Ashwagandha is a magical herb considered to be nature’s gift to mankind. It’s been classified as an adaptogenic herb, meaning it can help your body adapt to and manage stress.
For centuries Ayruvedic medicine has used ashwagandha to treat people with high stress levels to manage their day to day tasks more effectively. It’s also used to help people with anxiety, exhaustion and lack of sleep as it can help to restore the body, increase energy, longevity and help promote improved physical and mental health.
What Is Ashwagandha?
The sanskrit term Ashwagandha translates to "smell of horse". Traditionally, those who consumed this medicinal herb were believed to gain horse-like strength and vitality.
The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and North Africa. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions. It’s also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
- It May Help To Reduce Anxiety And Stress
Ashwagandha is best known for its ability to help nourish the adrenal glands helping to ease and mange symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Reduce Cortisol Levels
Due to its effect on the adrenal glands. When under stress the adrenal glands secrete cortisol, the “stress hormone”.
- Improve Brain Function
In some studies in animals ashwagandha has been shown to reduce memory impairment. This herb may also protect the brain from oxidative stress that leads to neurodegeneration. Relaxation, a benefit from this herb which helps the body manage stress also improved long-term memory.
- Anti-Depressant Properties
Although it hasn’t been studied extensively, in Ayurveda ashwagandha is said to improve both mental and physical health helping to alleviate depression.
- Reduce Inflammation
Ashwagandha has been said to have high levels of withanolides, which has been shown to decrease markers of inflammation in the body.
- Aphrodisiac Properties
Ashwagandha is said to act on the endocrine system by encouraging hormone balance. For many years ashwagandha has been known for its aphrodisiac properties, and research indicated that it can help support sexual health and vitality by increasing blood flow and reducing body tension, helping people improve vitality and fertility.
References & links to research
- Ashwaganda improves immune function by increasing Th1 (cell-mediated) immunity. - Article 2.
- Ashwaganda attenuates withdrawal-induced anxiety due to chronic ethanol consumption.
- Ashwaganda has significant blood sugar lowering, diuretic and cholesterol lowering effects.
- A water extract of Withania somnifera has potent cytotoxic effect on human malignant melanoma A375 cells.
- Ashwaganda contains compounds which may amerliorate neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease.
- W. somnifera extract may be beneficial as a safe and effective adjunct to SSRIs in the treatment of OCD.
- A ashwagandha water extract suppressed the tumor growth of glioma cells.
- A multi-herbal product called Protandim exhibits chemopreventive properties in a mouse model of skin cancer.