what is ashwagandha?
The Sanskrit term Ashwagandha translates to "smell of horse", and rightly so. Traditionally, it is believed that a person who consumes this herbal medicine will gain horse-like strength and vitality. It is a small shrub with yellow flowers and a red fruit, native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East. The extract is typically taken from the berries or roots of the plant. It is also referred to as Withania Somnifera (Latin name), Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry.
Ashwagandha, the magical herb, is considered to be nature's gift to mankind. For centuries, Ayurvedic medicine has used it to treat people for their day to day woes such as stress, anxiety, exhaustion, lack of sleep et al. And with an abundance of antioxidants, iron and amino acids, it's no surprise that Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing. It is classified as a rasayana i.e. rejuvenation in Ayurveda and expected to promote physical and mental health, restore the body and increase longevity. It has been glorified over time for its dual capacity to energise and calm at the same time.
- Metabolic side effects caused by antipsychotic drugs. Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia but they can cause levels of fat and sugar in the blood to increase. Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Cap Strelaxin, M/s Pharmanza Herbal Pvt. Ltd.) 400 mg three times daily for one month might reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood in people using these medications.
- Diabetes. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- High cholesterol. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol.
- Tiredness in people treated with cancer drugs. Early research suggests taking a specific ashwagandha extract 2,000 mg (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) during chemotherapy treatment might reduce feelings of tiredness.
- A type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD). Some clinical research shows that taking ashwagandha can reduce some symptoms of anxiety.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
- The results, published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine show that Ashwagandha helps promote relaxation as it is a natural adaptogen.
- In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is referred to as balya, which means giving strength in conditions like general debility. It is known to improve energy, increase stamina and endurance
- It has been used for centuries as a general body tonic, as it makes you feel stronger and healthier. It is also present in Chyawanprash, the delicious and famous concoction stocked up in every Indian household..
- The rejuvenating properties of Ashwagandha make it very effective in treating insomnia. It calms the nervous system, eases stress and gets rid of sleeplessness. Traditionally, it is used as a powder mixed with honey and warm milk for calming vata and regulating your sleep and wake cycles. You can also have a cup of hot milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of powdered Ashwagandha before bedtime.
- Ashwagandha has a rich history in Ayurveda for its wound healing abilities. Traditionally, fresh leaves were used topically to heal joint pains, skin sores and to reduce swelling.
- . The benefits of Ashwagandha are perfect for those battling stress, as it inhibits high levels of cortisol, ‘the stress hormone’. It is in fact used in tranquilizers and antidepressants drugs, since it helps relieve physical and mental stress and overcome depression.