Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng, is considered one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha’s botanical name is Withania Somnifera. It is a shrub belonging to the Solanaceae family. Ashwagandha actually received the name because its roots have the odor of a horse (Ashwa means horse and gandha means odor) and because it gives the body the strength of a horse.
The main part used is the root of the herb. The various medicinal properties of ashwagandha are attributed to the compounds called withanolides. Ayurvedic doctors have used ashwagandha extensively to cure people for all ailments, and it has since gained immense respect from herbal healers worldwide.
Being an adaptogen, ashwagandha has the ability to improve physical energy, improve the immune system, increase resistance to respiratory infections, increase physical endurance, improve mood and concentration and increase sexual capacity and fertility.
Following are some common uses of ashwagandha:
- It nourishes the adrenal glands and thus is essential in cases of adrenal fatigue
- It suppresses pain
- It can be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout
- It works as an anti-inflammatory, therefore, reducing swelling and restoring blood supply
- It improves mental ability, along with focus and concentration, and nourishes the brain
- It increases muscular endurance and physical stamina
- It is a powerful immune-system enhancer and actually increases white blood cell count
- It is a respiratory tonic
- Is helpful in treating asthma
- It boosts thyroid function and can actually help with the production of thyroid hormones
- It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce the affects of aging
- It has healing properties helpful for healing wounds and injuries
- It relieves stress and helps promote calmness and mental satisfaction
- It is essential in the treatment of anxiety
- It can help relieve depression
- It can relieve high-blood pressure
- It strengthens the heart muscle
- It can help relieve nervous tics
- It helps relieve the feeling of numbness in the hands and feet
- It can increase sperm count
- It is an aphrodisiac
- It is a helpful treatment for ADD/ADHD
- It is an essential treatment for panic attacks
- It helps one sleep at night and is essential in the treatment of insomnia
- It rejuvenates the body
- It is essential in treating fatigue
- It is very important in the recovery of long illnesses, tuberculosis or surgeries
- It helps regulate blood sugar levels and suppresses sugar cravings
- It decreases the effects of free radical damage
- New research has even shown ashwagandha to be an alternative for cancer prevention and treatment
- It has been shown to slow tumor growth
Are you convinced yet?
I use ashwagandha for myself to stay in balance and for its calming and soothing effects; I use it for my children during the cold and flu season so they stay healthy or during times of increased stress; I use it in my pediatric patients to treat anxiety, ADD/ADHD, insomnia, depression, hypothyroidism, respiratory infections, mono and other diseases.
Ashwagandha is safe for long-term use. The only side effect could be occasional slight drowsiness, however, I haven’t ever had this side effect reported to me. Most claim immediate calm, balance and energy, along with mental clarity and satisfaction.