What is Ashwagandha ? What are benefits of Ashwaganda – Withania Somnifera (lat)
Both ginseng for the Chinese tradition and the long brown roots of the ashwagandha plant (Latin Withania somnifera ) have played a vital role in Indian folk medicine for thousands of years. The shrub grows mainly in India and Nepal, its flowers are small and green, the ripe fruits are red-orange, which makes it similar to the physalis we know ( Physalis ).
Ashwagandha as a natural sedative
Ashwagandha, popularly referred to as the “winter cherry”, is known for its anti-stress properties and is rich in adaptogens. Unlike stimulant ginseng, this herb has hypnotic and soothing properties. It is one of the few sedative adaptogens used for anxiety disorders, insomnia, and mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. Ashwagandha is also suitable for improving the functioning of the nervous system. Translated from the Latin language, ashwagandha means “bringing sleep.” Moreover, the name “ashwagandha” comes from Sanskrit. Word combinations: “ashva” means “horse” and “gandha” means “smell”. The root of the plant has an intense aroma that is described as a horse scent.
What is an adaptogen?
Adaptogens are tonic substances, mainly of natural origin. Scientists have not yet fully studied the principle of their work, but their effectiveness is known for sure, especially in balancing the hormonal system. Adaptogenic plants restore the balance of the body, regardless of whether there is, for example, a decreased or increased thyroid function.
Adaptogens help protect the body from the harmful effects of the environment, increase the efficiency of organs and warn the body against imbalance. They also improve metabolism and allow the body to work economically, which contributes to high resistance to disease.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha will be helpful for the following problems :
- anxiety, sleep disturbance (insomnia), stress
• arthritis, back pain, polymyalgia rheumatica
• thyroid disorders
• colds, tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis
• menstrual pain
In addition, ashwagandha is believed to :
• stabilize blood sugar
• lower cholesterol levels
• increase resistance
• improve concentration
• inhibit aging
• enhance sex drive and improve reproductive function
• stimulate the functioning of depleted adrenal glands
Ashwagandha as an adjuvant in inflammatory processes
Ashwagandha root has anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful for fibromyalgia (a disease that is expressed primarily by muscle pain, as a result of which, when feeling, you can observe sensitive bumps), restless legs syndrome, mild form of Tourette’s syndrome (unwanted sounds, expressions or words) and osteoarthritis. In addition, the plant helps with autoimmune diseases that affect muscles and joints. For example:
- rheumatoid arthritis (chronic joint inflammation),
- ankylosing spondylitis (a chronic disease of the spinal cord),
- polymyositis (inflammation of muscle tissue) and
- polymyalgia rheumatica (characteristic of the muscles of the neck, shoulder, thigh, and hip joint, and stiffness in the morning).
- The plant is especially effective in case of joint problems, if flour products and sugar are excluded from the diet, as the main cause of inflammation.
Ashwagandha improves reproductive functions in men (increases sperm count and sperm cell motility). Also, it enhances sexual desire and, thanks to the gland contained in it, helps with anemia. Ashwagandha stimulates the function of the thyroid gland . Studies in mice have shown a marked increase in the hormones T3 (18%) and T4 (111%) after a 20-day course of the drug (Panda, 1998).
The positive thing about plant adaptogens is that their rational use does not cause signs of intoxication. However, consult with an experienced consultant or doctor regarding dosage prior to taking the drug. Ashwagandha powder can be added to porridge, smoothies, tea. And for insomnia, you can dilute a full teaspoon of the supplement with warm milk.
The recommended dosage of ashwagandha is 2-4 (1-2 g) capsules per day along with water as recommended by a doctor or therapist. The dosage and effect of the plant depends on the age, weight, state of health and medications taken by the person.
