Author: Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Top 7 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)

Ashwagandha is very well known in the world of medicine. It is also called Withania Somnifera or Indian ginseng. This herb has been used for years in Ayurveda which is an ancient science of medicine, as well as Chinese medicine.

Withania Somnifera is a perennial shrub from the nightshade or Solanaceae family. The herbal root has been traditionally used as a tonic as well as a sedative but recent studies shows that the leaf extract contains a compound which is known as Withanolides which have been found to carry regenerative properties on brain-cell synapses in mice and in human cell lines.Withania Somnifera can easily be found in India (especially Madhya Pradesh), Bangla Desh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and in some parts of northern Africa.

  • Height: It can grow beyond 170 cm but is usually 30-60 cm.
  • Shape: It has a central stem and is a stout and upright shrub.
  • Branches: Star-shaped branching and all the branches are covered in fine hairs.
  • Leaves: Ovate and alternate, up to 5cm wide and up to 10cm long.
  • Flowers: Green outer-covering layer along with yellow petals on the inner side.
  • Fruit: Red berries enclosed in papery protective covering (calyx).
  • Roots: Long and fleshy tubers.

Ashwagandha has huge range of health benefits. It has immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-stress, sleep-inducing and anticonvulsant properties. The known biologically active components in Ashwagandha are alkaloids, saponins, iron steroidal lactones and choline. It also rich in fatty acids which are of 18 different types and several phytosterols and polyphenols.

The roots, berries and leaves of ashwagandha are being used from several years for medicinal purpose. Ashwagandha is also available in the powdered form or in the form of capsules.

1) Relieves Stress

  • According to a study which was carried out in 2012, it is proved that ashwagandha is highly beneficial in reducing stress and its side effects. People suffering from stress disorders who took ashwagandha had lower levels of stress hormones [cortisol].
  • Ashwagandha give wonderful results in both acute as well as chronic stress. It acts as a tonic and helps your body to adapt to stressful conditions and strengthens the nervous system as well as the adrenals. It refreshes the body as well as mind and also improves the quality of sleep. It is believed that it is doing wonders nowadays.

benefits-of-ashwagandha

2) Stimulates Brain Power

  • According to a study carried out in 2012, it is proved that ashwagandha is effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. There are several chemicals present in ashwagandha which help in improving the production of the main transmitter of neural signals i.e., acetylcholine. This in turn improves the cognitive abilities which includes concentration, thinking and memory.
  • It helps in stimulating the growth of parts of the neural cells which are already damaged due to some reasons and thus helps in reducing the risk of age-related mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
  • Start taking an ashwagandha supplement so as to protect your brain from degeneration but only after consulting your doctor. Do not take it without consulting a doctor.

3) Protects Against Cancer

  • According to some studies, it is proved that ashwagandha helps in prevention of cancer. It also helps in preventing or stopping the growth of cancer. It is high in antioxidants. Its anticancer properties helps in treating almost all types of cancer, it acts by restricting the growth of cancer cells which make it beneficial for the cancer treatment.
  • Its components are doing wonders in preventing the growth of many types of cancer cells like colon, breast, leukemia, melanoma, lung, prostate and sarcoma.
  • Along with this, it also enhances the effects of chemotherapy and radiations against cancer cells. It also protects the healthy cells against damage from several cancer therapies.

4) Improves Immunity

  • Another wonderful benefit of ashwagandha is that it helps in boosting the immune system. It helps in increasing the white blood cell production, as it is rich in antioxidants. It also improves the functioning of the immune system so helps in the treatment of several autoimmune disorders.
  • It gives better overall health and decreases the chances of getting sick more frequently. Plus, when you feel weak and sick, ashwagandha can give you more energy and helps in recovery after illness.
  • Intake of at least 1 cup of ashwagandha tea regularly will keep your immune system strong.
  • Ashwagandha tea is not recommended to patients who are suffering from high blood pressure.

5) Fights Depression

  • Its antidepressant properties make it wonderful for the treatment of depression and stress related disorders, Ashwagandha has stress relieving properties which make it more effective to treat anxiety and depression.
  • According to a study carried out by researchers at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University in India, it is found that ashwagandha stabilizes the moods in patients with behavioral disturbances and anxiety.
  • Ashwagandha does not leads to drowsiness, which is a major adverse effect of many other prescribed medicines. It should be taken through orally but under the guidance of a doctor so as to control depression and anxiety.

6) Works as a Natural Aphrodisiac

  • Ashwagandha acts as a powerful aphrodisiac. According to a study carried out in 2013, it is believed that ashwagandha has spermatogenic properties and it can increase sperm count along with semen volume and sperm motility. Ashwagandha can be also taken in the form of capsules.
  • Add half teaspoon of ashwagandha powder into a glass of warm milk and drink it two times a day.
  • Another option, take 300-500 mg capsules, twice daily for at least about a month.

7) Treats Arthritis

  • Ashwagandha is also very effective in treating rheumatism and osteoarthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties are because of the alkaloids, saponins and steroidal lactones present in the ashwagandha.
  • It is beneficial in inflammation as well as pain in the joints and especially morning joint stiffness. It also promotes energy, strength and vitality that are essential factors so as to lead a normal life when suffering from health problems especially like arthritis.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate is a wonderful and popular fruit in the Middle East, India and other Asian countries. They are growing and being used in the whole world, owing to their many health benefits as well as nutritional value.

