Did you ever hear about the wonder ingredient, Ashwagandha? It is one of the most widely used Ayurvedic ingredients for the treatment of innumerable ailments of the body.
‘Ashwagandha’ is a shrub with green flowers, simple leaves and red berries. It is botanically known as ‘withania somnifera’ and as the Indian ginseng or winter cherry in the common tongue. The name ‘Ashwagandha’ is a fusion of two words, ‘ashwa’ meaning horse and ‘gandha’ meaning smell. It is named after its distinctive smell that is akin to that of a horse’s. While it might not sound that appealing, the unassuming herb is revered all throughout the country.
Why is Ashwagandha so popular?
Ashwagandha has been under the lens of modern medicine for several decades. Although known to Ayurveda since centuries, it has only recently baffled modern science for its numerous health uses.
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen. It means that ashwagandha can cause significant difference to how your body manages stress. It does so by boosting brain function and regulating blood sugar levels and cortisol (stress hormone) levels in your body. It thus, also helps with anxiety, depression, insomnia and some other stress related mental illnesses.
Ashwagandha has been proven to promote the formation of reactive oxygen species inside dormant cancer cells and disrupting their effects in the body. It prevents the spread of cancer by impeding the growth of new cancer cells. Studies have shown that ashwagandha has been beneficial for the treatment of several different types of cancer including breast, lung, brain, ovarian and colon cancer.
Stress is the number one cause for infertility in men in the current world scenario. Developing studies show that ashwagandha has shown remarkable results in increasing the testosterone levels in men suffering from lowered sperm count and motility. While also regulating hormones, Ashwagandha also boosts sperm count and motility essential for healthy conceivement.
Ashwagandha has also been known to have anti-inflammatory properties which is effective in treating arthritis. It also contains natural steroids which when combined with other ayurvedic herbs like Boswellia and turmeric shows definitive results in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Heart disease is the number one condition for the greatest number of deaths all across the world. It is one of the most important health concerns that requires immediate attention. Several studies have shown that usage of ashwagandha has helped bring down blood cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular ailments.
‘Hypo’ and ‘hyper’ thyroidism are common diseases that we see in men and women of all ages. Ashwagandha increase the overall adrenal health of the body by regulating essential hormones and boosting metabolism. It has been proven beneficial in normalizing thyroid hormones in the body thus keeping certain thyroid conditions in check.
Symptoms of grave mental conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders can be improved using ashwagandha as it greatly improves one’s ability to focus properly, information-processing speed, agility, memory retention and an overall brain function.
Ashwagandha has been tried and tested amongst patients suffering from type-2 diabetes who have shown shocking results in regulating blood sugar. The study found that ‘flavonoids’ found in the roots and leaves of ashwagandha were greatly beneficial in achieving normal blood sugar levels.
Does Ashwagandha have any side effects?
So far, there are very few to no side effects reported in the usage of ashwagandha in the form of capsules or lehyam (paste). In moderate doses, ashwagandha can be used over long periods of time for complete holistic health.
If you are pregnant or have any serious comorbidities, we suggest that you refer to your doctor before consuming ashwagandha.
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