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.
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.