ASHWAGANDHA is also known as Ajagandha, Amangura, Amukkirag, Asan, Asana, Asgand, Asgandh, Asgandha, Ashagandha, Ashvagandha, Ashwaganda, Ashwanga in different parts of India
It consists of the dried roots, berry and stem bases of Withania somnifera Dunal, belonging to family Solanaceae.
The plants contain the alkaloid withanine as the main constituent and somniferine, pseudowithanine, tropine and pseudotropine, hygrine, isopellederine, anaferine, anahygrine and steroid lactones. The leaves contain steroid lactone, commonly known as withanolides.
Health Benefits and Properties:
All plant parts are used including the roots, bark, leaves, fruit and seed are used to treat nervous disorders, intestinal infections and leprosy. It acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems, having a rejuvenation effect on the body, and is used to improve vitality and aid recovery after chronic illness. It is also used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility, insomnia, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility; multiple sclerosis, etc.
Some important uses of Ashwagandha include:
- Ashwagandha is a stress buster: Stress has become a common issue in every household. While both men and women are equally prone to mental tension, women especially find it difficult to deal with it. Most of us live a monotonous life that adds to our woes. Ashwagandha helps you stay away from stress.
- It prevents menopause-related issues: During menopause, due to hormonal imbalances, symptoms like, anxiety, depression, sleeping trouble, etc.are seen. Ashwagandha is found to be the best way to deal with these issues. It works on the endocrine system and helps normalize the secretion of the hormone, thereby alleviating these symptoms.
- Ashwagandha delays the onset of memory loss: Memory loss is associated with aging.When consumed regularly, ashwagandha can protect you against many age-related memory problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
- Ashwagandha as Immunity Booster: Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body's resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body's defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
- Pregnancy: It is likely unsafe to use ashwagandha when pregnant at it may cause miscarriages.
- Diabetes: Ashwagandha might lower blood sugar levels. This could interfere with medications used for diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low.
- High or low blood pressure: Ashwagandha might decrease blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low in people with low blood pressure; or interfere with medications used to treat high blood pressure. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously if you have low blood pressure or take medications for your blood pressure.
- Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha may irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Hence you shouldn't use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer.
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Prof. Abhijeet Bidkar