Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is native to India and Africa and has been used for thousands of years as a revitalizer in traditional Ayurvedic medicine (from India). This adaptogenic herb is derived from the root of a plant distantly related to tomatoes and potatoes.
Ashwagandha, one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing, has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions, and is most well-known for its restorative benefits. In Sanskrit Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” indicating that the herb imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion, and has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness.
Ashwagandha is also used as an “adaptogen” to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic. Its may improve thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging.Ashwagandha may also help regulate blood sugar which aids in suppressing sugar cravings. Research shows ashwagandha may be a promising alternative for cancer treatment and prevention. Ashwagandha seems to show positive effects on the endocrine, cardiac, and central nervous systems. It is one herb that could help your body produce its own thyroid hormones.
Ashwagandha is a calming herb that helps to normalize the entire HPA axis, providing a subtle balancing effect on all the systems of the body. Ashwagandha calms the hypothalamus (included in the HPA axis), which regulate important functions such as hormone levels, temperature, weight, and sleep cycles.
By restoring balance in the HPA axis and increasing resistance to stress in the body, ashwagandha helps to improve sleep, reduce brain fog and fatigue, aid in weight loss, and decrease symptoms of menopause.
Ashwagandha contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides (steroidal lactones), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars. While the leaves and fruit have valuable therapeutic properties, the root of the Ashwagandha plant is the part most commonly used in Western herbal remedies.
Medical researchers have been studying Ashwagandha for years with great interest and have completed more than 200 studies on the healing benefits of this botanical. Some key examples of the healing effects of Ashwagandha are:
Ashwagandha is one of the most effective herbs for balancing hormones and reducing the detrimental effects of stress. Studies have shown, ashwagandha helps to:
Ashwagandha also offers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune enhancing properties. It is commonly used in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and weight loss protocols.
When feeling stressed, the body goes into a “fight or flight” response and secretes increased amounts of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This occurs through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (a central hormone pathway), which includes the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands.
In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the main uses of ashwagandha root extract is to enhance memory and improve brain function. One of the mechanisms responsible for this effect is ashwagandha’s antioxidant action. Since oxidative stress contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, lessening oxidative damage may offer neuroprotection.
Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha root extract on rats and found that it helps to prevent some instances of memory impairment and oxidative stress of the brain.
Stress affects both mind and body and can be a strain that leads to underperformance. Most people will also testify that stress reduces quality of life. Ashwagandha has been documented in Ayurvedic and Greek medicine for its stress-combating properties.
The Department of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry at India’s Asha Hospital orchestrated a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving sixty-four subjects with a history of chronic stress. After separating the participants into control and study groups, the study group began supplementing with high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract. After two months, the study group reported significant improvements in all stress measurements and quality of life; all without serious side effects.
Additionally, stress is known to be a contributing factor for male infertility. Along with Tribulus terrestris, Ashwagandha is prized for its stimulating effects on fertility.
The Department of Biochemistry at C.S.M. Medical University conducted a study involving sixty infertile men who, however, did have normal sperm production. Participants were given five grams of ashwagandha root powder every day for three months. At the study’s conclusion, stress reductions and improvements in semen quality were observed in many of the participants and 14% of the participants’ partners ended up becoming pregnant.
Ashwagandha offers many positive health benefits. If it could help you, try Ginseng Fuzion my formula for boosting energy and promoting a positive response to stress. It offers a blend of the six best herbal adaptogens, including ashwagandha, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Be aware that ashwagandha may cause drowsiness; if you’re taking any medications that could interact with that effect, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new nutritional supplement programs- which many conventional practitioners, unfortunately, thumb their nose at anyway.
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