6 Secrets of Ashwagandha you should know

What is Ashwagandha? 

If you are familiar with herbal and Ayurveda supplements, there's a name you cannot simply forget, "Ashwagandha". Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has a long history of more than 3000 years and it's one of the commonly used Ayurvedic medicinal plants. The name "Ashwagandha" is a Sanskrit name and it means "Smell (Gandha) of a horse (Ashwa)". Also, it's known locally as "Amukkara" and referred to as "Indian Ginseng" in the Western world. Despite every part of the plant is used for various ailments in Ayurveda, roots of Ashwagandha are often used in herbal supplements. 

Even though Ashwagandha is popular as a medicine in the world, people seem to be rather confusing or either doesn't know about the potential health benefits it offers.

Ashwagandha vs Korean Ginseng 

 Ashwagandha is often misapprehended as Ginseng due to its name (Indian Ginseng) and almost similar health effects. Even the structures of the active constituents (Withanolides and Ginsenosides) of each plant are more or less similar to each other. But what most of the people don't understand is that the two plants are like two sides of the same coin.

 Both plants contain adaptogen properties or simply stress-relieving properties whereas Ashwagandha is more calming and giving prolonged effect and Ginseng is more stimulating and good for short-term use. 

 Why shouldn't be afraid?

 The term Ashwagandha is marketed excessively and intensely. Unless if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, taking serious medication or has thyroid disorders you're good to go with Ashwagandha. After all, it has been used by our ancestors for a long time.

Although there are some things you need to clear out first when choosing the right product. 

  •  Should be free of additives and preservatives
  • Should be naturally grown 
  • The raw powder is much safer than the extract 

 Ashwagandha has been used against plenty of diseases and ailments in Ayurveda and fortunately, modern science researches are beginning to appreciate and back up those benefits. Below are some of the benefits which have been proved. 

1. Reduces stress, anxiety and enhance cognitive functions 

Ashwagandha has been traditionally used as a brain booster to enhance cognitive functions. Several studies have shown it can reduce stress, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, and insomnia.

2. Increases fertility and testosterone levels in men. 

Ashwagandha can significantly improve testosterone hormone levels and oxidative stress which increase the quality of sperms. Also, it can reduce stress-related infertility in men. 

3. Builds up muscle mass and strength
Some research has shown Ashwagandha can significantly increase muscle mass and strength. The subjects had a significantly greater reduction of muscle damage and body fat percentage.

4.It works against Cancer 
Ashwagandha also has anti-angiogenic properties or as simply the ability to inhibit tumors from growing their own blood vessels. Furthermore, it can induce the programmed death of cancer cells and reduce the growth of new cancer cells. This includes breast, lung, colon, brain and ovarian cancer. 

5.Lowers high blood sugar level 
Ashwagandha has the ability to promote the secretion of insulin in the body. It also can improve the insulin sensitivity of cells and lower blood sugar levels. 

6.Reduces inflammation
If you want to be healthy, Ashwagandha is one of the go-to herbal plants. It can increase the activity of immune cells in your body and help fight against common infections.

Author : Ancient Nutraceuticals