Details about Ashwagandha

Details about Ashwagandha

Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, poison gooseberry, winter cherry or Indian ginseng is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in the Indian practice of Ayurvedic healing. Used for a wide variety of conditions, it is most well-known for its restorative benefits. The name is Sanskrit in origin, meaning “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.

Belonging to the same family as the tomato, Ashwagandha is a plump shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers. It bears red fruit about the size of a raisin. The herb is native to the dry regions of India, northern Africa, and the Middle East, and today is also grown in more mild climates, including the United States.

Uses

It has been known to benefit people suffering from:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Cortisol build-up

It has been known to alleviate these symptoms and support an energetic and rejuvenating sense of vitality. In the author’s experience, it brings a sense of calm and can sometimes diminish appetite.

Benefits

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:

  • Protects the immune system
  • Helps combat the effects of stress
  • Improves learning, concentration, memory, and reaction time
  • Reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness
  • Helps reduce brain-cell degeneration
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Offers anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Enhances sexual potency for both men and women

As An Adaptogenic Herb

Adaptogens or adaptogenic substances are pharmacological in nature. Their use results in stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis, for example, decreased cellular sensitivity to stress. The European Medicines Agency states in a 2008 reflection paper that the concept requires additional clinical and pre-clinical research. Until that is satisfied, the concept has not been accepted into current terminology. Normal pharmacological theory supports the receptor theory of drug mechanism, and the scientific community calls into question the validity of the concept of adaptogens, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency accept that the term can be used to assess traditional products.

Ashwagandha is a herb with adaptogenic benefits Adaptogens are substances (a combination of amino acids, vitamins, and herbs) that modulate your response to stress or a changing environment. Adaptogens help the body cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment and internal stresses such as anxiety and insomnia.