ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda. It is commonly known as the Great Indian Ginseng. It is traditionally used as an adaptogen. It is commonly used as a nervine tonic and used for rasayana preparations. Rasayana is described as a herbal or metallic preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health. It can be given to people of all age groups, but really very helpful for the elderly.
Botanical name: Withania somnifera
Common Indian names are:
- Gujarati – Asam, Asoda, Ghodasoda
- Hindi – Asgandh
- Malayalam – Ammukuram
- Marathi – Asgundh, Kanchuki, Askandha
- Kingdom: plantae
- Order: Solanales
- Family: Solanacea
- Genus: Withania
- Clade: Angiosperms
Ashwagandha is mostly seen in sub-marginal waste lands and low fertility areas. It grows in red, sandy, black and loamy soil with good water drainage.
It grows well in sub-tropical climate. It can be cultivated up to the altitudes of 1000 meters and in temperatures ranging between 20 and 30 degree Celsius. This herb commonly grows in all parts of India from the northern tropics to southern parts.
Ashwagandha Parts used
Mainly used: Roots and Leaves, rarely used seeds and flowers.
- Roots – The roots are the most important part of this herb and are used in various herbal formulations. The roots have aphrodisiac, diuretic, anti-helminthic, anti-oxidant, anti-depressant and anti-diabetic properties. Roots are also used in the treatment of neurological problems, constipation, infertility, and skin disorders.
- Leaves – The leaves of Ashwagandha have analgesic and antioxidant properties, so they can be used for treating viral infections, cough, cold, fever and chronic pain.
- Seeds – The seeds have anthelminthic properties and are used to prevent and treat infectious diseases and parasitic invasion.
- Flowers – The flowers have potent diuretic and aphrodisiac properties. Hence, the plant helps to improve fertility and treat renal problems such as kidney stones.
Ashwagandha Chemical composition:
The chemical combination of ashwagandha includes alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine, cuseohygrine, anahygrine), steroidal lactone (withanolides, withaferines), and saponins.
Moreover, it has anti-stress agents such as sitoindosides and acylsteryl glucosides.
Many of these constituents support immuno-modulatory action, which means that this herb will help the body to adapt to internal and external changes while maintaining and bosting immunity.
It has anti-tumor, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), neuro-protective (maintenance of nervous system), anti-microbial ( action against micro-organism growth), anti- inflammatory, cardio-protective and anti-arthritic properties.
Properties of Ashwagandha as per Ayurveda:
In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is particularly used to balance excessive Vata Dosha, so used by many Ayurveda acharyas for patients suffering with Aamvata (Rheumatoid Arthritis), brain disorders (stress, anxiety, depression, hysteria, and insomnia) However, due of its heating (Ushna Guna) and unctuous (Snigdha Guna) properties, it can imbalance Pitta Dosha in some rare cases. But due this Ushna and Snigdha Gunas, it is widely used for people having auto-immune disorders, low libido, low stamina and strength. It is equally good for both men and women, and for all age groups.
The quality of Ashwagandha makes it a prime supplement to use in the toning and rejuvenation process. Besides this, it has a very energizing and calming effect. It offers a number of benefits such as:
- Supports a healthy immune system
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- Calms mental processes (apoptogenic)
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- Supports reproductive health in both males and females.
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- Improves muscle, joint and bone health and suppresses pain.
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- Promotes Thyroid health
- Improves the function of adrenals glands
- Helps regulate and maintain healthy blood glucose level.
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- Improves the energy level, strength, and vitality
- Maintains body metabolism
With the use of this, stress & agitation are relieved quickly and you may not need any modern anti-depressants that have many side effects.
How to use Ashwagandha
It can be taken as a powder, capsules, tablets or liquid extract after meal at any time of the day.
Traditionally, it is taken in the powder form or capsules with warm milk or water.
This reduces Vata Dosha and fosters healthy sleep patterns, supports the reproductive system and boosts strength.
It is very beneficial when taken with ghee and honey (equal parts) as it helps to provide overall nourishment and rejuvenation. In summer months, honey can be substituted with sugar. This combination improves female health and strengthens muscles, joints and bones as well.
Dose is 3-6 grams of powder or 1-2 capsules once or twice a day.
Ashwagandha Side effects
Ashwagandha is considered safe for consumption if taken as per the suggested dosage. High dose of Ashwagandha can cause abdominal discomfort, itching, diarrhoea, and vomiting.
Pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised not to take Ashwagandha, as the herb may cause premature delivery and miscarriage due to its spasmolytic activity on the uterus.
Besides this, there are no reported side effects of it.
Ashwagandha, ‘The Great Indian Ginseng’ is the most valued herb in Ayurveda and has always been a major part of many Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
Yukti Herbs are one of the most reputed Ayurvedic brands from India, and their products are sure to be of great quality.
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