One of the bonuses of being a westerner living in a tropical country is also coming across and learning more about the traditional medicine … Mystic names , exciting stories and the pleasant odors and flavors , is always what attracts !
Beside the older acquaintances , already part of the common palette – like Goji berries , or Ginseng – Ashwagandha is a new comer on the list of perpetual discovering and learning .
Known as one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing , Ashwagandha has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions , and is most well- known for its restorative benefits .
Known also with other names such as Withania somnifera ( the Latin , scientific name ) , or Poison gooseberry , or Winter cherry – in Sanskrit , the meaning of Ashawagandha doesn’t sound too attractive at all . The name “The smell of a horse” however indicates that the herb certainly imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion , reason why it has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness .
Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as the “Indian Ginseng” due to its rejuvenating properties , even if – botanically speaking – , Ginseng and Ashwagandha are totally unrelated .
Belonging to the same family Solanaceae as the tomato , Ashwagandha is a plump shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers and it bears orange/red fruits about the size of a raisin . The herb is native to the dry regions of India , northern Africa , and the Middle East , and today is also grown in more mild climates including the United States .
Why do people use Ashawagandha ?
Do any of the following symptoms sound familiar to you ? Stress … Fatigue …. Lack of energy …. Difficulty in concentration …..
The use of this Ayurvedic herb can help alleviate all these symptoms and support as well energetic and rejuvenating sense of wellbeing .
The Benefits and Healing Effects
Ashwagadha contains many useful medicinal chemicals , including withanolides ( a type of steroidal lactones ) , alkaloids , choline , fatty acids , amino acids , and a variety of sugars .
While the leaves and fruit have valuable therapeutic properties , the root of Ashwagandha plant is the part most commonly used in the Westerns herbal remedies .
The medical researchers are studying with great interest Ashwagandha for years and have completed more than 200 studies referring to the healing benefits of this plant . Some of the key examples of the healing properties of Ashwagandha are listed below :
- Protects the immune system
- Helps combat the effects of stress
- Improves learning , memory , and reaction time
- Reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness
- Helps reduce the brain-cell degeneration
- Fosters healthy sleep patterns
- Stabilizes the blood sugar levels
- Helps lower the cholesterol
- Thickens and increases the nutritive value of milk in nursing mothers
- Offers anti-inflammatory properties , thus being used successfully in the treatment of burns and wounds
- Supports healthy back and joints
- Contains anti-malarial properties
- Protects the liver , reduces constipation , and cures hypothyroidism
- Enhances sexual potency for both men and women
- The seeds and fruits are diuretic in nature
Ashwagandha as an adaptogenic herb
In the Ayurvedic medicine , there are specific herbs considered as having adaptogenic benefits .
Adaptogens are considered any compounds , herbs or practices that lead to the stabilization of the physiological processes and which promote homeostasis . In the herbal medicine , the use of different herbs as adaptogens is already very popular with far-reaching claims of increasing the longevity , libido , and well-being – on one side – or helping the body to cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment or internal stresses such as anxiety or insomnia ( two of the manifestations so common in the modern times ) Most of the studies on adaptogens were performed by The Soviet Union , Korea and China .
According to the Ayurvedic principles , our bodies are woven from food we eat . The nutrients we ingest are metabolized into the energy and the information that form our cells , tissues , and organs . Every day , our bodies need essential vitamins , minerals , or other nutrients in order to maintain our body’s delicate balance . That’s why , taking an Ashwagandha supplement is a highly effective way to create that balance .
The berries are commonly used as a substitute for rennet in the cheese making process .
Ashwagandha has become of interest of many researchers and it still grows in popularity