Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing, and has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions, and is most well-known for its restorative benefits.
In Sanskrit, the term Ashwagandha means “smell of horse”. This is rightly termed so, as it is believed that a person consuming Ashwagandha will have the strength like a horse.
Native to India, North Africa and the Middle East, Ashwagandha is also referred to as Indian Ginsing and even Winter Cherry.
It is a shrub that generally bears yellow flowers and red fruits. The extract taken from the berries or the roots of Ashwagandha is used for its several health benefits.
Ashwagandha Benefits & Uses:
Ashwagandha provides a calming effect to the nerves and helps in relieving anxiety and depression. Hence, it helps in treating sleep disorders effectively.
For those suffering from weight gain issue, ashwagandha helps. Due to its nutritive value when consumed along with milk ashwagandha helps one to put on weight.
There are some studies which prove Ashwagandha’s testosterone boosting action. It improves muscle strength; hence, it is quite useful in treating premature ejaculation and a few cases of erectile dysfunction. It also relieves anxiety and depression, so it helps to improve sexual performance. It is also used in treating and improving female libido.
Ashwagandha contains alkaloids, saponins and steroidal lactones which are known to reduce pain and inflammation.
Ashwagandha is known for its anti-bacterial properties. It helps in controlling bacterial infections.
Several studies have concluded that Ashwagandha helps in providing a relaxing effect in case of anxiety and depression.
Filled with anti-oxidant properties, Ashwagandha helps in neutralizing the free radicals that are generally produced during the metabolism process.
Ashwagandha is known for its cancer killing properties. It also helps in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.
A few other health benefits of Ashwagandha includes –
Other Benefits Of Ashwagandha:
For Skin Care:
Ashwagandha stimulates the production of natural oil in the skin. Ashwagandha is used as a toner along with ginger and lemon and helps to get a glowing skin.
For Hair Care:
Use shampoo containing Ashwagandha. It helps to get rid of dandruff and stops the greying of hair.
Ashwagandha Powder or Tablet Dosage:
Ashwagandha is generally consumed in the form of tablet or powder. One way to consume Ashwagandha is to boil it and drink in the form of tea. Take just a teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder and boil it along with water for about 10 minutes. Drink it once in the morning and evening.
The powder extracted from Ashwagandha root can be consumed along with a glass of warm milk before going to sleep.
Caution: Do not use more than one teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder for one cup of water.
Side Effects Of Ashwagandha:
Digestive Disturbances & Gastritis:
If used in excess, it tends to increase gastritis in people with a sensitive stomach. It also causes constipation in a few. But if it is taken along with milk or ghee, usually this side effect is very much nullified.
If used in high doses, it may have a sedative effect. Hence some experts advice to avoid using it during the day.
It can be used safely in children and lactating mothers, under medical supervision. It is best to avoid this during pregnancy.
Significance Of Ashwagandha In Ayurveda:
Ashwagandha holds a special significance in ayurveda. It has been in use since the ancient times as a rejuvenating and an adaptogenic herb. It contains important amino acids and vitamins that helps the body to fight against any kind of psychological and physical stress.
When it comes to ayurveda, ashwagandha is used to balance the vata and kapha. However, one should be careful about its dose. When consumed in excess it can affect the pitta and can lead to building up of toxic substance in the body.
Due to its several medicinal properties, Ashwagandha is referred to by several names in ayurveda. Discussed below are the major ones.
Medicinal Properties Of Ashwagandha:
Balaprada, Balya – it helps in strengthening the immunity level.
Vaajikari – it helps in improving sexual performance and also helps in problem related to erectile dysfunction.
Vrushya – acts as an aphrodisiac .
Rasayani – improves life expectancy, is anti-aging and serves as an elixir.
Pushtiprada – provides nourishment to the body .
Shophahara – brings down inflammation .
Kanduhara – relieves itching.
Vishahara – anti toxic and useful in detox programs.
Krumihara – useful in intestinal worm infestation.
Shwasahara – useful in asthma and chronic respiratory diseases .
Kshatahara – useful in injury healing.
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