Ashwagandha is a wonder plant predominantly found in India. Widely used for its therapeutic value, ashwagandha has been present in ayurvedic formulations since the ancient times. Backed by contemporary western science and a long history of medicinal use in India, this herb shows great potential for athletes and anyone who wants to maintain good health.
It is a stout shrub which has small red berries enclosed in inflated papery orange-red seed cases. Ashwagandha is native to the Indian subcontinent. It grows in abundance across in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Though in recent times it is know to be flourishing well in the climatic conditions of North America. Apart from the arid highlands of India subcontinent and North America, it is also cultivated in northern Africa and the Middle East.
Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Ashwagandha is used widely to treat inflammation, fevers, and to protect against infection or illness. It is also used to boost the immune system, improve memory and to promote overall well being in matters of health.
The scientific name of Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. But apart from that it is also known as Indian Ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi, Chinese Lantern Plant, Bladder Cherry, Physalis Alkekengi and Samm Al Ferakh.
Medicinal Uses/Health Benefits
The shoots of the Ashwagandha shrub are used in in food and in India seeds of the Ashwagandha are used to thicken milk. It has similar properties as ginseng. Ashwagandha is heat neutral which means it has no warming or cooling properties. Unlike ginseng which is a warming herb. Ashwagandha is usually crushed and used in a traditional Ayurvedic formula called shilajit. Since the ancient times Ashwagandha has been used widely for the following purposes:-
- Infectious Diseases
- Sexual Enhancing
Ashwagandha helps person’s suffering with stress, weakness, tissue deficiency, the elderly, overwork, lack of sleep, nervous exhaustion, sexual debility, problems of old age, loss of memory, loss of muscular energy, insomnia, weak eyes, cough and glandular swelling.
It is used by both men and women – ahwagandha is regarded as a very good herb and that acts to calm the mind and promote sound, restful sleep. Actually ashwagandha works as an adaptogen, as it promotes the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. It also helps to prevent or minimize imbalances that may lead to occurring of any disease, which may be due poor diet, lack of sleep, mental or physical strain, or chemical toxins in the environment.
The modern medical uses of Ashwagandha are varied. One area in which it has been particularly helpful is in the treatment of mental health issues. According to studies conducted by various institutes, it has been so found that anxiety sufferers if taking 40 ml doses twice a day of a solution with it’s major ingredient of Withania Somnifera; then within 30 days all anxiety symptoms including panic attacks and paranoia had virtually disappeared. Therapists have also found the herb useful in treating depression, alcohol dependency and schizophrenia.