Author: Dr. Vikram Chauhan

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASHWAGANDHA-INDIAN GINSENG

Ashwagandha is one of most potent herb in Ayurvedic healing system. It is composed of two sanskrit words (Ashwa – horse and Gandha – smell, because its roots when crushed give smell like horse’s urine),

This describes that herb provides the strength of a stallion and traditionally prescribed to strengthen immune system of people after illness. Ashwagandha is also known as Indian Ginseng because of rejuvenating properties though ginseng and Ashwagandha are not related to each other.

ashwagandha  Powder

Geographic distribution:

Ashwagandha has the great medicinal importance in Ayurveda from ancient times. This herb is found in all over parts of India. Ashwagandha is grown in various botanical gardens in India.

Classification:

  • Sanskrit names – Ashwagandha, Balada, Kamrupini, Gandhpatri ,Vajini
  • Common names – Winter cherry, Indian ginseng
  • Scientific name – Withania somnifera
  • Family – Solanaceae
  • Plant parts used – Whole plant parts

Morphology :

  • Size – This is an erect, perennial and branched herb and usually 30-60 cm in height but can grow up to 170 cm.
  • Leaves – Leaves are alternate and ovate, up to 10 cm long.
  • Flowers – Flowers are 4-6mm in diameter and bright yellow or greenish.
  • Fruits – Red berries enclosed in a papery protective covering (Calyx).
  • Roots – Roots are long, unbranched and fleshy tubers.

Health benefits of Ashwagandha -INDIAN GINSENG:

health benefits of ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is packed with miraculous properties which are quite beneficial in body healing for various health complications. Thus it has become new ray of hope in the management of various health complications.

According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha helps to balance the vata dosha which is related to brain health. Ashwgandha  has calming effect on nerves.Moreover regular consumption of Ashwagandha may result in numerous health benefits.

Ashwagandha benefits are discussed in details below:

  • Anti – cancerous properties – It has been found in various research studies that Ashwagandha has anti cancerous properties which are quite beneficial to provide relief in the cancer. It also helps to reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiation without interference with tumor cell killing activities.
  • Antimicrobial activities – Ashwagandha is a valuable medicinal herb in Ayurveda. It possesses the antimicrobial activities which are effective to manage the various infection like gastrointestinal, urinogenital and respiratory tract infections.
  • Cardio – protective properties – It also offers health benefits in the cardiovascular problems. It provides strength to heart muscles and also helps to maintain the good cholesterol levels.
  • Anti stress properties – Aswagandha acts like a nervine tonic. It helps to maintain the both physical health and mental health. According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha helps to balance the vata dosha which is related to brain health. It helps to pacify the nervous system thus provide the relief in stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Anti-diabetic properties – Ashwagandha also possesses anti diabetic properties because its helps to maintain the good blood sugar levels. It has been found that regular consumption of Ashwagandha helps to manage the problem of diabetes.
  • Stimulation of thyroid gland – Ashwagandha helps to improve the thyroid health. It is an adptogenic herb which helps to manage the both hypo and hyper thyroid complications. It helps in the proper functioning of thyroid hormones.
  • Antioxidant properties – Ashwagandha is also packed with the antioxidant properties. It helps to neutralize free radicals which are produced during metabolism. It is beneficial to manage the oxidative stress in body.
  • Immunomodulatory properties – Ashwagandha helps to strength the immune system which is beneficial to provide the relief in various infections.
  • Skin health – Ashwagandh helps in stimulation of DHEA which is an adrenal steroid hormone in the body. It helps in the production of proteins which are helpful in maintaining the skin hydration, skin elasticity and collagen which are good for healthy skin.
  • Healthy hair – Ashwagandha also supports the good hair texture. It helps to improve the scalp circulation and provide the strength to hair. It also supports the production of melanin pigment that is responsible for hair color. Use of this herb is also good to get rid from dandruff.
  • Blood production – Ashwagandha also possesses the haemo poetic properties which means it is useful in the production of blood cells. It is also helpful to manage to problem of anemia.
  • Aphrodisiac properties – Aphrodisiac properties of Ashwagandha helps to improve the fertility and vitality. It is helpful to enhance sexual desire. In case of males it helps to improve the quality and production of semen. Where as in case of females it helps to manage the hormonal imbalances.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – Ashwagandha’s anti-inflammatory properties helps to provide the relief in joint pains and various other body pains. Ashwagandha is packed with phytochemical compounds like saponins, alkaloids and steroidal lactones which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Mood booster – Ashwagandha herb is also known as the mood booster. It helps women to cope up with the mood swings.
  • Increases the body’s stamina and strength – Ashwagandha helps to maintain the body’s stamina because it helps to balance the adrenal hormones which are involved in the physical activities. These hormones help to decrease the pain of muscles and joints while doing physical activities though they also help to maintain the same energy levels. This is the reason, athletes consume Ashwagandha .
  • Helpful in insomnia – Ashwagandha’s rejuvenating properties are beneficial in insomnia. It helps to pacify the nervous system thus beneficial to manage the stress. It also helps people to maintain a good sleep.

