Botanical name: Withania somnifera
The Wonderful Effects of Ashwagandha
Have you heard the name Ashwagandha? It’s definitely a mouthful, but it is also full of nutrients beneficial to our bodies and minds. Let’s find out what this wonderful plant can do for you. The wonderful effects of ashwandha.
I’ve Never Heard of It! What is Ashwagandha?
Named Withania somnifera, but more commonly known as Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, or winter cherry, this is a plant used in Ayurdvedic medicine. It is a short, tender plant about 35-75 cm long. Its leaves are green, dull and usually around 10-12 cm long. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped, and the ripe fruit is orange-red. The wonderful effects of ashwandha.
Ashwagandha is cultivated in many dry regions of India, such as the Mandsayr District of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Sindh, Guajarat, Kerala, and Rajasthan. You can also find it in Nepal, China, and Yemen.
The name Ashwagandha means “smell of the horse” in Sanskrit, which is a suiting name for its peculiar smell and great strength.
What is Ashwagandha Made Of?
The main chemical constituents of Ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones, which include tropine and cuscohygrine. Some of the alkaloids in this plant include, withamosine, visamine, cuscohygrine, anahygrine, tropine, pseudotropine, anaferine, isopelletierine, and withaferin A. The plant is also high in antioxidants. The wonderful effects of ashwandha.
Ashwagandha and Your Cognitive Health
- Depression: as part of Ayurveda medicine, Ashwagandha has been used to improve both physical and mental health. The adaptogen abilities of this plant allow it to normalize some of the hormonal imbalances causing depression. The plant is extremely beneficial in cases of depression, but especially when regular medicine is causing harmful side effects.
- Stress: Ashwagandha is known to have a calming effect and thanks to its chemical content can also reduce the levels of cortisol in the body, providing enough balance for the mind to slow down.
- Neuroprotection: because of its antioxidant levels, Ashwagandha is a good way to protect our brain from free radicals that cause neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia Alzheimer’s.
- Seizures: for a very long time Ashwagandha has been used as a remedy for seizures and convulsions. By regulating the Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain, the plant can reduce the convulsions.
- Sleep: taking Ashwagandha before bed can help lower brain function and calm down the mind enough to induce sleep.
- Anxiety: as with stress, Ashwagandha can help slow down the mind to prevent anxiety-triggering thoughts.
- Memory: this plant can help the brain retain information better, specifically in cases of severe brain damage or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. By helping us focus more, Ashwagandha improves our cognition and thus our memory.
- Energy: as well as reducing depression, Ashwagandha can greatly increasing energy levels in our bodies. Boosting our minds and bodies with renewed energy means better performance in several activities and our daily lives
Your Health and Ashwagandha
- Cancer: this plant has been known to be an alternative in cancer-killing properties, especially when used with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Consuming this plant can lower the side effects of chemotherapy without reducing its effects.
Ashwagandha can also impede cancer cells from growing by generating reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are toxic to cancer cells. The plant also causes cancer cells to become less resistant to apoptosis. The wonderful effects of ashwandha.
It may be beneficial to consume this plant in cases of breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancer.
- Cardiovascular Health: Ashwagandha reduces stress and protects from free radicals, which means that it protects the heart. It also strengthens the heart muscles and lowers blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk for heart attack and heart diseases.
- Diabetes: studies show that the ingestion of Ashwagandha reduces blood sugar levels both during fasting and after eating, which can help the quality of life of many diabetic people.
- Hypothyroidism: in this case, Ashwagandha is used to stimulate the thyroid gland, which produces more secretion of the hormones that lack in hypothyroidism.
- Immune System: consuming Ashwagandha leads to significant changes in our immune systems, preventing immunosuppressive effects from viruses, bacteria, and environmental factors. This plant can also increase the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets count.
- Menopause: this medicinal plant acts on the endocrine system, which results in hormonal balance. Consuming Ashwagandha can improve mood changes, anxiety, and hot flashes in menopause.
- Sexuality: even the Kama Sutra—the oldest surviving text on human sexuality—mentions Ashwagandha as a strong sexual stimulant. Reducing body tension and blood flow allows for better sexual performance. In women, this plant also increases sexual desire.
- Men’s Fertility: for men, consuming Ashwagandha as part of their diet can improve hormone levels and reproductive health. Studies prove that this plant can increase sperm count and motility.
- Muscle Mass: if you want to increase your body mass and strengthen your muscles then Ashwagandha can do the trick. Accompanied by a good diet, this plant can help people reduce body fat and gain muscle instead.
- Inflammation: Ashwagandha reduces inflammation by fighting markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), which is also linked to heart disease.
How Should I Take This Plant?
Usually, Ashwagandha is taken as a fresh root, powder or root extract. Here are some of the common doses:
- Powder: 1-2 tablespoons, or 5-6 grams for general well-being.
- Tea: you can make tea with the powder extract with no more than 1 teaspoon per cup.
- Tablet: for this case, start with 1 a day and increase under doctor’s orders. Usual dose is around 125-1,250 mg a day.
Be careful! Don’t take Ashwagandha if you suffer from autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes, unless directed by a doctor. This plant can cause digestive discomfort, such as diarrhea, so watch out for these too.
Ashwagandha, Welcome To My Life!
Ready to begin taking this great Ayurvedic medicinal plant? If you want to increase your cognition, protect your brain, and stabilize your mood, this is the best way to do so. While you’re at it, you will protect your heart, strengthen your body and immune system, and be in overall better health.
What do you think? Is this something you would try? Can you believe all these benefits? Let us know what you think and if you’ve used this plant before!