Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha) belongs to the family of plants Solanaceae, and its scientific name is Withania somnifera (vitania hypnotic). It is called Indian ginseng and even winter cherry.
Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit name, which means “horse smell”, perhaps because it gives a person horse power.
The plant itself is from India, where it grows in dry regions. It is able to withstand very high temperatures and relatively low for these regions from 40 ° C to as low as 10 ° C.
Ashwagandha grows at an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level. The use of this medicinal plant for hundreds of years has created modern medical science, and interest in the study of the therapeutic properties of the plant has only increased.
Initial studies of ashwagandha noted the healing possibilities of this herb and the absence of toxic substances among the chemical ingredients.
Indian ginseng has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hypnotic and anti-stress properties. It is even prescribed in case of refusal from drugs, arthritis, rheumatism, for general health promotion and longevity.
Indian ginseng reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and the nervous system, it improves the mental state of a person. It is attributed to general weakness and reduced libido (a known aphrodisiac). It gives vitality and vigor, increases stamina.
Ashwagandha leaves have abortive, adaptogenic, antibiotic, diuretic, narcotic and tonic properties. Fruits and seeds are diuretic too.
All parts of the plant are used to make herbal remedies. A soap substitute is prepared from it. Leaves – insect repellent. Leaf juice mixed with almond oil and rose water is used as a toner for the face. And in case of difficulty falling asleep, ashwagandhu is added to milk and drunk with sugar or honey.
From this article you will learn:
What is Ashwagandha?
This perennial plant with highly branched leaves resembles a shrub. It is covered with leaves all year round. It grows up to 50 cm tall, up to a maximum of 1.5 m. Withania coagulens and Withania simonii are other related plant species.
The root is straight, unbranched, the thickness varies depending on age. The outer surface of the root is gray-yellow in color, it is completely covered with longitudinal wrinkles.
The bases of the stems are differently thickened: the nodes protruding only on the side from which the petiole arises, cylindrical green with longitudinal wrinkles; fracture, short and bumpy; the smell is bitter and acrid. Dry roots are cylindrical, gradually tapering with a brownish-white surface on the outside and pure white on the inside.
Stem leaves and dilapidated, simple ovate to 10 cm long. The leaves on the vegetative shoots are large and alternate, while those on the flower branches are opposite, rounded. Near the sheets are clusters with 5-25 inconspicuous pale green colors.
Flowers are hermaphrodites (they have male and female organs). They may be pale green or yellow, 4 to 6 mm in diameter.
The berries are enclosed in a green resistant calyx, 5 mm in diameter, smooth, spherical in shape, orange-red in color after ripening. Seeds are yellow and orange-red, shaped like a drop.
Healing properties of Ashwagandy
Indian ginseng is a kind of shrub that is well known in the field of Ayurvedic medicine. As a rule, it is grown in India in the late rainy season. It is very popular not only in industry, but also in cooking.
Its berries are recognized as an excellent source of rennet, a component necessary for the production of cheese. Below we list his main useful properties, thanks to which he has received such fame.
1) Strengthens the immune system
Ashwagandha increases the number of protective cells in the body that help remove bacteria along with other dangerous elements, thereby enhancing the defense mechanisms. In addition, it contributes to the saturation of the blood with oxygen, which is useful for exhaustion, weakness and anemia.
2) Anti-inflammatory properties
Numerous studies have concluded that the plant helps reduce inflammation in osteoarthritis and other diseases.
3) Antioxidant properties
Biochemical compounds found in Ashvagand have antioxidant properties and protect against oxidative damage. This is confirmed by some laboratory experiments.
4) Anti-aging properties
Ashwagandha is known to exhibit a rejuvenating effect. It moisturizes and regenerates cells at a faster rate.
The action of the plant as an antidepressant is due to the presence of biomolecules that affect the chemistry of the brain. In general, it manifests itself in reducing fatigue and a pleasant mood.
Stress affects both the body and the mind, causing tension, which over time decreases performance. Many people claim that stress reduces their standard of living. Ashwagandha is a well-known stress medicine. Some plant substances act on neurotransmitters in the brain, which stimulates a relaxing effect and affects mood in a positive way.
Grass stimulates the body’s natural systems due to its adaptogenic qualities. As a result, when you do exercises and at the same time use ashwagandu, you improve the oxygen supply to the muscle cells, get extra strength and endurance.
