Ancient Miracle Herb: Ashwagandha
Do you suffer from stress, memory fog, fatigue, or an inability to lose weight? Chronic stress takes a ghastly toll on our bodies as well as our minds. Many degenerative diseases, as well as premature aging, are associated with chronic nervous tension.Discover what Ayurveda has known for hundreds of years and what scientists have confirmed.
Ashwagandha – a powerful adaptogen herb that enhances the body’s resilience to stress, enhances the function of the brain and nervous system, and improves memory.
For more than 5000 years of Indian Ayurveda (traditional medicine) Ashwagandha has been used as a Rasayana.
Rasayana is described as an herbal or metallic preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical andmental health and expands happiness (Changhadi, 1938).
This herb is known as a rejuvenator tonic. Modern scientific studies have been carried out and proven Ashwagandha’s anti-stress activities among other strong benefits.Ashwagandha is used as a household remedy by Ayurvedic Indians, who consider it as the best tonic for old people and children, and as an aphrodisiac by young people.
Parts of Ashwagandha Herb
Luckily the only negative part of this plant is its smell. Because the root smells like horse (“ashwa”), it is called Ashwagandha. Literally the name means: on consuming it gives the power of a horse. Yum.
The root of Ashwagandha is regarded as tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic and stimulant. Ashwagandha root is commonly found as a fine sieved powder which can be mixed with water.
The leaves are bitter and are recommended in fever and painful swellings.
The flowers are astringent, depurative, diuretic and aphrodisiac.
The seeds are anthelmintic and combined with astringent and rock salt supposedly remove white spots from the cornea.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Body Weight – Weight-gain or the inability to lose weight is often accompanied by high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) within the body. Ashwagandha can help reduce cortisol levels, therefore encouraging weight-loss. It has also been effective in lowering fasting blood sugar levels and improving lipid profiles.
Mood– Investigations support the use of Ashwagandha as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions ofanxiety and depression. Its effects are comparable to those of powerful pharmaceutical drugs.
Stress Induced Diseases – Lowers stress markers, therefore lowering likelihood of arteriosclerosis,premature aging, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension and malignancy.
Exercise – It significantly reduces the cortisol content of adrenals during exercise, therefore increasing endurance and time to fatigue.
Mind and Memory – Ashwagandha belongs to a sub-group of Rasayanas known as MedhyaRasayanas.MedhyaRasayanas promote intellect and memory.It has a Cognition Promoting Effect and is useful in children with memory deficit and in old age loss of memory(Singh, 1993).
Neurodegenerative Diseases– There are dozens of studies that show that Ashwagandha slows, stops, reverses or removes neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss. Therefore it has become a common treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases (Kuboyama, 2005).
Nerve Damage – MimickingGABA,Ashwagandha promotes formation of dendrites (the “fingers” at the end of nerves that communicate with other nerves).Its constituents and the metabolites of its constituentspromote the growth of nerves after taking it for 7 days.
Energy– Known as “Indian Ginseng,”used as a general tonic, it promotes energy and improves health and longevity. It has anxiolytic effect and improves energy levels and mitochondrial health.
Reproductive Health – It improves the function of the reproductive system promoting a healthy sexual and reproductive balance. It also acts as a stimulant and increases the sperm count.
Immunity – Ashwagandha improves the body’s defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It is also regarded as a promising anti-bacterial agent.
Anti-Aging – Possessing potent antioxidant properties it helps protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Anti-Inflammatory – Can be taken orally to fight internal inflammation or made into apaste of crushed roots mixed with water and applied to effectivelyreduce joint inflammation or other swelling.
Anti-Arthritic – Ashwagandha is used as ananalgesic that soothes nervous system from pain response giving it powerful anti-arthritic properties. It has been found useful in clinical cases of Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis.
As a population we all suffer from stress, and therefore could all benefit from taking Ashwagandha. Plus, with so many other awesome benefits, why not?