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OTHER NAME(S) of ASHWAGANDHA
Ajagandha, Amangura, Amukkirag, Asan, Asana, Asgand, Asgandh, Asgandha, Ashagandha, Ashvagandha, Ashwaganda, Ashwanga, Asoda, Asundha, Asvagandha, Aswagandha, Avarada, Ayurvedic Ginseng, Cerise d’Hiver, Clustered Winter cherry, Ghoda Asoda, Ginseng Ayurvédique, Ginseng Indien, Hayahvaya, Indian Ginseng, Kanaje Hindi, Kuthmithi, Orovale, Peyette, Physalis somnifera, Samm Al Ferakh, Samm Al Rerakh, Sogade-Beru, Strychnos, Turangi-Ghanda, Vajigandha, Winter Cherry, Withania.
ASHWAGANDHA in AYURVEDA
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is basically an herb which has been used in Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) for almost thousands of years. In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana which means an herb that helps detox and rejuvenate both mentally and physically. Because of its energy boosting properties and healing effects, Ashwagandha is also referred to as “Indian ginseng”.
DESCRIPTION of ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha widely cultivated in India, is an erect, greyish, slightly hairy evergreen shrub that grows to about 1.5 m in height and has fairly long tuberous roots. The small and greenish-yellow flowers can be single or in clusters. The fruit is smooth, round, and fleshy, with many seeds; it is orange-red when ripe and enclosed in a membranous covering.
WHAT IS ASHWAGANDHA?
Somnifera, meaning “sleep-inducing” in Latin, indicates the traditional Ayurvedic use of Ashwagandha in supporting somnolence, or sleepiness. “Ashwagandha” in Sanskrit literally means smell of the horse, (ashwa = horse, and gandha = smell), which refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength.
The plant, native to the Indian subcontinent is also found in parts of Africa, and is known to grow in temperate climates, specifically the drier areas. The root of the plant is the part used in herbal products, and is harvested in fall when constituents are at their peak.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS of ASHWAGANDHA
The main phytochemical constituents in Ashwagandha are withanolides, alkaloids and saponins. The root and leaf contain the highest amount of Steroidal compounds which include the lactones Withaferin A, and carbon-27-glycowithanolides, known collectively as Withanolides. It also contains a fair amount of alkaloids (tropine, pseudotropine isopelletrine, and anaferine) and saponins. Some 40 withanolides, 12 alkaloids, and numerous sitoindosides have been isolated. Chemical constituents for the fruits, seeds, and stem include withanone; withaferin A; withanolides A, D, and G; and sitoindosides VII-X. Sitoindosides and acylsterylglucosides in Ashwagandha are anti-stress agents. The sitoindosides VII-X and Withaferin-A, have been shown to have significant anti-stress activity against acute models of experimental stress.
CLASSICAL USE of ASHWAGANDHA in AYURVEDA
Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine practiced in India can be traced back to 6000 BC. For most of these 6000 years Ashwagandha has been used as a Rasayana. The root of Ashwagandha is regarded as a tonic with numerous health benefits some of which are listed below and shall be discussed in detail with the upcoming blogs.
- Ashwagandha has become a popular supplement due to its health benefits.
- Ashwagandha may reduce blood sugar levels through its effects on insulin secretion and sensitivity.
- Ashwagandha supplements may help lower cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals.
- Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in both animal and human studies.
- Limited research available suggests that ashwagandha may help mood disorders.
- Ashwagandha has been shown to support healthy muscle mass, optimal body fat and vitality in men.
- Ashwagandha has been shown to support the body’s natural response to inflammation
- Ashwagandha may help maintain optimal cholesterol and triglyceride levels and hence promote heart health.
- Ashwagandha supplements may improve brain function, memory, reaction times and the ability to perform tasks.
- Supplementing with ashwagandha may be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life.
STRESS and ASHWAGANDHA
In the modern world, stress has become a part of life and needs to be managed in order to maintain longevity and well-being. Stress can cause fatigue, often manifested as agitation and difficulty sleeping.
By providing a nourishing, yet energizing effect, ashwagandha can support a healthy nervous system. Persistently elevated levels of cortisol (resulting in stress and anxiety) may eventually be maintained at its optimal diurnal levels with the use of ashwagandha. This helps restore normal functions of associated organs and a state of physical and emotional balance is established, hence ashwagandha is also known as adaptogen. This quality of ashwagandha makes it a prime supplement to use in the toning and rejuvenation process.
Apart from this, ashwagandha offers numerous other benefits; supports a healthy immune system, promotes healthy functioning of the adrenals, calms mental processes and improves memory, fosters healthy sleep patterns, supports a healthy back and joints, promotes thyroid health, slows down the signs of ageing and benefits a healthy reproductive system in both males and female.
To know more on benefits of ashwagandha and how it pulls those wonders, stay tuned for our blogs.