Ashwagandha Herb is a small or middle-sized, erect shrub, growing up to 1.5 meters tall. Its stems and branches are covered with minute star-shaped hairs. It has egg-shaped, hairy leaves, small pale green flowers, and smooth, spherical, red fruit with yellow seeds.
The Withania somnifera contains an alkaloid somniferine, its roots contain traces of essential oil. The water soluble portion of root extract contains indefinite amorphous substances and a quantity of sugar.
The water-soluble extract consists chiefly of a black resin that contains, besides other constituents, a mixture of some fatty acids. It also contains potassium nitrate, tannin, coloring matter, glucose, and some alkaloids.
What is Withania somnifera?
Ashwagandha botanical name is Withania somnifera, some common names are Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Winter Cherry, Poison Gooseberry, and Asgandh, it is mainly found in India, Africa, and the middle east.
It is used in Ayurveda for 3000 years; it is a powerful osteoarthritic and anti-inflammatory plant. Leaf, Seed, and Roots are mainly used in Ayurveda for medicinal benefits.
Withania somnifera is termed in Ayurveda as a Rasayana, which means it acts as a tonic for vitality and longevity. It is a tremendous potential and energizing medicinal herb that is used by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries. It is rich in iron and contains alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins.
The leaves of the tree are ovate, sub-opposite, and alternate to each other, they are dark green and 10cm long. Leaves possessed a narcotic action, it is used to heal wounds and skin infections. It is also used for the treatment of tumors and tubercular glands.
Flowers of Withania somnifera are yellowish-green and found in clusters but only one can be flowering at any time and are easily overlooked due to the color being the same as the leaves.
Ashwagandha Fruit & Seed
The fruit of Withania somnifera is red and yellow berry shape in 6 mm in diameter, it contains a considerable amount of saponins. The fruits are mainly dry and filled with seeds that are not edible. Seeds are mainly used for sowing and germination purposes.
Ashwagandha roots are mainly used in Ayurveda, it is considered a phototherapeutic agent to cure various ailments. The primarily compound of the roots is withanolides, which are known for their extraordinary medicinal properties.
What are the Health Benefits of Ashwagandha?
The roots of Ashwagandha have antipyretic, analgesic, apoptogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Roots are used in more than 200 formulations; Ayurveda practitioners used this herb as a general tonic to boost energy and reduce stress and anxiety.
It is used in serval medicinal applications for its hypnotic and sedative properties. It promotes libido, the root of the plant is a tonic and stimulant.
It increases the secretion and discharge of urine and also other forms of secretion or excretion by opening the natural pores of the body. The Ashwagandha roots and leaves possess antibiotic and antibacterial properties.
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Here are some Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha for Stress and Anxiety
Withania somnifera possesses stress-relieving properties, it helps to reduce the Cortisol hormone which is responsible for stress. It is beneficial to lower the Cortisol level and help to sleep better, if a person takes 300ml of Ashwagandha daily for 8 weeks, helps to lower the anxiety and stress level.
Ashwagandha for Diabetes
Withania somnifera is beneficial for controlling diabetes and maintaining blood sugar levels, it helps the pancreas to secrete insulin to maintain blood sugar.
Ashwagandha for Muscle and Strength
Ashwagandha helps to improve muscle mass and strength of the body, it increases muscle strength and size as well as a significant reduction in body fat percentage and post-workout muscle damage.
Ashwagandha for Male Fertility
Withania somnifera is beneficial to boost the male libido, it improves sperm quality and quantity significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels. It helps to increase the testosterone hormone in men and boost sperm quality and fertility.
Ashwagandha for Women Sexual Health
Ashwagandha is also beneficial to women’s sexual health, it helps to improve arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction which increases the number of successful sexual encounters and improves their sex lives and sexuality. It strengthens the female reproductive organs and enhances the maturation of the eggs into follicles.
