What is Ashwagandha?
Calms nerves, revive the mind and body
Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in the Subcontinent, Middle East, and some parts of Africa. Its roots and orange-red color fruit have 3,000 years history of use for the treatment of fever, inflammation, to boost immunity, improve memory and promote overall health in the Ayurvedic medicine system. Ashwagandha is also known as Indian Ginseng or winter cherry.
The name ashwagandha describes the smell of its roots like a horse that’s why it’s named ashwagandha because ashwa means horse in Sanskrit. Ashwagandha is known as an herb that helps to maintain youth, both mentally and physically.
Researches from Germany studied the effects of ashwagandha on the brain and showed that it increased the acetylcholine receptor activity which accounts for the enhanced cognitive ability and memory attributed to ashwagandha.
Research from Banaras Hindu University, India, showed studies that it has many antioxidant elements and increases different neurotransmitters. Being antioxidant, creates anti-stress, cognitive facilitating, and the anti-aging effect produced in clinical research.
Historically, Ashwagandha roots have been used to treat these issues;
- Skin issues
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Nervous breakdowns
- Memory loss
Adaptogenic and antistress: Ashwagandha is an excellent herb having the anti-stress and adaptogenic property that not only improves physical and mental fitness but also helps in fighting daily stress. It increases physiological endurance and inhibits chronic stress related to physiological abnormalities.
Antioxidant: It is a powerful antioxidant that forages free radicals in cells that are responsible for premature aging.
Anti-inflammatory: It has proven anti-inflammatory properties that can help in the management of inflammatory joint disorders.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Modern studies show that ashwagandha is useful for many of the issues but a lot is still unknown. A few of the important benefits are given below;
Ashwagandha has a calming effect on anxiety symptoms as compared to the drug lorazepam (a sedative and anxiety medicine).
A study published in the journal Phytomedicine shows that herb has the ability to reduce anxiety levels. It is a natural alternative to synthetic drugs to combat stress and anxiety without any adverse side effects on human health other than the drugs.
Ashwagandha is an excellent pain reliever that works through the nervous system and stops the pain signals being sent to the brain. It is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that are why it is effectively used for the treatment of different forms of arthritis.
One study shows that herb has the strong potential to treat rheumatoid arthritis without any side effects on the human body.
Ashwagandha may have a number of benefits for heart health, including treatment of;
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Chest pain
- Heart disease
One human study published in a journal showed that using it for heart health was helpful in improving muscle strength and endurance.
A study published in a journal showed that ashwagandha has the ability to slow down or prevent the loss of brain functions in people having diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s. As the progress of these diseases, parts of brains and connections become damaged which leads to loss of memory and function.
A few very promising studies showed that ashwagandha might be able to stop cancer cell growth of certain types. Animal research showed the ability of ashwagandha to decrease the size of lung tumors. These are encouraging findings that suggest that herb has the potential to work against the cancer of various types such as breast, lung, kidney, and prostate.
Ashwagandha as an Aphrodisiac
Ashwagandha is an excellent aphrodisiac. The Kama Sutra, a great medicinal book, describes ashwagandha as a potent sexual stimulant. It is a natural alternative medicine for libido and erectile dysfunction.
For women, it stimulates sexual desire and gives satisfaction. In men, its extract has the ability to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body which causes a dilation of the blood vessels that carry blood to the genitals, leading to increased sexual desire.
More Common Benefits of Ashwagandha
The most common benefits of Ashwagandha are given below;
- Reduce stress
- Decrease anxiety
- Increase memory
- Increase concentration
- Promote thyroid functioning
- Reduce tension and stress-related headaches
- Promotes healthy sleep and a relaxed mind
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