Ashwagandha is a plant that not only helps treat many medical conditions but also gives various health benefits. Its name is actually a Sanskrit word that means “smells like horse” – which makes sense since the plant is said to produce strength and vitality like that of a horse.
The plant contains various health-boosting compounds, such as:
- Withanolides. This anti-inflammatory substance can only be found in this plant.
- Alkaloids. These are used as relaxants for various muscular disorders. They’re typically the key components of pain relievers and tranquilizers.
- Choline. This essential nutrient is vital for heart and liver health, as well as for maintaining cognitive functions.
- Fatty Acids. These are crucial in various cellular and neurological functions. They’re also important in skin health, hair and nail growth, and micronutrient absorption.
Ashwagandha also contains combinations of polyphenols and phytosterols, making it a very powerful tonic.
Wondrous Health Perks
- The plant is known to:
- Boost immunity
- Delay the signs of aging
- Prevent insomnia (it helps regulate sleep)
- Improve brain functions such as memory, alertness, and concentration
- Encourage hormonal balance which can also combat stress (inhibiting cortisol, the stress hormone) and relieve menopausal symptoms (such as mood swings and hot flashes)
- Increase energy, stamina, and endurance
- Support sexual health (it can be used as an aphrodisiac)
- Promote glowing skin, as well as strong and healthy hair
- Relieve pains (including joint pains)
- Heal skin sores and alleviate swelling
Treating Serious Conditions
Aside from having numerous therapeutic uses, ashwagandha can also be useful for the treatment or many serious diseases.
I. Cardiovascular Diseases
As mentioned, ashwagandha plays a vital role in maintaining heart health. In fact, it can lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. It can also prevent the onset of some heart diseases such as atherosclerosis.
II. Neurological Disorders
Ashwagandha does not only promote the healthy growth of nerve cells, but it also protects them from the harmful effects of the environment.
Studies have shown that the plant can be effectively used as a medicine for reducing or overcoming anxiety and depression. Also, it’s proven to improve those with more severe mental conditions. It can even delay the progression of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease.
This exotic plant has also shown anti-cancer potential. Existing animal research suggests that the herbal medicine can slow down or even decrease the growth of cancerous tumors in various organs of the body including:
How is Ashwagandha taken?
Ashwagandha can be taken in various forms such as powder, tablet, or capsule. It is traditionally taken in its powder form and sometimes mixed with warm milk and honey (or sugar).
Ashwagandha is generally safe, especially when taken orally in short periods. Depending on the medications you’re currently prescribed with though, taking ashwagandha might prove to be a bit risky. For example, the plant’s relaxing effect might add to the effect of sedatives – leading to excessive sleepiness or even drowsiness.
So, just to be sure, don’t forget to ask your doctor about this medicinal herb before taking it in any form.
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