Take 6 grams of root powder of Ashwagandha with milk for 5 to 6 successive nights after menstruations.
Caution: The herb possesses properties that can abort a fetus and hence must be avoided by pregnant women.
Ashwagandha for Heart Health
It is shown in the study that Withania somnifera helps to improve and increase VO2 level (a maximum amount of oxygen intake while physically exerting yourself) which helps the heart to perform well. It also helps to reduce chest pain.
Ashwagandha for Thyroid
Ashwagandha helps to control the thyroid, it helps to increase the secretion of thyroid hormones. That helps to maintain the thyroid level.
Ashwagandha for Skin
The leaves of the plant are beneficial in treating serval skin disorders, fomentation of the leaves is good for boils and swollen hands and feet. A paste of the leaves is locally applied to kill lice infesting the body and on carbuncles and syphilitic sores.
An ointment prepared by boiling the leaves in fat such as ghee can be applied in case of bedsores and wounds. A paste made of its roots and leaves is a useful application for carbuncles, ulcers, and swelling.
Uses of Ashwagandha Herb?
Dosage and uses are dependent upon the health problems and conditions or as recommended by an Ayurvedic doctor. The general recommended dosage is 5-10 grams of Ashwagandha twice a day.
Here are the uses of Ashwagandha Herb
- Take 5 grams of Ashwagandha powder, boil it with 1 ½ cup of water, and reduce it to 1 cup. Strain it and add honey and lemon. Drinking the decoction helps to relieve stress.
- Take 3 grams of Withania somnifera root powder with honey or rock sugar and ghee. Mix it well and take this mixture with lukewarm milk. Helps in male infertility.
- Take 3 grams of Withania somnifera root powder with lukewarm milk at bedtime, helps to increase stamina and sexual health.
- Take 2 grams of Ashwagandha powder, 2 tsp of crushed almond and walnut, 1 cup of milk, and a half cup of water. Mix all ingredients in a pan and boil it for 5 minutes, helps to control blood sugar levels.
- Take 5 grams of Ashwagandha powder with lukewarm milk, twice a day after meal. Helps to control blood sugar.
- Take 2 grams of Ashwagandha root powder and mix it with 1 glass of lukewarm milk, drink this thrice a day. Helps to give relief from pain and arthritis.
- Take 5grams of Ashwagandha root powder and mix it with 1 ½ cup of water. Boil the water and reduce it to 1 cup. Strain it and mix honey and lime. Helps to control high blood pressure.
- Take 2 grams powder of each, Ashwagandha, lemon peel, and dried ginger. Mix it with 1 cup of water and boil it for 5 minutes. Cool down the mixture and apply it to the face. Helps to cure skin problems.
What are the side effects of Indian Ginseng?
All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don't have any side effects but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have special health issues.
Some side effects are mentioned below.
- Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
- Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
- If you are on diabetes or on hypertension medication. Consult first the doctor before consuming.
- If you are suffering from kidney disease, consult the doctor first before consuming Ashwagandha.
- Do not take Ashwagandha with liquor, it may interact with it and cause drowsiness.
Winter Cherry Detox Tea Recipe
It is a very simple and healthy tea that you can make at home easily in less amount of time. Here is the recipe for tea.
- Winter cherry root powder – ½ tsp
- Lemongrass Powder – ½ tsp
- Ginger powder – ½ tsp
- Black Pepper powder – ¼ tsp
- Holy Basil leaf powder – ½ tsp
- Water – 1 ½ cup
- Take a pan and add all ingredients to it. Mix them all and boil them for 5 minutes or reduce them to 1 cup.
- Strain this mixture in a cup and add lemon and honey to it.
- If you want to add milk, then add only jaggery powder(optional) and milk in boiled tea.
Note: This post is about educating the benefits and uses of Ashwagandha Herb, consult the Ayurvedic doctor before starting.
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Frequently Asked Question
Q - Who should not take ashwagandha?
Q - What is Withania somnifera used for?