Ashwagandha derives from two Sanskrit words; ashwa meaning horse sweat like odor, and gandha for essence. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) aka Indian ginseng gives its users the stamina and strength of a “stallion” and or improving muscle strength. According to Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is used for prolonging life, enhancing vigor and sexual prowess as well as its recuperative powers. In Africa, the southern Sotho people use a decoction of the root for chills and colds. African people use Indian ginseng as a uterine tonic for women who habitually miscarry, to treat syphilis, typhoid fever, diarrhea, and lack of libido.
Ashwagandha has been revered in India’s traditional Ayurvedic medicine for 3,000 years. It’s discussed in several ancient Ayurvedic medical texts, including the Charaka, which recommends it as a whole-body tonic, particularly for those suffering from debility and for enhancing reproductive function and longevity. Ayurvedic physicians prescribe it to treat arthritis, muscle aches, inflammations, conditions associated with aging, and insomnia, hence its species name somnifera.
Uses of Ashwagandha
Like ginseng and Rhodiola, Chinese and Ayurvedic physicians consider ashwagandha a “tonic” or adaptogen, meaning whole body strengthener. The term adaptogen was coined in 1947 by a Russian scientist, N. V. Lazarev, who was interested in drugs that helped the body overcome physical and emotional stress. His student Israel I. Brekhman popularized the term and showed that the most powerful adaptogens are not drugs, but herbs. Lazarev and Brekhman believed that adaptogens should:
Counteract the adverse effects of stress.
Increase the body’s resistance to a broad range of adverse influences.
Have a normalizing effect, improving many conditions while aggravating none.
We’re not used to the idea that one herb can produce a broad range of physical and mental health benefits. However, animal studies show that ashwagandha produces several: immune stimulation, heart protection, improved stamina, and greater resistance to the physiological damage caused by stress.
STRESS AND ANXIETY PROTECTION.
Indian scientists gave 130 adults either a placebo or ashwagandha (500 milligrams/day). After a year, the herb group showed significantly less anxiety and improved well-being.
Researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in New York analyzed five studies of ashwagandha as a treatment for stress/anxiety. In all five, a total of 400 participants showed a significant benefit, reduced stress, and anxiety. Moreover, ashwagandha caused fewer side effects than pharmaceutical tranquilizers.
Indian scientists gave 20 young adult men either a placebo or ashwagandha (1,000 milligrams/day). After two weeks, the groups switched treatments. When taking the herb, participants’ blood pressure declined significantly. Blood levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, also fell.
Indian researchers gave ashwagandha daily to people with diabetes and with high cholesterol. After a month, their cholesterol levels dropped significantly.
In the cholesterol study just mentioned, the diabetics’ blood sugar levels also declined. The decrease “was comparable to that produced by oral diabetes medication.”
Malaysian researchers gave either a placebo or ashwagandha (2,000 milligrams four times a day) to 100 women suffering fatigue from cancer chemotherapy. After six months, the placebo group reported slightly less fatigue, but those taking ashwagandha reported much less—plus better appetite, less insomnia, pain, and constipation and greater well-being and quality of life.
Indian researchers gave 20 men, age 20 to 35, either a placebo or ashwagandha (1,000 milligrams/day). After two weeks, they registered significantly speedier reaction times.
Indian scientists gave ashwagandha (750 to 1,250 milligrams root extract/day) to 18 young adults. After a month, their handgrip strength and stamina increased significantly. Other Indian researchers conducted a similar study in children (2,000 milligrams/day). Two months later, they also registered significantly increased grip strength.
Indian researchers gave ashwagandha (5 grams of powdered root/day) to 180 infertile men and 50 with normal fertility. After three months, the control group showed no fertility changes, but those taking the herb showed improvements: higher sperm counts and improved sperm motility with fewer deformed sperm.
After taking ashwagandha for a year, Indian men showed reduced cholesterol, more red blood cells, and enhanced sexual function.
Ashwagandha appears to have some antidepressant action. It may also protect against seizures and loss of cognitive function due to toxic chemicals.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is astounding to those in convalescence. Taking Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) for fifteen days imparts strength to an emaciated body, just as rain does to a crop. Indian ginseng relaxes blood vessels and promotes an overall feeling of well-being. Ashwagandha is often used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility spontaneous semen emission without orgasm, and sexual dysfunctions associated with stress. It also counteracts diseases linked with aging, by assisting the body in eliminating free radicals, and other toxins.
Ashwagandha works as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, thereby increasing the availability of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. It also is said to mimic the action of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) in relaxing the body.
Ashwagandha’s other benefits:
- Improving memory & mental functioning
- Combating mental or physical fatigue
- Battling depression & stabilizing mild to moderate mood changes
- Rich in IRON, used to treat iron-deficient anemia
- Stimulate the thyroid, making it useful for hypothyroidism
Ingredients: Wild harvested Withania somnifera
Parts Used: Root
Forms: Two ounces of powder or 60 vegetable capsules (550-600 mg).
How to use:
Powder: Take one tsp of dried powder in 8 oz. of favorite juice or smoothie, two times a day.
Capsules: Take three capsules daily with water or favorite juice.
The gel caps we use are Vegicaps (vegetable) and are all natural. No Animal By-Products, Starch Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Preservative Free, Ethylene Oxide and Sulfite FREE!
Legal Information: The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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