Studies have shown that animals receiving ashwagandu usually have greater endurance during physical exertion, plus they are more prone to building muscle.
Ashwagandhi intake helps to avoid plaque formation. This dietary supplement can turn into an excellent drug against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other similar conditions of the body.
Potential against cancer
Ashwagandha extract prevents the formation of cancer cells due to the presence of phytosteroids called “vitanolides”. The most active antitumor effect was found in Vitanolide Vitaferin A. His tests showed inhibition of cancer cells in 80% of mice, and their complete disappearance in 20%.
Since ancient times, Indian ginseng is used as an aphrodisiac. He assists not only with sexual weakness, but also with infertility. Until now, the practice of Ayurveda is prescribed to use the extract of the plant to enhance libido, both for men and women. To increase sexual interest 1 tsp. Ashwagandhi is diluted in 1 glass of milk or they take ready-made nutritional supplements in capsules.
10) Antimicrobial properties
Studies in mice have demonstrated the antimicrobial properties of the plant. The administration of the extract to rats demonstrated a decrease in the total bacterial load in several organs in animals.
Indian ginseng is an excellent natural treatment for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, as it has tonic and anti-inflammatory properties. The ability to reduce pain is compared with the action of aspirin and phenibutazone. For arthritis, consume 1 tsp. ginseng powder with 1 cup of milk every morning.
Ashwagandha is helpful for people suffering from insomnia. Sometimes it is prescribed along with valerian.
13) Skin Care
Indian ginseng is able to solve some skin problems. A paste made from the roots and leaves of ashwagandha is used externally against carbuncles, ulcers and even edema.
The leaves are heated in water and applied to body tumors. For bedsores and wounds, the leaves are heated in fat or melted butter and applied to the affected areas. To avoid dark spots on the skin, also use a paste from the leaves.
14) urination disorders
Ashwagandha is a natural, natural remedy for treating diseases of the urogenital system, especially problems with urination. In addition, it opens the pores through which liquid waste is displaced during perspiration.
15) Antibacterial properties
Indian ginseng fights bacterial infections in the body. Studies conducted at the Center for Biotechnology at the University of Allahabad (India) have shown that ashwagandha has antibacterial properties, which is especially useful in the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, bladder, genitals and bacterial infections of the respiratory system.
16) Cardioprotective properties
All anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-stress qualities perfectly complement any treatment for cardiovascular diseases. Indian ginseng strengthens the heart muscles, and research at the University of Arizona found that it has a lipid-lowering effect that reduces the level of cholesterol in the blood.
17) Increase energy levels
Dietary supplements of this plant help to increase energy levels, affecting the nervous system of the body. In fact, it was suggested that our central nervous system works as a limiting element in heavy training, for example, when lifting weights, and Indian ginseng helps to improve performance by reducing physical stress.
18) Reduced blood sugar
Ashwagandha lowers blood glucose when taken on an empty stomach, while generally improving glucose metabolism. Elevated blood glucose accelerates the work of the pancreas to produce significant amounts of insulin.
Over time, constantly elevated insulin leads to obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
19) Reduced cortisol
Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol leads to obesity, acne and worse, ischemic disease, diabetes, etc. Ashvaganda reduces cortisol over time and, therefore, helps to get rid of excess weight and much more.
20) Increased blood production
Hemopoiesis is a blood formation procedure. The researchers concluded that there are hematopoietic qualities in ashwagandha. After taking it, the number of erythrocytes and leukocytes significantly increases.
21) Memory Improvement
Ashwagandha is a true healer for the central nervous system. It helps to inhibit the degeneration of neurons, as well as their recovery. Some scientists argue that it restores damaged neuron networks, reduces stress, and simply soothes the brain, therefore, improves memory and concentration.
22) Alzheimer’s Disease
Indian ginseng is known to reduce amyloid pigmentation in middle-aged mice. The reason for this is that the plant extract can control the amount of LDL-related proteins (LRP).
In Alzheimer’s disease, the soluble LRP is low. Oral administration of the plant extract gives excellent advantages in eliminating the signs of this disease, as well as its pathology. A higher dosage of ginseng can possibly be used for highly effective treatment of this condition. Scientists argue that further research is needed to identify all the benefits of this plant and determine its mechanisms of action.