It is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C and several B vitamins also. Other nutrients include potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, folate and manganese. The fruit is also rich omega-6 fatty acids.

The arils along with rind have many medicinal benefits due to the presence of antioxidants like anthocyanins, polyphenols, tannins and flavonoids.

Pomegranate’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties helps in treating inflammation, viral infections and several cancers. This fruit can be enjoyed by anyone watching their weight, due to its low caloric values.

The seed pods or arils can be eaten raw as well as made into juice. The juice has a tart flavor. The arils can also be added to savory dishes, soups, smoothies as well as desserts. The seeds of pomegranate are also used to make oil, which has many health and cosmetic benefits.

Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice

HEART HEALTHY

  • Pomegranates are wonderful for your heart. Pomegranate juice helps in improving the blood flow to the heart and also helps in clearing the clogged arteries. Its anti-atherogenic benefits helps in reduction of the growth of plaque formation. It is rich in polyphenol content.
  • A study conducted in 2005 at the University of Naples in Italy, it was found that the juice of dark pomegranate is very beneficial in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis which is the most serious condition nowadays.
  • According to another study it is found that intake of 800 mg of pomegranate seed oil lowers the levels of triglycerides and also improves the high density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio.
  • Drink 1 glass of freshly extracted pomegranate juice daily, so as to boost the health of heart. Another option, you can also eat 1-2 cups of pomegranate seeds.

REGULATES BLOOD PRESSURE

  • Pomegranates are wonderful for people who are dealing with high blood pressure or hypertension. The high antioxidants, polyphenols and vitamin C stimulates the nitric oxide production, which helps the blood to flow easily and prevents arteries from blocking.
  • They even lower existing plaque formations in the arteries resulting in the reduction of risk of strokes as well as heart attacks.
  • According to some studies it is believed that consumption of pomegranate juice inhibits the activity of serum angiotensin converting enzyme and reduces systolic blood pressure.
  • According to another study, it was found that pomegranate juice consumption could be considered in the context of both pharmacological as well as dietary interventions for hypertension
  • Intake of at least a glass of freshly extracted pomegranate juice on the daily basis for better results.
  • Another option is to make fruit salads and smoothies with pomegranates.
  • Always keep monitoring your levels of blood pressure when taking pomegranates to lower blood pressure, especially if you are taking blood pressure medication.

RELIEVES JOINT AND ARTHRITIS PAIN

  • Arthritis pain and joint pain is a major problem among old people, especially women. Include pomegranate juice in your diet so as to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and overall joint pain. Pomegranates juice has anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties which helps in blocking the enzymes known to damage joints and cause pain as well as stiffness.
  • According to a study carried out, it is found that pomegranate fruit extract contains certain compounds which blocks the enzymes that can lead to joint damage.
  • Another study was carried out in 2011 and it was concluded that daily intake of pomegranates lowers the serum oxidative stress and lowers the disease activity in the patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. More research is still going on.
  • Have at least a glass of pomegranate juice regularly for better results and if you are taking medicines, always consult your doctor first before using it.
  • Make a mixture of equal quantities of pomegranate seed oil with a carrier oil. Then massage it on the affected painful joint. This can be done once or twice a day.

FIGHTS ANAEMIA SYMPTOMS

  • This superfood is even beneficial for the people who are suffering from iron-deficient type of anemia. The iron present in pomegranates increases red blood cell count which ultimately cures anemia.
  • This results in an increase in the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood and even induces healthy blood flow. It helps the body in absorption of iron, due to the presence of high amount of vitamin C.
  • Drink a cup of pomegranate juice daily with your breakfast, if you are suffering from anemia.
  • Have this juice for at least a month or more so as to treat various types of anemia.

AIDS IN CANCER PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

  • Another wonderful benefit of pomegranate juice includes protection against cancer. It helps in treating and preventing cancer due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Pomegranate juice induces antitumor effects on various types of cancer cells such as prostate, lung, breast and skin cancer.
  • According to some researches, it was concluded that cytotoxic activities of pomegranate extract or pomegranate juice is likely to be valuable for the treatment of prostate cell line [by induction of apoptosis].
  • According to a study carried out in 2014 study, it is believed that pomegranate juice is best for the treatment of cancer. Molecular Carcinogenesis focuses on the anti-proliferative effects of pomegranate juice in breast cancer cells.

IMPROVES MEMORY

  • Pomegranate juice is also beneficial in improving the memory as well as helps in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The polyphenols present in the pomegranate juice are thought to provide positive cognitive benefits.
  • According to a study carried out in 2011, it was concluded that daily intake of pomegranate juice helps in improving the memory and functional brain activity in middle-aged as well as older adults with mild memory complaints and issues.
  • According to another study which was carried out in 2006, it was concluded that pomegranate juice decreases the accumulation and deposition of amyloid in the brain by 50 percent from Alzheimer’s disease.