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Natural home remedy - Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha health benefits and home remedies
Ashwagandha/Withania somnifera

The Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. Called the 'Indian ginseng', its effectiveness is thought to be similar to the herb ginseng, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a large number of diseases. Its a small woody shrub with bright red fruit. The root possesses the most valued tonic properties. The bitter leaves and fruits are also used for medicinal purposes. The berries are sometimes used to coagulate milk to make cheese.

Botanical Name - Withania Somnifera

Sanskrit - Ashwagandha

Tamil - Ammukira

Common name - Winter cherry

Hindi - Asgandh

Health benefits of Ashwagandha

Research shows that the herb possesses enormous health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory and rejuvenating properties. It also benefits the endocrine, cardiopulmonary and central nervous systems. It is considered antithelmintic(clearing worms) and antitussive (alleviating cough) in tradional medicine. Over thousands of years of empirical experiences and various studies on animals have attested to the outstanding medicinal properties of this herb.

Anti-inflammatory health benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is very effective in certain rheumetological conditions. This may be due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Animal studies has shown that the powdered root of Aswagandha, considerably reduced severity of pain in rats. In a clinical trial, it was found that the herb not only reduced the severity of pain but also the disability in arthritis. It is said to protect against cartilage damage associated with osteoarthritis.

Antitumor health benefits of Ashwagandha

In trials with urethane induced animals, it was found that, in addition to providing protection from carcinogenic effects, Ashwagandha reversed the adverse effects of urethane on total leukocyte count, lymphocyte count, body weight and mortality. The herb is also thought to inhibit the growth of tumors and have the ability to reduce cancer cells.

Anti-stress health benefits

Ashwagandha is said to have an anti-anxiety effect and also helps to ease depression. It has the ability to stabilise moods and has sleep inducing properties. In fact, the name 'somnifera' in Latin means sleep inducer. It is an adaptogen herb. Adaptogens allows one to adapt to a variety of stressful conditions. It leads to heightened stamina and endurance.

Immunomodulatory health benefits

It stimulates the immune system and strengthens it. Ashwagandha can enhance the immune function by increasing immunoglobulin production and regulating antibody production. When tested on mice, the root extract of Ashwagandha showed significant immunostimulatory activity.

Anti-oxidant health benefits

Researchers have discovered that some of the chemicals in Ashwagandha are powerful antioxidants and hence have great health benefits. Traditional medicine has used the herb for many diseases associated with radical oxidative damage. The active principles of Aswagandha - sistoindosides VII - X and withaferin A have been tested for antioxidant activity on animals. It was found that the herb has an antioxidant effect on the brain which may be responsible for its various medicinal properties. It is hence believed that the ashwagandha can help people suffering from Alzheimers, Parkinsons and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Ashwagandha Health Benefits for the Brain

The blood flow to the hippocampus is said to reduce as people grow old and this makes the the brain prone to damage. This is because of declining levels of glutathione within the brain cells, which is an important anti-aging compound. Ashwagandha helps raise the level of this compound in the brain, it helps to improve brain function and memory. Ashwagandha also helps to protect against degenerative brain disorders.

Scientific studies show that Ashwaganda extracts help in dealing with stress, and improving mood. Ashwagandha's effect on brain function is due to the compound known as withanolides which helps improve not only the overall health of brain cells but also how well the brain cells communicate.

Health tonic for men

Ashwagandha is the Ayurvedic answer to ginseng. It is valued specifically for its rejuvenating effects on glandular function, stamina and energy, and is the main lifelong health tonic for men. It also forms part of the treatment for impotence.

Ashwagandha Home Remedies

From Dk's 'Home Herbal'

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