Traditional use of Ashwagandha:
• treatment of complications after childbirth; • treatment of nervous exhaustion, insomnia, exhaustion after illness, developmental delay in children, impotence, infertility, multiple sclerosis, etc. • treatment of diseases such as rheumatism, leprosy and arthritis; • it is used in the form of a poultice for edema and other painful parts of the tissue; • used to improve vitality and recovery from chronic diseases; • as an adaptogen to help the body cope with daily stress; • to improve thinking ability; • reduce pain and swelling; • with problems of fertility in men and women, as well as to increase sexual desire; • applied directly on the skin to treat wounds, back pain and unilateral paralysis; • Berries and leaves are applied outside on tumors, tuberculous glands, carbuncles and ulcers; • In Yemen, dried leaves are crushed to a powder, from which paste is then prepared for the treatment of burns and wounds; • Sometimes used in the treatment of memory loss; • Powdered root 3 g perfectly helps you cope with a cold.
This is the indigenous plant of India, Australia, Asia and Africa. Ashwagandha has been used for over 4000 years in India, because it is an extremely important herb in Ayurveda. She gained an important position in Ayurveda due to her therapeutic qualities. Traditional plant use in Africa: treatment of fever and inflammation.
In Sanskrit, its name comes from the words “Ashwa” and “Gadhi” and means “horse smell”, most likely because of the aroma emanating from its root, similar to the smell of a sweaty horse. Somnifera in Latin means “drowsiness.”
In a study conducted at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, it was recorded that Ashwagandha leaves uniquely suppress cancer cells.
The most important part of ashwagandha is, of course, the root. The root of the plant contains countless beneficial substances that have protective mechanisms for increasing libido, treating arthritis and much more.
Ashwagandha is one of the most common tranquilizers used in India, where it occupies an important place, like ginseng in China. It acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems, has a rejuvenating effect on the body, so it is used to increase the viability and restore the body after a chronic disease.
The administration of W. somnifera extract has been found to reduce two-step skin carcinogenesis caused by dimethylbenzantracene and croton oil. Enzyme analysis of the skin and liver showed a significant improvement in antioxidant enzymes such as GSH, GST, glutathione peroxide and catalase.
The fruits of Indian ginseng are rich in saponins, they can be used as a substitute for soap. Leaves – insect repellent. Ashwagandu is more often consumed with milk, sugar or honey, because it is the best way to relax.
Side Effects and Safety
Indian ginseng is safe to use in the short term. With a long-term reception, his safety is simply unknown. Huge doses are known to cause upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting.
1) Pregnant women Pregnant women cannot use this herb, because no one has reliably practiced or evaluated its safety during pregnancy. In addition, there is some evidence that the use of ashwagandha can lead to miscarriage.
2) breastfeeding The effects of using Indian ginseng during breastfeeding are known, therefore it is safer to avoid it during this period.
3) Stomach ulcers Indian ginseng can aggravate diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, especially if you suffer from a stomach ulcer.
4) Surgical interventions There are concerns that some medications and herbal supplements may affect anesthesia, so it is advisable to abandon ashwagandha at least two weeks before the planned operation.
5) Autoimmune diseases or other conditions Autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis and others can be aggravated when using this supplement. Ashwagandha can increase the activity of defense mechanisms, which, in turn, will increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
• Indian ginseng can cause abortions; • Reduces the effectiveness of allopathic immunosuppressants; • Causes drowsiness; • Lowers blood sugar levels; • Can enhance the effects of other medications used in diabetes and reduce blood sugar levels to levels that are too low; • Large doses lead to indigestion, diarrhea and vomiting; • Do not use ginseng in diseases of the thyroid gland and taking medication for thyroid hormones; • Reduces blood pressure. The combination of ashwagandas with other herbs and supplements with similar properties can lead to an excessive decrease in blood pressure; • Sometimes leads to fever.
Remember that before using any herbal remedies, you should consult with your doctor, especially in the presence of chronic diseases.
How to take Ashwagandhu?
Indian ginseng can be purchased in powder form, tincture, and also in capsules. He is almost always in the pharmacies of healthy food, as well as in online stores.
Most often, people prefer to use capsules, but if you have difficulty swallowing capsules, tincture will be the best alternative.
Take the supplement in accordance with the recommendations inside the package to avoid poisoning. In addition, you can add a teaspoon of powdered form of the additive to the milk at bedtime.
Usually the recommended dose is 600 – 800 mg, but it can vary depending on the disease.