Effects and Benefits of Ashwagandha
Herbs have their own effects and benefits for the human and animal life. Almost all the medicines prepared ayurvedically or the home-based medicines are made up of herbs. While some of the herbs are poisonous for human or animal consumption, a majority of the herbs have proven to be beneficial to cure one or the other diseases. One of these beneficiary herbs is Ashwagandha.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, or what is commonly known as ‘Withania somnifera’ is a shrub proven to have medical benefits by the Indian science of Ayurveda. A lot of experts also call this shrub as a ‘poison gooseberry’ even though it is used for cure for a lot of things. When you look at the shrub, it has hairy leaves and is egg-shaped sized. It has a tiny light green flower and it comes in clusters. Its fruit looks round in shape and has yellow seeds.
Ashwagandha is, however, usually seen in a cluster of 20-25. It has a long root which is bitter in taste, astringent and hot. Even though it is bitter in taste, the roots of ashwagandha are mainly used for the betterment of the nervous system and the respiratory system. The medicinal form extracted from ashwagandha is used in making tonics, rejuvenator, sedative, nerve medicines and aphrodisiac. Over and above these, it is also known for its adaptogenic properties – relaxing properties which act as an agent in removing stress from the mind and body. Even though the shrub is majorly seen in India, it can also be found in other Asian countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Ayurvedic benefits of Ashwagandha
Nervous system: As mentioned, the medicinal form of Ashwagandha is majorly used for the betterment of the nervous system. It helps in relaxing the nervous system.
Physical stress: Excessive physical work can lead to muscle tension. Ashwagandha helps in distressing and helps in relaxing the muscles of the body.
Tonics for lifetime: Ashwagandha can be used as a tonic. It has many properties that help in the longevity and betterment of the life.
Joint pains: Our joints experiences pain very often. The medicinal form of Ashwagandha helps in reducing the pains in the joints and relaxing the muscles and the joints in the body.
Rejuvenation of the body: Ashwagandha rejuvenates the body. ‘Madhya Rasayana’, an ayurvedic term which means to increase three important aspects of human body- comprehension, memory, and recollection can be achieved through Ashwagandha.
Neuro-psycho relation: A key property in Ashwagandha helps in nourishing the relation between the mind and body. It helps in regeneration of the neuro-psycho response. It facilitates the balance between the mind and the sense which also leads to a sound sleep.
Mental and emotional stress: Saying that Ashwagandha has many properties that can help in reducing the mental and emotional stress and balance between the neuro-psycho relations, it not only helps one to get a sound sleep, but also keep the mind in equilibrium.
Nourishes the whole body: Ashwagandha not only focuses on the cures but it can also be used as an intoxicant. It purifies the body by removing the toxins and provides nourishment. The cleansing properties help in removing all the unwanted particles in the body.
Immune-defensive properties: One of the important properties of Ashwagandha is that it is immune-defensive. It helps in restoring the human natural immune defense capacity.
Other benefits: Ashwagandha also helps in making the balance of vata and also helps in the pacification of the kapha, which is one rare quality that is generally not found in other plants.
Ashwagandha is strong in nature. It is always advised to take Ashwagandha along with other herbs in order to balance the heating generating effect of Ashwagandha.
Specified and Nutritional value:
It must be also noted that the nutritional value of Ashwagandha is immense. Ashwagandha possesses sodium potassium components in its roots. It also possesses enormous calories that are hardly found in any other products and roots. This helps the bones and the nerves to develop strength which leads to the better functioning of the body.
Medicinal properties & benefits of Ashwagandha
After looking at the ayurvedic properties of Ashwagandha, let’s look at the numerous medicinal properties of ashwagandha:
Increase blood cell count: Ashwagandha helps in increasing the white blood cell count. This property helps in the betterment of the blood flow to make an individual healthy.
Produces Antigen: It also helps in the production of the various antigens which are inevitable or required for the protection of the human body.
