Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal plant with the botanial name ‘Withania somnifera’, known commonly as Ashwagandha, Indian Ginseng, Amukkara, or Winter Cherry. It is an annual evergreen shrub in the Solanaceae or nightshade family that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Ashwagandha is a safe and effective medicinal plant that belongs to the class adaptogen and has long been used as a diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, stimulant, aphrodisiac, and thermogenic compound, which can serve as a perfect antidote for several medical issues. It is a potent immunity booster, nervous system soother, and enhancer of longevity and vitality.
Historically, the roots of Ashwagandha have been used to treat arthritis, constipation, insomnia, skin conditions, stress, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, nervous breakdowns, fevers, snake bites, memory loss and various other conditions. The leaves, seeds and even fruits have been used to treat various conditions.
Helps with Stress and Anxiety
One of Ashwagandha’s best healing properties is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, it is classified as an adaptogen, which is a substance that helps the body deal with stress. This medicinal plant maintains a balance of excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain and reduces the cortisol level. Most women experience considerable relief from the nagging symptoms of chronic stress, including anxiety, extreme fatigue, and insomnia. Several studies highlight this advantage, observing ashwagandha’s ability to decrease participants’ stress and anxiety levels significantly. One particular study indicated that ashwagandha can benefit sleep quality as well, researchers confirmed participants slept much better with doses of the herb compared to placebo doses.
Enhance Brain Power
Ashwagandha has a positive influence on the brain helping to reduce symptoms of mental conditions such as depression and anxiety, by supporting the central nervous system in calming the mind. The plant extract allows the brain to use an increased oxygen level and stimulates cognitive, concentration, reaction time, and improved memory skills. It also has an antioxidant function, which negates the harmful effect of free radicals on brain cells.
Whenever an individual undergoes chronic stress, the immune system starts reacting adversely. The body tends to breakdown and becomes prone to infections, as there is a deficiency of vitamin C or echinacea. In this situation, regular intake of Ashwagandha helps to reduces the stress level and boosts immunity at the same time.
Certain studies have found that Withaferin, which is a compound in ashwagandha, helps induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells. It also prevents the growth of new cancer cells in several ways. Withaferin is believed to promote the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cancer cells, thereby disrupting their function. Studies also suggest that it may help treat various types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancer. In one such study, rats with ovarian tumours treated with withaferin alone or in combination with an anti-cancer drug showed a significant reduction in tumour growth. The treatment is also believed to prevent the spread of cancer to other organs.
Regularize Menstrual Cycles, Hormonal Imbalances and Sexual Function
Ashwagandha is medicinal plant that deals with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), period cramps, sleep, body weight, skin and hair. Many women complain of irregular periods/ late periods, fertility issues, period cramps, the appearance of facial hair, and physical challenges during the onset of menopause. Studies reveal that increased stress is the prime culprit behind these female reproductive issues, stress plays havoc in the production and regulation of the sensitive reproductive hormones. This, in turn, adversely affects fertility, menstrual, health, and pregnancy related complications.
Regular intake of Ashwagandha rectifies hormonal imbalance, strengthens the adrenal gland’s functions, and stimulates blood flow. The stress combatting superpowers of Ashwagandha also improve fertility and regularise the menstrual cycles in women. At least one clinical study indicates ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction, the use of ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction, as self reported by the participants.
Additionally, it is a known fact that for men Ashwagandha improves male fertility and increases testosterone levels, it significantly increases sperm concentration, semen volume and sperm motility in men with low sperm count.
Ashwagandha for skin
Ashwagandha has proven skin protective properties, it helps in reducing skin infections and the appearance of acne. Ashwagandha root has both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which protect the skin from infections or acne. It also boosts the collagen in the skin which prevents it from ageing.
Increase Muscle Mass and Strength
Ashwagandha may have beneficial effects on athletic performance it helps in maintaining muscle physical performance, including strength and oxygen use during exercise based on studies done on athletes.
In sum, Ashwagandha is a safe and non toxic stable adaptogen, which you can intake daily for harmonizing the mind and body.
Healthline.com/nutrition/ashwagandha., Forbes.com/health/body/ashwagandha-benefits., Kamaayurveda.com/blog/ashwagandha-benefits., Medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318407