Ashwagandha slows down the action of the central nervous system. Therefore, it is recommended to stop taking the supplement 2 weeks before the planned surgery and anesthesia. While taking ashwagandha, the effects of medications may be stronger than expected. Also, the plant increases the effect of sedatives and hypnotics. Therefore, they cannot be used together. In addition, the supplement is not recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Ashwagandha, withania somnifera (lat), Indian ginseng, winter cherry (eng), ashwagandha, ajagandha (ind)
the main adaptogen, rasayana in Ayurveda, as well as a male tonic, a powerful antioxidant, rejuvenates the body, prevents premature aging, relieves stress, recovers from illness and exhaustion, normalizes energy metabolism and vital functions in the body, improves blood circulation, memory, brain function, cardiovascular system, cleanses blood, removes toxins, promotes bone fusion, strong aphrodisiac
Ashwagandha is a small shrub, 35 to 175 cm long . It has yellowish green flowers and red fruits. Its long brown roots are used medicinally. It grows in many dry regions of India, such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Utar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharastra. Also cultivated in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The word ” Ashwagandha” comes from Sanskrit and means “horse smell” (Aswa – horse gandha – the smell), probably because of the smell coming from her roots, reminiscent of the smell of horse sweat. The plant has also been compared to a horse for its stamina and vitality.
This plant, amazing in its properties, occupies one of the most important places in the Ayurvedic system and in medicine in the countries of Southeast Asia. It is included in the “golden row” of Ayurveda . In terms of its importance in Ayurveda, it can be compared with ginseng in Chinese medicine. Ashwagandha is an affordable and inexpensive herb. Various preparations are made from its roots – powders, tablets, infusions, oils. The root of the plant is mainly used, but the beneficial properties of the leaves are also used.
Ashwagandha is a natural tonic, rasayana. It is famous for its anti-aging, body-toning properties, it is the root of life extension. Ashwagandha is called “Indian ginseng”.
On the one hand, it stimulates, on the other, it calms the nervous system. With the help of this plant, a number of diseases are treated.
Ashwagandha possesses a whole complex of substances valuable to the body: amino acids, micro- and macroelements, peptides, lepids, vitanloids (vitanin, somniferin, somnin, somniferinin, vitananin, vitaferin-A), lingins, phytosteroids and other substances. Vitanloids are special nitrogenous compounds that, together with other components, give the plant a high biological activity.
It is thanks to the set of active components that ashwagandha has such a broad effect on the body, on all its organs and levels – the brain, thyroid gland, heart and respiratory system; digestive organs, liver, spleen; adrenal glands, reproductive system and rectum.
According to Ayurveda, ashwagandha normalizes all doshas, but especially controls and removes excess vata and kapha doshas.
Ashwagandha has antioxidant, tonic, anti-aging, antiseptic, blood-purifying, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, wound-healing, anabolic properties.
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The healing properties of ashwagandha are used in the following cases:
- to restore energy balance in the body
- as a biotropic agent: activates the body’s defenses, mobilizes and strengthens the immune system, helps with mental and physical exhaustion and fatigue, sexual and cardiac weakness, treats chronic fatigue, nervous exhaustion, anxiety, neuroses
It is good to use it after a change in climate, during the off-season, with a sharp change in weather, undergone severe operations, injuries, surgery, stress, physical overload.
- as a natural tonic, it is also recommended for healthy people, those who work with a computer, on a daily basis, athletes
Gives strength, normalizes the nervous system, sleep, improves performance. You can also take it to retirees if they do not have pathologies, but in this case it is better to consult a doctor.
- as a means that has a neotropic effect: improves the activity of memory and nerve cells in the brain
- with atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, slows down the aging process, activates energy metabolism in the body
- with muscle weakness, arthritis in the knees, rheumatism, promotes bone fusion
- after exposure to other drugs, after chemical therapy in the treatment of cancer, to restore the body
- prevents the formation of tumors in the body
- for the prevention of peptic ulcer and liver dysfunctions in the complex treatment of the body
- as a powerful aphrodisiac,famous throughout India
Mentioned in the Kamasutra . Ashwagandza increases libido in men and women, treats impotence, increases potency, prevents premature ejection of semen, eliminates excessive excitement, and regulates libido.
