Long before the advent of modern pharmaceuticals, humans relied on the natural world to supply medicines and therapies. In the past, willow bark was used to relieve headaches. In addition, ginger offered both an energy boost and antibacterial properties.
Many other herbs and plants have been used for everything from depression control to sexual health treatments. These holistic treatments are still available today, and as scientific studies reveal the deleterious effects of pharmaceutical drugs, more people are turning to organic, natural solutions to stay healthy.
One holistic approach that has gained a great deal of notoriety in recent years is ashwagandha, which has a wide range of applications and a long history of use. To learn more about how ashwagandha works and why it may help you, continue reading this article.
What is Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a vital component of traditional Ayurveda, India’s longstanding traditional alternative form of medicine. The botanical name given to the small, woody shrub is Withania somnifera, which provides the node with some of its traditional uses (somnifera being Latin for “sleep-inducing”).
The common name, ashwagandha, is loosely translated as “the smell of horses,” which is an appropriate description of the pungent smell released when the roots and leaves of the plant are crushed. You might be more familiar with it as “Indian ginseng” or winter cherry.
The ashwagandha shrub is native to the Indian subcontinent and can be found in India, Pakistan, and other nearby areas. It is also native to North Africa and can also be found in the Middle East, China and Nepal.
However, due to its use as an alternative health treatment, as well as its use in food preparation, it has been exported around the world. The shrub thrives in dry, sunny locations where temperatures do not get very cold. It grows best in well-drained soil with minimal irrigation. The shrub is short, not more than 36 inches tall, and has a low growing pattern. The leaves are yellowish-green and elliptical in color.
The flowers are bell-shaped and, after pollination, turn into red-orange berries. But don’t be fooled by the Indian ginseng nickname. This plant has nothing to do with ginseng at all. It’s more closely related to tomatoes, potatoes, and deadly nightshade.
The Effects of Ashwagandha
Winter cherry, Queen of Ayurveda, Indian ginseng; this is an herb that not only has many names, but also many effects. The health benefits are mainly based on their composition. Ashwagandha powder contains dosage substances that are rarely found in other plants.
The potent, health-promoting properties of the individual active ingredients are not solely responsible for the effect of ashwagandha. The full potential of the impact is unfolded only when the different active ingredients interact and influence each other.
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is used for stress, anxiety, dependence and listlessness, mild depression, excess weight, and low libido in men and women, among other issues. Most studies also show that it treats low testosterone levels, imbalanced hormones, weak immune systems, thyroid disorders, high blood sugar levels, and helps with low concentration.
The best-known effect of ashwagandha is the adaptogenic effect. Adaptogens are plant substances that help the body cope better with physical and mental stress situations. This effect is mainly attributed to glycosidic with anolides. These are plant substances found in the leaves as well as in the roots of the ashwagandha plant. The positive effect on stress is mainly attributed to withanoside IV by scientists.
The mechanism is not yet fully understood. However, scientists suspect that plant substances alter neuronal stimulation from stress. As a result, fewer stress hormones are released in a stressful situation than is usually the case.
A positive effect on the stress hormone cortisol is demonstrated in ashwagandha’s studies. After taking the ashwagandha extract, the cortisol level of subjects decreased by 14.5 to 27.9 percent. This effect is higher than that of a large number of other supplements.
The latest brain research shows that stress hormones like cortisol alert the body. This hormone was important for our ancestors to mobilize energy reserves in a “fight-or-flight” situation. Simply put, if our ancestors were faced with a big animal, they would get scared, release stress hormones, and flee faster or fight more fearlessly.
Today, for other reasons, many people have a lot of cortisol in their bodies without having the need to flight or fight anything. Cortisol plays a crucial role in anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Therefore, it is not surprising that ashwagandha extract has a positive effect on anxiety disorders.
The plant is said to make the person who consumes it strong and sturdy, according to Ayurvedic medicine. It was first used as a medicinal plant for Ayurvedic medicine. As a result, the users of this traditional Indian healing art were the first to gain full knowledge of its effects.
Ashwagandha plays a unique role in ancient Asian medical systems. It is considered to be one of the most valuable herbs. Science confirms many of the effects of ashwagandha that the ancient Indians used thousands of years ago. The findings of today show that not only the quality of the herb but also the dosage of ashwagandha and the form in which it is ingested play an important role.