dry sandy soil and can’t stand too much water.

Editor’s Comments

I have taken Ashwagandha for it’s effects as a high quality adaptogen. This is like the Indian version of ginseng. It does a lot and helps the body to adapt to stress very well.

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References


Stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb
Sloan-Kettering Ashwagandha Report
Natural Health Research Institute – Study of Ashwagandha

 

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