Natural Ways to Treat Psoriasis in Ayurveda

Psoriasis, a skin condition with red patch which is dry and itchy in nature, is non-infectious and inflammatory. It is derived from Greek word ‘Psora’ means itch or scale and ‘Iasis’ defines condition. It is chronic in nature, characterized by erythematous (reddish) demarcated papule covered with silver scaly patches.This condition happens due to increase in skin layer proliferation due to uncontrolled division of cells in the skin in its basal layer.

Psoriasis, an auto-immune disease misread the skin cells as pathogen, and sends out faulty signals which stimulates the increased division of skin cells.

Areas affected are scalp, ears, elbows, genitalia and on the palm and feet.

Different Types of Psoriasis:

Different Types of Psoriasis

  • Plaque psoriasis – Raised and reddish patches on skin covered by silver scaling.
  • Pustular psoriasis -White pustules surrounded by red skin.
  • Psoriatic arthritis – Which leads to inflammation of joints.
  • Guttate psoriasis – Small, red spots on the skin
  • Inverse psoriasis – Smooth, red lesions form in skin folds.
  • Erythrodermic Psoriasis – Affecting the large area of the skin and there is redness and increased shedding of the scaly skin.

Psoriasis as per Ayurveda says :

Ayurveda explains Psoriasis occurs due to vitiation of two doshas– vata and kapha. This causes accumulation of toxins in the deeper tissues of skin like rasa (nutrient plasma), rakta (blood), mansa (muscles), and lasika (lymphatic). This contamination of deeper tissues causes Psoriasis.

Some Causes for Psoriasis :

Exact causes or etiology of Psoriasis is not known but certain factors are considered to be the reason for this condition:

  • Infections such as streptococcal infection.
  • Psychological stress and emotional stress.
  • Hormonal changes as in pregnancy.
  • Certain Drugs: Beta blockers, NSAIDS, Anti-depressant, Corticosteroid therapy withdrawal, Alcoholic beverages etc.
  • Traumatized or injured skin.
  • Sunburns.
  • Genetic factors and Family history
  • Smoking and Tobacco also enhances its effect

Causative Factors in View of Ayurveda

  • Improper diet (Mithya Ahara)
  • Incompatible foods (Viruddha Aahar )
  • Increased intake of salty foods, black gram and sour foods, fermented foods, spicy foods, maida (Refined flour), bakery products, junk foods and fast foods, refrigerated and cold foods may contribute to psoriasis.
  • Improper lifestyle disturbing the digestive process of the of the body (disrupting doshas)
  • Un known cause- Adrista Hetu
  • Excessive Mental and physical stress

Symptoms of Psoriasis :

  • Raised red patches and scales on the skin covered by loose silvery scales, involving skin area such as knees, elbows, scalp, hands, feet or lower back.
  • Skin patches are dry and itchy
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Skin patch may bleed
  • Emotional Stress
  • Restricted joint motion

Complication occurring in Psoriasis

Scratching done to relieve itching may cause skin infections and thickening of the skin.

  • Thickened skin and bacterial skin infections caused by scratching in an attempt to relieve severe itching
  • In case of severe condition of pustule psoriasis, it results in fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Patient may  develop low self-esteem
  • Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Social isolation
  • Patient suffering from Psoriasis is at high risk of developing some disease like metabolic syndrome, agglomeration of disease including high blood pressure and elevated levels of insulin; inflammatory bowel disease; cardiovascular disease and, possibly cancer.
  • Add on disease is psoriatic arthritis is painful and may weaken the patient. Patient feels difficulty in performing daily activities.

