Ayurveda has become a part of our day-to-day lives since time immemorial. Starting from health issues to beauty enhancement, we seem to depend on ayurveda. One such powerful herb used in ayurvedic healing is Ashwagandha. Today in this post, I will share with you the detailed study on Ashwagandha. We’ll learn about what Ashwagandha is, what the health benefits of Ashwagandha are and how it’s beneficial for both men and women.
Ashwagandha or Withania Somnifera is considered to be a magical herb which is beneficial in treating various health conditions such as diabetes, inflammation, cardiovascular diseases, cataract and sexual disorders in men and women. There are many other benefits of Ashwagandha. There are a number of scientific reviews and papers that establish the fact that Ashwagandha has the potential to cure many serious illnesses including cancer.
As I have already said one of the most powerful herbs used in ayurvedic treatments is Ashwagandha. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse” which is an indication that the herb when used imparts the energy, vigor and strength of a mare. Hence, it has been traditionally prescribed to strengthen the human immune system that is very vital for the well being of the individual.
It is highly valued in the Vedic tradition as a “rasayana”, or tonic that promotes longevity and vitality. Often referred to as the “Indian ginseng”, the herb has rejuvenating properties. It belongs to the tomato family having a plump shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers.
The herb is extensively found in the dry regions of India, North Africa, Middle East and the United States of America.
What are the constituents of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha mainly consists of the stem bases and dried roots of “Withania somnifera” belonging to the “Solanaceae” family. Popularly known by the names of “withania root”, “asgandh” and “winter cherry”, Ashwagandha consists of alkaloids and steroidal lactones. Withanine is the main alkaloid. Withanolides is the name of the steroidal lactones that are contained in the leaves.
Much of the Ashwagandha’s pharmacological activity has been attributed to two main withanolides that are withaferin A and withanolide D. The withanolides have C28 steroidal nucleus with C9 side chain with a six membered lactone ring.
Here’s a detailed report on scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Ashwagandha that you may like to refer for more information.
Various health benefits of Ashwagandha
Since Ashwagandha is highly popular when it comes to ayurvedic healing, there must be people like you and me who have got benefited by this powerful herb. So, come let us study in detail the various health benefits of Ashwagandha.
Popular research and studies have shown that Ashwagandha has anti-carcinogenic properties. Many consider it as an apt alternative in the field of oncology. We have seen that in today’s world even though science and medicine has evolved, cancer is still considered one of the most life threatening diseases.
Deaths, due to cancer are still very common. Therefore, if Ashwagandha can help us fight cancer, it is more than just good news. Isn’t it?
Ashwagandha is known to reduce the harmful effects of cancer in association with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, we all know that chemotherapy though effective has side effects and Ashwagandha can reduce it without interfering with the tumor-cell killing activity. You may refer to these studies that proves my point.
Researchers have found out that Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties. As already said, that Ashwagandha consists of alkaloids, saponins and steroidal lactones that help the herb to act as a cyclooxygenase inhibitor reducing inflammation and pain.
Here’s a detailed research conducted by Los Angeles College of Chiropractors that you may like to refer to know about various medicinal properties of Ashwagandha.
A study conducted at the Center of Biotechnology at the University of Allahabad proved that Ashwagandha has anti-bacterial properties. It thus helps in controlling the bacterial infections in human body. Your urino-genital, gastrointestinal and respiratory system also gets benefited by Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is considered to be a promising remedy for Cardiovascular diseases– Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-stressor qualities helps in fighting cardiovascular diseases. It further helps in strengthening the heart muscles and reducing cholesterol. Here’s a detailed study that you may like to refer to know more.
Fight anxiety and depression
Popular experimental studies show that Ashwagandha can help us in fighting problems like anxiety and depression. It strengthens the human body both mentally and physically. Depression and stress come hand in hand. Thus, we can also say that Ashwagandha helps us relieve stress. A popular study was conducted where Ashwagandha proved as a great stress buster for the animals put to extreme temperature variations.
Ashwagandha also helps in fighting diabetes– The blood sugar levels reduce by consuming Ashwagandha. So, all the diabetes patients out there, are you guys listening?
In case of hypothyroidism, Ashwagandha can also work wonders – Daily intake of Ashwagandha can help in the secretion of thyroid hormones and enhances the anti peroxidation of hepatic tissue. Just have a look at this article to get the vivid details.