The phytosterols contained in the plant are chemically similar to the structure of the male sex hormone testosterone. Therefore, they stimulate the secretion of the excretion of the prostate and seminal glands, which is necessary for a normal state, increased activity and vitality of sperm., Normalizes sperm PH. Even in ancient times, ashwagandha was used to treat male infertility and prostatitis. Phytosterols inhibit the development of prostate adenoma in older men. Phytosterols also have an anabolic effect, activating protein synthesis and promoting the formation and development of skeletal muscles, changing the ratio between muscle and adipose tissue towards the former.
In women, ashwagandha normalizes the metabolism of estrogens, prevents the development of fibroids and mastopathy, regulates menstruation, and eliminates the associated painful sensations.
- to restore disturbed water balance in the body
- for the treatment of ulcers and carbuncles, inflamed glands
- as a means that has a positive effect on the respiratory processes, the cardiovascular system
- to normalize human hormonal activity
- to normalize blood pressure
- to strengthen the body and increase its flexibility, is highly valued by yogis
- when feeding, makes milk thicker in nursing mothers
- for healing wounds, ulcers, cuts
- to increase white blood cells, produces substances that fight infections and allegria
- to normalize metabolism and the functioning of the digestive organs, reduces the need for sweet, flour, alcohol, smoking, breaks down fat
- as an anabolic
Phytosterones activate protein synthesis and promote the formation and development of skeletal muscles, change the ratio between muscle and adipose tissue towards the former.
- improves blood circulation, treats peripheral circulatory disorders
- to lower blood cholesterol levels, removes toxins from the body
- as a diuretic
The activity of this plant increases during the period associated with the full moon – three days before and seven days after.
Memo on using ashwagandha
- from stress
- for physical endurance
- from rheumatism
- mental illness
- improving overall health
- good brain work
- muscle pain
- for muscle mass
- to strengthen immunity
- for the elderly
- for athletes
- for smokers
- for those who drink a lot
- to increase testosterone levels
- from impotence
- as a vitamin supplement
- for impaired health
- after a serious illness or surgery
The unique qualities of ashwagandha as a remedy for the treatment of so many diseases have been used in India for more than two million years , and since the mid-twentieth century they have been studied in the USA and Europe, where they are now successfully used. Ashwagandha also became interested in Japan. Recently, seven applications for patents for ashwagandha formulations from the United States and four from Japan are pending.
The advantages of ashwagandha are that it is inexpensive and readily available, does not have any side effects, the effect is felt very quickly and lasts a long time. It brings abnormalities in the body back to normal, no matter in which direction they happened . It is usually taken in powder or capsule form. The energy balance is restored after two weeks.
Although Ashwagandhau is often referred to as a “male herb” and “male tonic” because it is very popular for treating impotence and increasing male potency, it can just as well be used by women to solve female problems, as well as problems of the whole body. In Ayurveda, the traditionally “female tonic” is shatavari.
Ashwagandha is widely used in cosmetology in face and hand care products – creams, tonics, lotions, masks, anti-aging cosmetics, regenerating creams and masks, hair care products. The use of the plant in many anti-aging formulas in Ayurveda is primarily due to its antioxidant, anti-aging effects on skin and hair.
Ashwagandha is used in cosmetology due to:
- antioxidant, tonic and regenerating properties
It has a powerful antioxidant effect. Protects the skin from environmental influences and stress, slows down the aging process, nourishes the necessary microelements. It rejuvenates the skin, removes “cellular” debris, and increases the reproductive period of cells.
An ideal skin toner, rejuvenates it, tidies up old, faded or stressed skin, infuses it with strength, improves blood circulation, improves complexion. The skin begins to look young, fresh and toned like china.
Good for all skin types, both oily and dry.
Ideal for anti-aging cosmetics, for aging, fading, flabby skin.
- astringent and wound healing properties
Heals cuts, ulcers, wounds, burns.
- anti-edema properties
Restores water exchange in the body, eliminates puffiness.
- antiseptic and antibacterial properties
Kills bacteria and germs, prevents skin diseases.
When applied to hair, it tones the scalp, promotes hair growth, prevents hair loss, makes it strong and elastic, adds shine, restores fine, depleted hair that has been chemically dyed, exposed to sunlight or weakened after an illness.
Often included in restorative hair masks and hair growth masks.
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