Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, and is well know by medicinal properties. It is found not just in India but also in the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Its roots and orange-red fruit have been used for hundreds of years for home remedies. Dadi ma ke ‘nuske‘ have suggested use for different purposes.

In the Ayurvedic medicine system, this herb is considered one of the most significant and crucial herbs. History says its use was started thousands of years ago. Ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.  Also in Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered a Rasayana. The plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and North Africa. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions however it’s not recommended for pregnant women.

Ashwagandha controls stress

Many products use this herb to promote calmness and to control stress creating factors. It also controls sugar levels in the body. As a herb is it believed that it helps sustain youth, both mentally and physically. Ashwagandha describes the smell of its root (like a horse). By definition, ashwa means horse.

Below are Ashwagandha benefits and side effects

Benefits of using Ashwagandha

1. Ashwagandha helps in holistic health across health issues like arthritis, constipation, insomnia, skin conditions, stress, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, nervous breakdowns, fevers and more.

It also helps in controlling the mood according to some studies though they are not substantiated yet. The herb’s health privileges are attributed to its increased concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to withstand inflammation and tumour growth in a human body.

2. Blood sugar level

The herb is known to control blood sugar levels. It can be an organic option for long term control of blood sugar levels. A study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.

3. Reduces Cortisol level

There has been talk of the herb having a calming effect. Many recommend use of his home remedy for the long term benefits of keeping stress and anxiety symptoms at bay. It also help control cortisol is known as an anxiety hormone which is released in response to stress or anxiety in our bodies.

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4. Arthritis

The herb ashwagandha has for long in Indian ayurvedic history considered a pain reliever. It is considered to have some anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, some believe it been effective in treating forms of arthritis. Important to note all herbs are part of long term remedies and for immediate pains, a visit to the doctor is advisable.

5. Improves your strength

Like many herbs ashwagandha is known to improve the power of body to absorb better nutrients. It also therefore improves body mass and strength.

6. Cancer Impact

Some studies found that ashwagandha might be able to stop cell growth in certain cancers. A specific research showed the ability to decrease a lung tumor. Among cancers, this herb has potential to slow growth of cancers of the lungs and kidney.

Side effects of using Ashwagandha

Pregnancy

Ashwagandha should not be used by pregnant women as many reports suggest it can be harmful.

Not good for diabetic patients

Ashwagandha might reduce blood sugar level. This could interfere with medications used for diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go very low. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar, consult a doctor and avoid using this herb.

Slows down the central nervous system

Healthcare providers fear that anaesthesia and additional medications during and after surgery might slow down the central nervous system.

It is advised to stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Ashwagandha powder

Ashwagandha Powder is a Paraben-free adaptogenic herb. The product in this form is known as a beneficial herb in fighting inflammation and arthritis also. Uses of Ashwagandha powder is the same as that of ashwagandha it’s just the form that has changed.

Popularly, Ashwagandha churna, is a finely sieved powder that can be mixed with water, ghee or honey to make a fine paste of it for usage. Indian home remedies often suggest that for face rejuvenation therapy.

Hair Mask

Some people use it as a hair mask as it strengthens the roots of the hair. Not just strengthens it also reduces dandruff from the scalp.

Face Mask

People apply it as a paste by mixing the powder with honey as it forms a thick paste and after that apply directly on their skin for the natural glow. As applying this paste also reduces acne.

Ashwagandha capsule

Ashwagandha capsule is a form of Ashwagandha in the medicinal form which people consume it with water in day or night as prescribed by the doctor. It should not be taken without consultation.

The above were few of the Ashwagandha benefits and side effects but it’s important that herbs are used based on full knowledge of one’s body and capabilities. Using a herb without checking one’s body balance and composition is not advisable.

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Avleen Kaur Narang is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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