Ashwagandha health benefits
While it has been mentioned elsewhere on this website that Ashwagandha has a broad spectrum impact on the body and is considered an adaptogen, it is worthwhile to elaborate on the specific health benefits of Ashwagandha that have been observed both in practice and through studies conducted on the herb. Formal studies on the herb are not very common in the Western countries as yet since Ashwagandha is a relative newcomer to these areas. However there have been some formal studies conducted in Europe and there are various studies that have been conducted in India. Add to this that Ashwagandha has an established track record amongst the ayurvedic medicinal system spanning thousands of years. The following specific benefits of the herb have been evidenced through these studies and practical experiences. Additionally, the list of Ashwagandha side effects is negligible.
Ashwagandha health benefits, Anti-Oxidant Properties
A study conducted by the Banaras Hindu University in India demonstrated that Ashwagandha contains compounds that possess strong anti-oxidant properties. Upon injecting rats with ashwagandha extracts, it was discovered that the compounds within the extract led to high levels of anti-oxidants within the animal's brains. Elevated levels of four significant anti-oxidants (glutathione peroxidase, catalase and superoxide dismutase) where identified in the study. It is though that this ability of Ashwagandha to produce effects that have anti-oxidant properties may also shed light to a certain degree on why the herb is thought to have an impact on slowing aging.
Ashwagandha health benefits, Anti-Inflammatory Properties
There is evidence that Ashwagandha possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties. A clinical trial on humans showed that there was a noticeable reduction in the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. Two groups with osteoarthritis were involved in the study, one received ashwagandha and the other group received placebo. The former group showed the noted improvements in the inflammation and the associated pain and disability.
Ashwagandha health benefits, reduces anxiety
A documented study has shown that there was a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety neurosis amongst a group of 30 patients. After a month long period of administering ashwagandha to the group, there was a very significant reduction in the episodes of anxiety and panic attacks. Although the exact mechanism by which Ashwagandha helps in anxiety are not fully understood, it
Ashwagandha health benefits, use as an aphrodisiac
Since the ancient times when the Kama Sutra was written, Ashwagandha has been prescribed by ayurvedic practitioners to treat a wide range of concerns relating to sexuality and infertility. This herb's historic use as an aphrodisiac is due mainly to its impact upon general vitality. Since Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, it improves overall health and stamina which leads to better sexual performance. The adaptogenic aspect of the herb also can partly explain why it may lead to increased semen production and possibly alleviate infertility. Furthermore since the herb has a tendency to calm an individual due to its impact on the nervous system, the resulting calm feeling tends to elevate a person's mood and aid in general sexual desire and performance.
Ashwagandha health benefits, Anti-Microbial Properties
Ashwagandha has been shown to exhibit anti-microbial properties in studies involving mice. Oral administration of the herb in rats showed a decrease in the overall bacterial load in various organs in the treated animals.
Ashwagandha health benefits, use for Athletes
There is also a growing school of thought that Ashwagandha offers tremendous benefits during exercise. The herb tends to promote the natural systems of the body via its adaptogenic properties. As such, during times of exercise, Ashwagandha promotes better oxygen flow to the muscle cells; allowing for added strength and more endurance. It may also be helpful in countering the effects of stress hormones during times of physical activity. Additionally, Ashwagandha may also be beneficial in controlling the build up of lactic acid. Research has shown that animals given ashwagandha tend to have significantly more endurance in physical activities and they were more likely to gain muscle mass compared to a test group not given ashwagandha supplements.
Warning - always consult your doctor before taking Ashwagandha
This article is provided for information only. People with health concerns should consult their health care providers. Initiating any program of Ashwagandha supplements should be discussed with your doctor prior to starting the therapy.
Ashwagandha active compounds
Information on the active compounds in Ashwagandha.
Side effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha's side effects are discussed including the herb's effects pregnant women and people with thyroid conditions.
Cultivation of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha farming methods at each stage from seed germination to harvest and post-harvest.
A description of the different types of Ashwagandha extract available, the main ingredients it contains and how it is consumed.
An informative article on Ashwagandha at the livingcentre.com
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