A well-known herb in Ayurvedic medicine is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and used as a nootropic, “Rasayana” (rejuvenator), and potent natural adaptogen. The herb extract is widely used for general health and specific ailments. However, very few studies have examined Ashwagandha’s safety and tolerability in people. A popular plant with many health advantages is ashwagandha. Traditional names for Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal includes Ashwagandha and Indian ginseng or winter cherry. Benefits of Ashwagandha roots in immunomodulatory, stress reduction, antioxidant activity, cardiorespiratory endurance, inflammation prevention, anti-tumor activity, neuroprotection, and anti-cancer activity.
Ashwagandha is a semi-arid shrub native to India and other Southeast Asian countries. The plant is also available in African countries such as Congo, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and the Middle East. It is a little evergreen shrub that reaches a height of four to five feet. In the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, it is grown commercially. Ashwagandha, a member of the Solanaceae family, is also listed in the World Health Organization’s monographs of therapeutic plants (WHO).
Different formulations that shows the benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is typically sold in the form of a churna, which is a finely sieved powder mixed with water, ghee (clarified butter), or honey. Numerous formulations contain it, including Ashwagandhadi-churna, Ashwagandha-rasayana, Ashwagandha-ghrita, Ashwagandha-rishta, Ashwagandha-taila, Madhyamanarayana-taila, Brihat Ashwagandha-ghrita, Brihachchhagaladya-ghrita, Saraswata-churna, and Pramehamihira Nagabala-ghrita.
For millennia, Ashwagandha is mostly utilized as a “Rasayana” for longevity and its overall health benefits, and it claims to possess “Balya” (strength) and “Mamsavivardhan” (muscle mass augmentation) characteristics. The Ashwagandha root has a long history of usage as an adaptogen in Ayurvedic medicine, where it serves to treat stress and anxiety. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha can regulate metabolic processes, promote homeostasis, and restore the body. The roots enhance health and longevity by boosting resistance to harmful environmental factors, delaying aging, rejuvenating the body in debility, and providing a sense of well-being. Ashwagandha extract also improves reproductive health.
Ashwagandha contains withanolides, which are steroidal lactones. These steroidal lactones are likely to be responsible for a large portion of the pharmacological actions. Furthermore, 18 fatty acids, beta-sitosterol, polyphenols, and phytosterols are all present in the roots. Withanine, withananine, withananinine, pseudo-withanine, somnine, somniferine, and somniferinine are present in the root. Withanolides, such as withaferin A, are also found in the leaves of the Indian chemotype. Sedative and hypnotic, withanine. A GABA-mimicking substance is present in the root extract. Aspartic acid, glycine, tyrosine, alanine, proline, tryptophan, glutamic acid, and cystine are among the free amino acids are present in the root.
How to take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha roots and berries have medicinal benefits, however, ashwagandha is present in supplement capsules, tablets, chewable, powder, tinctures, and tea forms. According to certain studies, ingesting 250-600 mg per day can help to lower the stress.
Dosages of Ashwagandha are between 250 to 1,500 mg. High doses can have negative side effects. Before the beginning of any new herbal supplement, including ashwagandha, consult with a healthcare expert about safety and dosage.
Health benefits of Ashwagandha
The bitter leaves treat fevers and uncomfortable swellings. The flowers have astringent, purifying, diuretic, and aphrodisiac properties. Ashwagandha-rishta made from it is generally treats hysteria, anxiety, memory loss, syncope, and other symptoms. It also acts as a stimulant and boosts sperm count.
- Adaptogenic and Anti-stress activity: As a result of Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic and anti-stress qualities, it is useful in boosting stamina (physical endurance) and reducing the risk of death.
- Effect on the central nervous system: Ashwagandha is a well-known Ayurveda Rasayana that belongs to the Medhya Rasayana sub-group of Rasayanas. Medhya refers to the mind and mental/intellectual capacity. The cognitive-enhancing impact of Medhya Rasayanas is most noticeable in youngsters with memory deficiencies.
- Anxiolytic and Antidepressant effects: In all three standard Anxiety tests, Ashwagandha produced a relaxing anxiolytic effect comparable to the medication Lorazepam. Ashwagandha also had antidepressant properties. The research supports the use of Ashwagandha as a mood stabilizer in clinical anxiety and depression.
- Antibacterial and Anti-inflammatory activities: Withaferin A and 3-b-hydroxy-2,3-dihydro withanolide F, both extracted from Withania somnifera, have antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activities.
- Antiarthritic: Ashwagandha acts as a painkiller by preventing the central nervous system from receiving pain signals. As a result, some study has suggested that it is useful in treating many types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
- Neurodegenerative diseases: Several investigations have demonstrated that Ashwagandha slows, stops, reverses, or eliminates synapse loss and neuritic atrophy. Ashwagandha also treats neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and others at any stage of the illness.
Other benefits of Ashwagandha
- Anticancer activity: Studies and research on Ashwagandha’s effects on tumor growth suppression and reduction have provided hopeful indications that this amazing herb may prove to be very beneficial in the treatment of tumor-type disorders, including cancer. It also boosts white blood cell (WBC) numbers and function, which decreases after cancer chemotherapy. In the course of treating uterine fibroid tumors, ashwagandha reduced uterine bleeding tendencies and caused the fibroids to go.
- Anabolic effects: According to the research for three months, rats fed with ashwagandha had significantly higher body weights than the control group. Furthermore, ashwagandha may help lower hunger and cravings, both of which can aid in weight loss.
- Effect on heart: Several people utilize ashwagandha to improve their heart health, such as by reducing high blood pressure, decreasing high cholesterol levels, reducing chest pain, and preventing cardiovascular disease.
- Menstrual cycle regulation: Ashwagandha also regulates the menstrual cycle. According to one study, it reduced the duration and severity of menstrual cramps in women. Ashwagandha may also help lessen the risk of uterine cancer.
- Body detoxification: There is evidence that ashwagandha aids in body detoxification. According to one study, it increased the activity of detoxifying enzymes in people with liver disease. Ashwagandha may also offer protection against the toxicity of heavy metals.
- Improves male and female fertility: There is evidence that ashwagandha can increase male and female fertility. It boosted male sperm motility and count, according to one study. It enhanced women’s ovarian function, according to another study.