Restricted Diets in Psoriasis:

  • Abstain from acidic (sour) foods, citrus fruits (mango, lemon) , apple, , grapes, tomato, pineapple, pickles, buttermilk and curd
  • Keep your diet free of fermented food and bakery products.
  • Avoid using whey and refined flour in your diet.
  • Stop use of cold drinks, ice creams, fast food (like pizzas), sauces, Ketchup and even fried foods.
  • Fruit jams, preserved juices or preserved foods should be avoided in diet.
  • Avoid sweets, chocolates and paneer.
  • Dried fruits (except almonds and raisins) to be avoided
  • Stop alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Avoid the use of common salt, it can be replaced with little use of rock salt.
  • Avoid the use of red and green chilies, chili powder, garlic, onion, etc.
  •  Stop having milk shakes, fruit salad, and milk after eating fruits for half an hour.

Useful Natural Remedies for Psoriasis :

  • Try to avoid any kind of injury to the skin.
  • Exposure to morning sun is very beneficial for reducing the inflammation and scaling on effected part of the skin.
  • Don’t try to control any urge for natural phenomenon like vomiting, urination or bowel clearing.
  • Application of vitamin E rich oil and linseed oils makes the healing faster in affected area.
  • Prefer to wear neat, clean, dry cotton clothes.
  • Do regular exercise, Yoga and Meditation in day to day routine.

Herbs useful in Psoriasis treatment:

  • Aloe Vera– Helpful in reducing redness and itching in Psoriasis.
  • Capsaicin – Ingredient in Chillies helpful in reduction of pain, inflammation, redness and scaling.
  • Guggul – Having anti- inflammatory and lipid lowering properties, which is helpful in removing fats and excessive fluids in the skin.
  • Turmeric – Useful being an anti- inflammatory and antioxidant.
  • Neem – Useful in purifying blood and a good detoxifier, enhances body’s immune system.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Psoriasis

Ayurvedic Treatment for Psoriasis

 

Herbal formulations available in Planet Ayurveda for Psoriasis.

1) NEEM CAPSULES:

Ingredients – Neem leaves (Azadirachta indica), rich in fibers and carbohydrates.

Benefits – It is very efficacious for skin problems. It is beneficial to lessen disturbed Pitta, Vatta and Kapha doshas. It’s a good blood purifier and an anti-oxidant as well.

It boosts up the immune system also. It also acts as anti-arthritic it relieves from inflammation and pain.

Dose:1 cap twice daily with plain water after meal.

2) NAVKARSHIK CHURNA (Powder):

  • A pure herbal formulation without any added chemical in to it.

Ingredients (herbs) – Amla, Haritaki, Baheda, Vacha, Neem, Majistha, Kutaki, Giloy and Daruharidra.

Benefits:It contains triphala which helps to remove the toxins from the body and strengthens the immune system too. It removes the toxins from the body.

  • Neem, kutaki, majistha are blood purifier which help to corrects the metabolism of the body.
  • Giloy act as an immunomodulator and improves immunity whereas Daruharidra is anti-inflammatory herb.

Dose:1 teaspoon once daily with plain water after meal.

3) KAISHORE GUGGUL (Capsule):

Ingredients: Amalaki, Bihibitaki, Haritaki, Guggul (resin), Guduchi, ginger, Black pepper, Long Pepper, Vidhanga, Indian jalp and Red Physic Nut.

Benefits: Triphla, a good anti-biotic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and booster of immune system.

  • Black Pepper helpful in decreasing pain and inflammation.
  • Long pepper- useful in respiratory disorders.
  • Vidhanga, blood purifier.

Dose:2 Tablets twice daily with plain water after meal.

4) RADIANT HAIR SKIN NAIL CAPSULES:

  • MaintainS healthy skin, hair and nails.

Ingredients: Majistha, Pit papada, Chirata, Ghritkumari.

Benefits:Majistha, herb- Effective in treatment of skin disorders due to its rejuvenative property.

  • Pit-papada an analgesic and anti-inflammatory
  • Chirata maintains the balance of three doshas of the body, acting as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.
  • Ghritkumari, maintains the balance of the body system, stimulates the defense and adaptive mechanism of the body. Good wound healer. It also helps in rejuvenating the skin, by supplying oxygen to the skin cells, improves the flow of blood to the skin and strengthen the skin.

Dose:2 Cap twice daily with plain water after meal.

5. RADIANT SKIN LOTION:

  • Treating psoriasis by reducing skin patches.

Dose:Apply locally morning and evening on the affected area.

6. GREEN TEA-ALGAE ALOE VERA GEL SCRUB (Gel)

  • Used as bathing soap. It  removes the impurities out of the skin.

Dose: Gentle Massage on the affected part while bathing.