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7 Important Health Benefits Ashwagandha Provides

28

MARCH, 2016

Pronounced ash-wuh-ghan-da, this uniquely named herb is a wonderful supplement used for a powerhouse of health benefits.

Ashwagandha is Sanskrit for “the smell of a horse,” which implies that the herb will restore vitality and strength. It gets the name from the roots smelling like horse sweat. It is sometimes called Indian ginseng despite not being related to ginseng whatsoever, but is called that because they both have revitalizing benefits.

It’s not related to ginseng, but it is related to the tomato in the nightshade family and even bears raisin-sized red fruit. The official name of the plant is Withania somnifera, which means “sleep-inducing,” and it is native to India.

The roots are mainly used, but the flowers and leaves can also be useful.

Besides insomnia, Ashwagandha is used for many ailments but also generally as a tonic for overall health, vitality and longevity. It has been shown that it can possibly help with diabetes as well by improving hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity.

7 Health Benefits Ashwagandha Is Known For

Inflammation

Ashwagandha has been proven to work well on inflammation, which is a huge problem in the Western world. Chronic inflammation is believed to be the source of a lot of chronic diseases because inflammation is a symptom as well as a cause of problems. Inflammation is a function of the immune system where a part of the body swells and gets red to signal that there is damage and it can also damage the area around it. Chronic inflammation that is not treated can cause more and more damage, causing more and more inflammation.

This herb has shown a great effect on inflammation, even being as effective as a dose of hydrocortisone.

Alleviates Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the major inflammatory diseases. The suffix –itis means
inflammation, so arthritis is the inflammation of the joints. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha is very beneficial for those with osteoarthritis, especially paired with turmeric, zinc and Boswellia.

Ashwagandha can imitate the neurotransmitter in the body that reduces stress and relaxes you..

Mood Disorders

It is known for its calming properties, and a tea made from the plant or warm milk containing it can relieve stress and calm anxiety. Observations have shown that Ashwagandha is a natural sedative that works best after up to six weeks of steady usage. It has been shown to work in the same way as aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that calms the nervous system.

Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen, this can help the body adapt to new, stressful situations. It can do this by increasing the body’s resistance to stress.

This herb has been shown to be effective for not only stress, anxiety and depression but also seizures, paranoia, bipolar disorder and panic attacks.

It has also been known to be a powerful aphrodisiac and libido enhancer for men and women, as well as helping with fertility.

Immune System

Ashwagandha is known to stimulate the immune system. Mice treated with Ashwagandha demonstrated an increase in both red and white blood cell count as well as platelet count and the concentration of hemoglobin. A study done on immune-suppressed mice treated with Ashwagandha showed that they recovered faster from infection than mice that were not given herbs.

Ashwagandha also shows antioxidant activity. This helps the immune system by fighting free radicals, cells that are unstable because they are missing an electron. They steal electrons from other cells, causing a chain reaction of damage. Antioxidants stop this activity by donating an electron and ending the chain.

For Skin Problems

The antioxidants contained in Ashwagandha are great for skin. Damage to skin cells by free radicals are one of the major causes of aging skin. Excess sun exposure can create free radicals and accelerate the aging of skin.

Ashwagandha can also stimulate collagen production, which keeps the skin tighter and young looking. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha can stop enzymes that break down collagen and hyaluronic acid as well. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in skin and is found in connective tissue, which is why it is a popular skin care ingredient.

Ashwagandha has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which makes it great for working on flesh wounds. A poultice made out of Ashwagandha and applied to the problem area can heal the wound quickly.

A lot of skin conditions are inflammatory. Acne, eczema, rosacea, they all involve redness and irritation. Since Ashwagandha is anti-inflammatory, it works great on skin. Acne is caused by pores getting clogged and the bacteria trapped in them causing inflammation.

Ashwagandha can also be used for keratitis, a skin condition resulting in rough, dry skin.

Brain Functions

This herb is also used for enhancing cognitive function and improving memory. It has been shown to help the user focus as well as lengthen their attention span. Ashwagandha has also been shown to help prevent the development of morphine tolerance.

One of the factors in brain function breaking down as we age is the neurotransmitter acetylcholine being underproduced. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha stimulates this production. Because of this, it has been shown to enhance memory and help with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found that Ashwagandha can actually repair pathways in the brain.

Tumors

When a patient goes through chemotherapy or radiation for cancer, their white blood cell count is compromised. Studies suggest that Ashwagandha can increase white blood cell production if taken during cancer treatment.

Studies also suggest that Ashwagandha can inhibit the growth of tumors as well as enhance sensitivity to radiation by reducing antioxidant activity in cancer cells.

Always consult your doctor before taking a new supplement. Ashwagandha should not be taken with other medication such as for seizures or anxiety, and pregnant women should not take it either.

Ashwagandha can be taken in a daily capsule supplement, or in a powdered form. The powder can be added to milk or tea in order to use it.

Do you currently take an Ashwagandha supplement?

We’d love to hear about it!