Strengthens Nervous system and Lungs: Another important benefit of Ashwagandha is that it strengthens the nervous system and prevents any possible diseases related to it. Diseases or complications related to the lungs are also nullified.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties which help in easing down the swellings and keeping the good blood circulation in the body.
Increases Immunity: It also helps in boosting the immunity and fighting foreign particle invasion in the body.
Reduces fatigue: Ashwagandha helps in elevating the body strength and eliminating negative traits that are caused by the fatigue.
Stops aging: Ashwagandha has anti-aging properties. It helps in avoiding reducing the joint pains and muscle tensions as we age. It also helps in developing strength in the body while otherwise it would feel weak.
Increases Sperm count: One of the least talked about benefits of Ashwagandha is that it helps in increasing the sperm count. It enhances the quality of sperms as well.
Prevention from Cancer: Regular intake of ashwagandha suppresses kapha and it also helps in preventing leucorrhoea disease. Ashwagandha has the property to prevent the growth of cancerous cells inside the body. It helps in generating reactive oxygen species which targets the cancer cells but not the normal cells in human body.
Destroys tumour cell: One of the properties of Ashwagandha is that it destroys the tumor cells in the body. This medicinal form is rarely seen in any other herbs.
Relieves stress: Ashwagandha keeps the level of stress or, which is also known as ‘cortisol’ in check. Several experiments conducted on humans have shown that intake of Ashwagandha helps in reducing the stress levels to greater extent.
Minimises Anxiety: It also helps in reducing anxiety. Proper intake of Ashwagandha helps in reducing the anxiety which is a result of over-stress that we experience in the ever challenging world.
Helps in growth and muscles: Research has proven that ashwagandha has the property to improve the body muscle mass growth and growth of human body.
Reduces cholesterol and blood fat: Ashwagandha also has the property to reduce the body cholesterol or the bad sugar of the body that affects the heart functioning. It helps in reduction of the blood fat.
Boosts memory: Several studies have shown that Ashwagandha has the unique property that facilitates boosting of the memory.
Medical supplement: You can use ashwagandha as a medical supplement. It also helps in keeping a check the conditions of arthritis, lupus and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Prevents pressure to increase and checks Sugar: Ashwagandha helps in keeping a check on blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Often, people consume supplements for it. Perhaps, with regular intake of Ashwagandha, one need not depend on supplements, rather choose an ayurvedic path.
Minimises Anaemia: With increasing bodily strength and reduction in stress, Ashwagandha also helps in eliminating anaemia or haematopoiesis.
Fights with cataract: Several studies have shown that regular intake of Ashwagandha minimizes the formation of cataract in the eye. This property helps in increasing the longevity of the eye and better vision, even if you’re old!
Kidney function improves: Ashwagandha has the property of enhancing the kidney functioning. It can counteract the effects of drugs on kidney.
Smooth skin: As mentioned, Ashwagandha has anti-aging properties. This also has an effect on the skin. Ashwagandha helps in betterment of the texture of the skin and also helps in reducing wrinkles which are inevitable with age.
Tone up your skin: You can use ashwagandha to tone your skin and reduce skin inflammation. You will be amazed to see clear glowing skin without spots, boils or any kind of spots if you regularly consume ashwagandha.
Side effects of Ashwagandha
Every coin has two sides. The negative and side effects of consuming Ashwagandha are predominant and cannot be ignored.
Ashwagandha has been used in India for centuries and without any problems. Ancient India has seen the root of Ashwagandha plant helping in keeping the stress under control and elevating the mood. However, overuse, misuse or using high, concentrated Ashwagandha can also cause severe side effects. Some of the side effects are: developing gastrointestinal disorders, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea.
Ashwagandha is used in the treatment of thyroid disorder. But if it is used without expert advice, then it may increase the secretion of thyroid hormone and disrupt the hormone secretion sequence.
To summarize, Ashwagandha has both the boons and the banes. In-take of Ashwagandha should be under supervision of an experienced vaidya or someone who has the knowledge of the right quantity of intake with reference to your issue and preference. Ashwagandha as a herb is definitely beneficial, only if used wisely and with the help from the expert.