Ashwagandha, better known to the world as Withania somnifera, is a unique plant with multidimensional medicinal values. It is also familiar by the name of Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry. It is a member of the Solanaceae family. Keep reading to find out proven health benefits of Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha has remained to be the lifeline of many Ayurvedic practitioners over the years. Indians truly share a vintage connection with this plant.
Ashwagandha and Its Age-old acquaintance with “Ayurveda”
Ashwagandha is an aromatic herb. As the name suggests it has a horse-like smell. Mainly the roots and fruits of the plant parts are used for preparing medicines. It is a perennial herb. The herbs are not only widely available in India but also in the entire Middle East and in certain parts of Africa.
Ayurveda has recognised the utilities of this plant parts long time back and it has been used as a Rasayana. It has been specifically used as a neuro tonic. In Ayurveda, it is especially well known for its strengthening, nourishing and building nature.
Over 3000 years Ashwagandha has helped us to reduce our levels of psychological as well as physiological stress and has also contributed to the increase of concentration.
Scientific Composition of the Plant
It is classified as adaptogens. These are certain conducive chemical compounds. They assist us to keep both external and internal stress under control which is the outputs of multiple varieties of anxieties in our day to day routine. In Ayurveda, it has also been used for rejuvenation. Withanolides are the prime phytochemical constituent of this plant. These are basically triterpene lactones. Ayurveda is an age-old natural curing process.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
We have been reaping the benefits of Ashwagandha for our betterment over the years.
Recently western world too has started taking interest in this subject. This herbal treatment procedure is comparatively harmless and has lesser side effects.
Let’s grab a quick look at the various pharmaceutical aspects and usages of Ashwagandha.
1. Combat anxiety and stress
The plant plays a pivotal role in this field. It can be easily used as one of the primary components of any antidepressant. It helps to pacify the nerves and helps to fight back sleeping disorders. People nowadays are more inclined towards natural remedies. In this regard, Ashwagandha is in vogue with its relaxation properties.
The anti-stress property of the plants is also visualised in animals like rats. As per a test conducted on the rats, Ashwagandha has its impact even in the brains of the rats by blocking the stress-inducing pathways.
An article was published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry in the year 2000. The maximum percentage of people consuming Ashwagandha reported about the reduction in stress level in comparison to those who are under the dosage of placebo. The result of the experiment was pretty satisfactory.
Thus this is widely used for treating hypertension and other stress-related diseases such as:
2. Battle against Depression
Anxiety and depression are two very similar words these days. It can also be described as two sides of a coin. Thus this plant can also be used as an effective anti-depressant.
A 60 days long study has revealed stressed persons consuming every day 600 mg of concentrated Ashwagandha extract has reported a considerable reduction in the rate of acute depression.
Though there are certain doubts regarding this test.
3. Helps in Reducing the Levels of Cortisols
Cortisols are better known as stress hormones. It is released by the adrenals in response to stress and also with the fall of sugar levels. An increase in the cortisol level may lead to an increase in sugar level.
Studies have recognised Ashwagandha to be helpful in this regard. Consumption of the root extract of this plant improves stress resistance and cortisol level.
4. Lowers sugar level
With changing times modern people are now blessed with new diseases. Diabetes has turned out to be a household name. Probably one in every ten people is diabetic these days. Like other harmful diseases, sugar imparts great adversary effects on our important body organs. Several studies have revealed that Ashwagandha is also useful in reducing sugar levels in the blood.
Studies have revealed its capacity in controlling sugar both normal as well as diabetic patients.
As pert a study, Schizophrenic patients who were treated with Ashwagandha was reported with a marked reduction in their fasting sugar levels.
5. Works as Testosterone Booster
It also helps in dealing with infertility. Certain tests have confirmed the contribution of the plants in the improvement of testosterone levels. A group of 75 impotent men showed improvement in their sperm counts when treated with Ashwagandha. It improves sperm quality and boosts reproduction.
Other Advantages of Ashwagandha
• Ashwagandha is also used for treating a deadly disease like cancer. A study as conducted in 2014 suggests that it produces certain reactive oxygen species or ROS which are harmful for cancerous cells but has no effects on healthy cells.
• Consumption of this plant extract has marked an improvement in the performance, memory and attention. Various studies as conducted on animals have revealed its usefulness in dealing with brain functioning issues resulting due to diseases or injuries. It is also used to treat neural diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s.
• It has also the potential for treating rheumatism.
• Ashwagandha enhances the activeness of the immune cells of the body which helps to combat infections and stay fit.
• It also helps to treat attention-related hyperactive stress disorders in children or ADHD in short.
How to Use Ashwagandha
The way you are consuming Ashwagandha depends on the nature of the ailment that you are trying to treat. It can be used in powder form within a range of 450 mg to 2 grams. It is also being sold as capsules and liquid extract in supplement stores.
Daily consumption dosage of Ashwagandha ranged from 125 to 1250 mg. Dramatic improvements have been recorded when higher dosages are taken regularly. You can also have one or two spoons of the root as well as the leaf mixture boiled with water, milk or honey.
Every day you can have one or two capsules of Ashwagandha ranging 450 to 500 mg.
If you consume 300 mg of specific root extract on a daily basis continuously for 60 days, you can see the marked improvements in your stress symptoms.
People with bipolar disorders are also treated with a specific type of extract like Sensoril for eight weeks.
Last but not least it’s better to consult a doctor If you are willing to have this herb in your treatment schedule before you jumping into a conclusion.