Studies show that Ashwagandha has immunomodulatory effects – Here’s a detailed study where the immunomodulatory effects was studied in a mice with myelosuppression induced by components such as cyclophosphamide, azathioprin, or prednisolone.
Human blood cells
Ashwagandha is known to increase the production of the human blood cells – Ashwagandha has hemopoetic properties that lead to haematopoiesis, process of producing new blood.
Ashwagandha has been widely used to prevent seizures – In ayurvedic treatment; it is used as cure for seizures and convulsions due to its anticonvulsant properties.
Ashwagandha can fight the problem of cataract– The antioxidant and cytoprotective properties present in Ashwagandha helps reducing ocular diseases like cataract. Research conducted by Geetha Thiagarajan, Talla Venu and Dorairajan Balasubramaniam is a perfect proof of that.
OK, so you must have read the benefits of Ashwagandha carefully. However, do you know that few of the effects are gender specific? Therefore, let’s have a look.
The Benefits of Ashwagandha for men
Many men shy away from admitting their sexual disorders. Nevertheless, it is a very serious problem and one must take proper medicinal help regarding that. To all those men here is good news for you.
Ashwagandha has aphrodisiac properties that help to improve the vitality and fertility in a man. It is a natural remedy for sperm count and sperm mobility. It helps enhancing libido and is a remedy for erectile dysfunction.
However, my personal suggestion will be to always take an expert medical help before using it.
The benefits of Ashwagandha for women
Having known the benefit those men can get from Ashwagandha; let us discuss how it can help you women.
- Beauty has been traditionally associated with women. Therefore, each girl has the desire to look beautiful in her own way. However, stress, both metabolic and emotional affects aging. The stress hormone cortisol leads to the weakness of muscles, wrinkles and cognitive impairment. As I have already said, that Ashwagandha reduces stress possibly decreasing cortisol production. It also helps in improving the energy levels. So the more rejuvenated you feel, the more you glow.
- Aged women sometimes do suffer from the after effects of menopause. Ashwagandha acts on the endocrine system enhancing hormonal balance. Thus, the anxiety, hot flashes and mood swings tend to reduce.
- Both men and women have sexual benefits from Ashwagandha. It helps in having a healthy sexual life by increasing vigor, blood flow and reducing bodily tension. The women’s reproductive health improves and her capability to conceive increases by having Ashwagandha.
- Ashwagandha also helps in improving your retention powers. It helps our body and mind to relax and hence help in enhancing long term visual memory.
- Today’s world is a fast paced competitive world. There is stress, tension, anger that leads to frequent mood swings. Though everyone is a victim of this but it is women and girls more specifically who suffer the maximum. Ashwagandha being a mood-boosting herb helps in fighting mood imbalance.
- Ashwagandha reduces hair problems. It reduces hair loss, dandruff, melanin loss and other scalp problems.
How to take Ashwagandha?
Now, that you know the benefits. You must know how to use it properly in order to extract the maximum benefits. Ashwagandha comes in various forms. While there is no standard dose but it is usually recommended to take only 3 to 6 grams of this powder on a daily basis. In other words, it can be ¼ to ½ teaspoon once or twice daily. It is always advisable to use fresh Ashwagandha.
Prefer using organic Ashwagandha to avoid ingesting pesticides. In some parts of the world people, eat Ashwagandha shoots, seeds and fruit. However, it is available in powder and tablet forms, and as a liquid extract.
The traditional practice is as a powder mixed with warm milk and honey and taken before bed calming vata and fostering healthy sleep patterns. Sometimes ghee and honey mixed with sugar is used to having a cooling effect. However, the more convenient and easier method is to take it in tablet form. Banyan Botanicals prefer tablets over capsules. Despite all these, it is always best to take the proper guidance of a medical expert.
Over to you
Ashwagandha is a magical herb with potential to cure many health related issues. There are a number of studies and research that confirms that Ashwagandha has a number of medicinal properties. It can be used to cure a number of health issues and medical conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and sexual disorders.
I hope the article has helped you to increase your vocabulary on Ashwagandha. If you have any other query, you feel free to ask me. So now, are you excited to use the product? I hear you saying yes. So, go and explore the benefits of this amazingly beneficial herb.
Nevertheless, do use with caution.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.