Medicinal Herbs: Ashwagandha – Withania Somnifera

Categories Medicinal Herbs

It is commonly known as Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng. It is used as an herb in Ayurvedic medicine. The name Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “horse’s odour,” originating from the odour of its root which is akin to that of a sweaty horse.

In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is considered a rasayana, (Ayana {path}, Rasa {essence}) herb. As per Ayurveda it is considered as an herb that helps in normalizing the physiological functions and strengthens the entire neuroendocrine system (mechanism by which the hypothalamus maintains homeostasis, regulating reproduction, metabolism, eating and drinking behaviour, energy utilization, and blood pressure). In Ayurveda, the fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, prior to drying, in order to clear out its undesirable elements. It is one of the major components of Ayurvedic medicines for the aged and for health issues associated with old age. In Ayurveda, this plant is considered to stimulate sexual desire, reverse the aging process and prolongs life. It is used in the treatment of nervous exhaustion, to enhance memory, insomnia, tiredness, skin problems and coughing. Traditionally it has been used since thousands of years to increase energy, youthful vigour, endurance, strength, health, increases vital fluids, muscles, blood, lymph, semen and cell productions.

Scientific studies have shown that Ashwagandha has profound effects on the blood producing organs particularly on the bone marrow and the lymph nodes. The powdered root extract enhances the white blood cell count and it has also shown to reduce tumor growth. It has shown to inhibit growth in the breast, skin, lungs, and colon cancer cells. This is due to its antioxidant properties which quite helpful in ridding the body of free radicals which are one of the primary causes of cancer. It is also prescribed to reduce the blood sugar levels in diabetes. It is found to be helpful in stimulating the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones regulating growth and development through the rate of metabolism. Ashwagandha is also seen to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, inflammation, and stroke. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha promotes antifungal activity.

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