An adaptogenic herb used in India for centuries on end, Ashwagandha, also known as “winter cherry” grows extensively in the Indian subcontinent and across North America, North Africa and the Middle East. It is a woody shrub with small flowers which keep blooming throughout the year and bears berry like small fruits. But it is only the roots and seeds which are used extensively to improve the general health. Some of the specific uses of Ashwagandha relate to-
- Ashwagandha is a great stress buster. It functions as antidepressants as well as tranquilisers and is known to bring relief from various states of anxiety and different stages of depression.
- Nervous tension, when prolonged for a very long duration becomes chronic. This, in turn, results in premature ageing due to an increase in oxidative stress. Ashwagandha, with its strong anti-oxidant property prevents this from happening.
- Ashwagandha has also been seen to be extremely effective in significantly reducing the degeneration of brain cells which might be happening either due to age or stress. In fact, it has been found by researchers to enhance the regeneration of certain components of nerve cells and synapses. This proves beyond doubt that it is an extremely useful herb for treating neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Ashwagandha not only ensures the well-being of brain cells thereby giving a huge boost to the normal functions of the brain, it also helps to repair damaged cells and encourage their regrowth.
- Regular and routine intake of Ashwagandha also benefits the heart by reducing LDL or bad cholesterol, serum cholesterol as well as triglycerides which are the main causes of heart attack.
- Ashwagandha also helps to control diabetes by reducing the level of fasting blood sugar in the body. The lipid profile thereby improves resulting in an increase in energy levels, reduction in fatigue, correction of sleep disorders and a general feeling of well-being.
- Ashwagandha also inhibits or retards the growth of carcinogenic cells in the body. It is thus able to successfully stop the spread of cancer related to the breast, colon and lungs by putting a stop to the reproduction of cancerous cells.
- In fact Ashwagandha acts like an antigiogenesis inhibitor thereby preventing the cancer infected cells from producing new blood vessels in an effort to support its spread. Thus Ashwagandha has the ability to stop both the incidence of tumour as well as its multiplicity.
- Skin cancer can also be kept at bay by the regular use of Ashwagandha.
- Ashwagandha has an amazing ability to act as a scavenger of free radicals thereby terminating harmful chain reactions from starting.
- Antimicrobial properties attributed to Ashwagandha works in confluence with the human body’s ability to produce antibodies against potentially life-threatening bacteria like Salmonella.
- Ashwagandha has a positive impact on the functions of the thyroid. In cases of an overactive thyroid, this herb helps to reduce its functions whereas in cases where the thyroid is subdued, Ashwagandha helps to stimulate enhanced activity for the same.
- When taken in by pregnant women, Ashwagandha has been seen to act an aid in the proper development of the foetus. It also helps to make the female reproductive system strong and healthy.
- Ashwagandha is also considered to be a very potent aphrodisiac due to its considerable sex-enhancing properties. This is the very reason why Ashwagandha finds special mention throughout history and is commonly called the “Indian Ginseng”. (Read Benefit of Ginseng Root for Women here)
- Ashwagandha also works to ensure that all the psychological functions of the human body are kept at an optimum so that the general health of a person improves along with the proper functioning of his body.
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