“Ashwagandha” is a Sanskrit word which means “smell of the horse”, which refers to its unique smell and ability to increase strength. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “horse-like.” Botanically called Withania somnifera, it is also known as Winter Cherry and Indian Ginseng. Ashwagandha naturally grows in arid climate which is typical to India, Middle East, and Africa.
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda. It has been used for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels and to improve mental focus and concentration. It is known for rejuvenating mind and body. Extracts from the roots and leaves are used as the herb. It is known to boost immunity and offer rejuvenation against a number of health problems.
Benefits of taking this herb are very large in number. It is helpful for men and women of all ages.
Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging.
Ashwagandha is applied to the skin for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).
In Ayurveda, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as “Indian ginseng.” Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments.
Don’t confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry.
Ashwagandha has earned a great reputation as a healing herb. It maintains hormonal balance and helps fight age-related illness.
Now that we are familiar with this amazing herb, let’s talk about the wonders it does,
Some of the well-known benefits of Ashwagandha include:
1. Ashwagandha Helps Cope up With Stress:
Cortisol is the main hormone behind stress that leads to anxiety. Cortisol levels may become increased chronically, which may lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage.
Studies on ashwagandha has shown its ever lasting benefits, and it decreases cortisol levels by 27.9 %
It enhances bodily endurance, submit worrying healing of muscle tissue, blood stream to body tissues. It also complements intellectual acumen, reasoning abilities and cognition of people by using modulating various neural pathways.
Although it hasn’t been studied much, a couple of studies suggest ashwagandha may help reduce depression.
In a controlled 60-day study in stressed adults, those who took 600 mg per day reported a 79% reduction in severe depression. At the same time, the placebo group reported a 10% increase .
2. It Can Reduce Cortisol Levels:
Cortisol is known as a “stress hormone” because your adrenal glands release it in response to stress and when your blood sugar levels get too low.
In a controlled study of chronically stressed adults, the group that supplemented with ashwagandha had much greater reductions in cortisol than the control group. The group taking the highest dose had a 30% reduction, on average.
Unfortunately, in some cases, cortisol levels may become chronically raised, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.Studies have shown that ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels.
3. Ashwagandha Improves Your Memory:
This plant provides better mental ability to concentrate, improves reasoning power and memory. Consuming Ashwagandha powder or capsules daily can lead to improved memory. It provides better memory and cognitive development.
4. It Can Reduce Blood Sugar Levels:
In several studies, ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.A test-tube study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells .
Several human studies have confirmed its ability to cut blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those with diabetes. In one study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with ashwagandha for 4 weeks had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared to a 4.5 mg/dL reduction in those who received a placebo.
What’s more, in a small study of 6 people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing with ashwagandha for 30 days lowered fasting blood sugar levels as effectively as an oral diabetes medication.
7. Ashwagandha Has Anti-Cancer Properties:
Animal studies suggest that it may be beneficial for treating several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain and ovarian cancer.
Animal and test-tube studies have found that ashwagandha helps induce the apoptosis or “programmed cell death” of cancer cells. It also impedes the growth of new cancer cells in several ways .
One of these ways is believed to be the generation of reactive oxygen species(ROS), which are toxic to cancer cells but not normal cells. Another mechanism causes cancer cells to become less resistant to apoptosis.
In one study, mice with ovarian tumors treated with ashwagandha alone or in combination with an anti-cancer drug had a 70–80% reduction in tumor growth. The treatment also prevented metastasis, the spread of cancer to other organs.Although there are no studies to confirm these results in humans yet, the research to date is encouraging.
By consuming this ancient herb daily, we are blessed with below benefits:
• It May Help Cope With Stress and Anxiety.
• It Can Reduce Blood Sugar Levels.
• This has Anti-Cancer Properties.
• It Can Reduce Cortisol Levels.
• Reduces Symptoms of Depression.
• Stress and anxiety reliever
• Blood sugar level reducer
• Helps in fighting cancer
• Helps in improving memory and brain function