BOTANICAL NAME:- Withania somnifera
FAMILY: – Solanaceae
- Commonly known as Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry
- Hindi name:- Ashwagandha
- The name Ashwagandha is a combination of the Sanskrit words “Ashva” meaning Horse, and “Gandha” meaning Smell, reflecting that the root has a strong Horse-like odour.
The main phytochemical constituents are Withanolides-which are Triterpene lactones, Withering A, Alkaloids, Steroidal lactones, Tropine.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Reduces stress and anxiety:-
Ashwagandha is one of the Indian herbs with adaptogenic benefits meaning, it helps the body to adapt to various emotional and physical stress. As ashwagandha helps to reduce cortisol, the “Stress Hormone” in the body, it is considered an effective treatment to reduce stress.
Ashwagandha may have a calming effect on anxiety symptoms when compared with the drug Lorazepam, a sedative and anxiety medication.
Antipsychotics are used to treat Schizophrenia but they can cause levels of fat and sugar in the blood to increase, Ashwagandha helps in reducing level of fat and sugar in the blood in people using these medications.
People with underactive thyroid have high blood levels of a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). People with an underactive thyroid can also have low levels of thyroid hormones. Taking Ashwagandha seems to lower TSH and increase thyroid hormone levels in people with a mild form of underactive thyroid.
Ashwagandha lowers high blood pressure, high cholesterol, eases chest pain, prevents heart disease. It improves heart health by reducing the levels of bad LDL Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels.
According to research in 2011, Ashwagandha slows down or prevents loss of brain function in people with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
As these conditions progress, parts of the brain and its connective paths become damaged, which leads to loss of memory and function.
Ashwagandha is believed to have anti-cancerous properties as the herb helps induce apoptosis- programmed death of cancer cells, it also delays the growth of new cancer cells.
Ashwagandha has properties that aid in reducing the symptoms and progression of some health problems that are associated with ageing, due to its antioxidant properties. It helps to reduce hair greying as it increases the production of melanin in the hair cells.
Note:- Pregnant women should avoid using Ashwagandha because it may cause distress for the fetus.
It’s always advisable to consult your doctor before taking any drug or any herbal supplement. Herbal supplements or drugs do have serious effects if consumed in excess or not taken under supervision.