Ashwagandha is a highly used and important herb within Ayurveda.
The name Ashwagandha means “smell of the horse” in Sanskrit, which refers to its distinct smell and its ability to enhance strength. Ashwagandha is also called Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry and belongs to the somnifera family of plants.
Native to India and parts of Africa, all the parts of this little shrub have been used for decades to treat various ailments and conditions
Ashwagandha helps the body deal with stress, making it an adaptogen. And it contains a very high amount of withanolides, which fight tumour growth and inflammation. Ashwagandha also provides many other benefits for your body and brain. It’s known to lower blood sugar, reduce stress levels, help with anxiety or depression. It also improves brain function and concentration.
Ashwagandha’s ability to help control blood sugar in diabetics and healthy people is well documented. Studies show that it improves insulin secretion and stability in muscle cells. A study of people with type 2 taking Ashwagandha for a month had significantly lower fasting blood sugar levels
Ashwagandha contains high quantities of Withaferin, a compound that causes apoptosis. Apoptosis is the “programmed death” in cancer cells. It also stops new cancers cells from forming by disrupting their ability to function.
Studies show how Ashwagandha could be beneficial in treating various cancers, ranging from lung and breast to brain and colon. One study proved that withaferin alone, or in conjunction with other cancer mediation, reduced ovarian tumours by 70%. It also stopped cancer from spreading.
Many studies have proven that ashwagandha helps to reduce inflammation. It does this by increasing the availability of the bodies natural killer cells. These cells fight inflammation, infections and disease.
This makes ashwagandha a great daily option to fight against heart disease prevention.
Many people in today’s face-paced world suffer from excessive stress levels. This is caused by high concentrations of cortisol in our bodies. Excessive cortisol results in the body storing abdominal fat faster than normal. It also elevates blood sugar levels. Studies show that Ashwagandha can reduce cortisol levels in the body by an average of 30%.
Ayurveda has known about Ashwagandha ability to reduce stress. Research shows that Ashwagandha achieves this by not allowing the brain to signal the nervous system via the stress pathways. Many studies have proven that Ashwagandha can reduce stress and anxiety in people. Especially in people who suffer from both.
Recent studies also show that Ashwagandha could be used to treat depression. A two-month study on a group of over fifty people who suffer from chronic depression showed a decrease of 79%. The same group showed a 67% decrease in anxiety and stress and an improvement in sleep quality and length.
Ashwagandha also has a powerful effect on boosting testosterone levels in men. It’s known to increase testosterone and so, reproductive health. One study of a group of men who took Ashwagandha supplements showed that they had increased sperm motility and count. The same study also showed increased muscle gains and fat loss. They also showed to have a much higher concentration of antioxidants in their blood.
This makes Ashwagandha a fantastic fitness supplement for gym goes and athletes. Combined with all the other benefits this fantastic herb offers, its no wonder that it is one of the most used herbs in Ayurveda.