Ashwagandha, or the winter cherry, is a plant that has been used in the Indian Ayurveda and the Unani medicine for more than 5000 years. The plan is native to India and Africa and its root and berry are used to make the effective medicines.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha has been revered as the most effective herb in Ayurveda. The plant offers a variety of benefits right from balancing hormones to improving stress resistance in the body. It aids in improving the sleep quality, reduces fatigue, normalizes mood swings and helps in controlling sugar cravings. The herb has also shown results in reducing hot flashes and night sweats. It aids in restoring normal functioning of the thyroid gland and helps in improving focus.
The exotic plant of Ashwagandha acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent and prevents untimely aging. It is known to boost immunity and aids in menstrual and skin related problems.
Below is a list of how the herb of ashwagandha proves to work on your overall health:
Uses of Ashwagandha:
1. Aids in treating Stress:
Ashwagandha works astoundingly well for those with physical and mental stress as it hampers the high level of cortisol–the stress hormone. It is used in antidepressants and tranquilizing drugs since it helps in overcoming stress. This exotic herb has demonstrated the ability to protect brain cells from the harmful environmental effects and promotes the growth of nerve cells.
2. Helps in healing wounds:
One of the most important abilities of Ashwagandha is to heal the wounds. Thus, it has been a widely used herb since the ancient Ayurvedic times in medicines that are applied on cuts, wounds, and blisters. Moreover, the herb is widely used to heal the pain in joints, skin sores and to diminish the effect of swelling.
3. Anti-Carcinogenic Properties:
The Ashwagandha herb has proven to be useful in treating tumors. Moreover, it has been noticed that with the usage of this herb, the growth of cancerous tumors has slowed down, therefore proving Ashwagandha as a potential anti-cancer agent.
4. Balances hormones in the body:
Ashwagandha has been influential in encouraging hormone balance in the body. It helps with menstrual problems, anxiety, trouble sleeping or insomnia, hiccups and fibromyalgia. It is also used for fertility problems in both women and men and is known to increase sexual desire.
5. Helps in relieving skin conditions:
Ashwagandha has been used in treating skin conditions and problems like leukoderma–a skin condition marked by white patchiness. Consuming ashwagandha helps in stimulating the production of natural skin oils by acting as a precursor to estrogen and testosterone. This results in the production of vital compounds such as hyaluronan and elastin that help keep the skin hydrated, supple and build collagen for strengthening skin.
6. Improves overall strength in the body:
Ashwagandha, in Ayurveda, is believed to provide strength to the body in conditions like debility. Also, it helps in improving energy and increases stamina.
7. Anti-aging properties:
Antioxidant properties displayed by Ashwagandha benefits in protecting skin against free radical damage and slow down the process of aging. They lead to a firm skin, promoting a youthful look.
8. Aids in functioning of the Thyroid gland:
This herb has proven to be a superstar and has displayed adaptogenic properties in improving the health of the thyroid gland.
9. Ashwagandha for controlling diabetes:
The herb, through scientific research, has proven that it is potential enough to decrease sugar levels in the blood.
10. Cholesterol reduction, weight loss and muscle gain:
Studies have shown ashwagandha can aid in reducing body fat and increase muscle mass. Also, there have been results that show that the herb can help in reduction of LDL cholesterol.
Side effects of Ashwagandha:
Typically, there are mild or no side effects attached to the use of Ashwagandha. However, the herb is generally sedating, hence advised to be consumed at night and some individuals might experience mild stimulation. It may enhance the effects of anti-anxiety medicines, sedatives or alcohol.
In the initial few days after consumption of the herb, one may suffer from nausea, abdominal pain, slowed pulse, drowsiness or diarrhea. If the symptoms continue for more than three days, it is advised to seek medical help.
Also, Ashwagandha should be avoided by individuals suffering from hemochromatosis–a problem where the body retains iron. Individuals with upcoming surgery or bleeding issues should not consume ashwagandha without prior consent from a medical practitioner. Also, pregnant women should seek advice from their doctors and health care providers before consumption of Ashwagandha.
How can you consume Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is available in tablet forms, as a liquid extract, and in powdered form. Traditionally, the herb was used in its powdered form with a mix of warm milk and honey, before sleeping. A general dose of the herb can vary from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon once or twice a day. Typically, to see results, this herb must be consumed on a daily basis.
Undoubtedly, Ashwagandha is amongst the hidden treasures of the Indian Ayurveda and for centuries has been aiding in improving the overall health of the body. If you know of more such benefits of Ashwagandha, please share them with us and the other readers in the comments below.