Ashwagandha is an incredibly beneficial herb that has been used in India, Asia, and Africa for many years. It has a complex effect on the body, strengthens health, improves well-being. It tones up mental and physical activity and serves as a prophylaxis for a number of diseases.
In a number of countries, the use of Ashwagandha is prohibited. This is due to the power of the effect of the plant extract, frequent cases of exceeding dosages, uncontrolled use of drugs and additives.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a perennial shrub that has red berries. The main habitats of the plant are East Asia, India, and the northern regions of Africa. The plant has many other names, such as Indian ginseng, Ethiopian agol, winter cherry, and others. In Ayurveda, the plant is called Ashwagandha or Indian root.
This plant is popular around the world for its health benefits and is available to many as a form of alternative medicine. The term “Ashwagandha” comes from Sanskrit and is formed from two words: Ashva – horse and ganda – smell. According to its semantic meaning, the name is interpreted as “that which has the smell of a horse.” This is due not so much to the smell of the plant itself, but to reverence for the endurance of horses. According to legend, a plant gives a person a lot of strength and energy.
For medicinal purposes, Ashwagandha is mainly based on the root, although the fruits of the plant also have beneficial properties. When comparing the medicinal properties of Ashwagandha, this plant is often compared to Chinese ginseng. But unlike the Chinese root, the Indian plant has a lower cost and is considered more affordable.
Therefore, in many natural medicinal preparations, sports supplements, and other products, it is much more common to find Ashwagandha. For medicinal purposes, the herb is produced in the form of dietary supplements. It can also be used to prevent many diseases. Full information is written in the annotations.
Features of Ashwagandha
In Ayurvedic practices, the herb is useful as a fountain of youth, a tonic herb to increase energy and vigor. In medicine, the plant extract is used as an adaptogen, as well as an additive for the treatment of various psycho-emotional and physical problems. The action of Ashwagandha is quite powerful, which should be taken into account when calculating dosages and using the plant.
The chemical composition of the plant contains a large number of macro-and microelements. Once in the blood, they are quickly absorbed and immediately begin to act. The root of the plant contains over 30 active nutrients that provide numerous health benefits. Due to its rich composition, ashwagandha has a unique healing effect on the body.
Vitamins. They have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, strengthen the immune system.
Saponins. They enhance the beneficial effect of other components of the composition, slow down fibrosis in internal organs and soft tissues.
Micro and macro components. Necessary for the work of all internal organs, water, and electrolyte balance.
Steroid lactones. They are involved in creating hormonal balance. They have a powerful anti-inflammatory and tonic effect, normalize the mental state, the nervous system. Vitaferin A is a good antineoplastic agent.
Oligosaccharides. Have a positive effect on the intestinal microflora, similar to prebiotics.
Amino acids. Ashwagandha contains 5 amino acids, which are necessary for the synthesis of protein, hormones.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Here is a list of some scientifically proven health benefits:
- improves the digestive tract;
- increases endurance fills with energy;
- improves sleep, fights insomnia;
- reduces inflammation;
- strengthens the immune system;
- normalizes the production of androgens, estrogens;
- increases libido;
- has a tonic effect;
- reduces cortisol levels;
- stabilizes the psycho-emotional state;
- improves brain activity, memory, the concentration of attention;
- prevents the development of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s;
- maintains normal blood sugar levels, therefore it is useful for type 2 diabetes;
- reduces cholesterol levels;
- improves the functioning of the thyroid gland;
- increases muscle mass has an anabolic effect.
The area of application of Ashwagandha is quite wide, therefore the plant is often used as a complex remedy to improve health, increase mental and physical energy.
There are some opinions that Ashwagandha can reduce the risks of developing certain cancers, but there is still no convincing scientific evidence in this direction, therefore this information is perceived as a hypothesis.
Benefits for Women
Increases libido, increases the strength of sensations during sex, treats disorders in the reproductive system. Helps to better endure painful menstruation, restores the cycle, improves mood. It is used to treat amenorrhea, normalize ovarian function, and eliminate disorders of the hypothalamic-pituitary system. Restores female hormonal levels during menopause, reduces hot flashes.
Benefits for Men
Components increase sex drive, quality, and quantity of sperm. Herb helps in the treatment of infertility, chronic stress, increase strength, energize. With long-term use, testosterone production increases, hormonal balance is restored.
Benefits for Athletes
The plant will be useful for men who are involved in bodybuilding. Supplements enhance the effect of anabolic steroids (androgens and testosterone), muscle growth with simultaneous loss of excess fat, and athletic performance.
Contraindications for Use
The main contraindications include:
- Pregnancy and lactation period.
- In case of an individual allergic reaction to the plant.
- With excessive thyroid function.
- During an exacerbation of peptic ulcer and other gastrointestinal diseases.
- Also, Ashwagandha can harm children, therefore the use of the plant is not recommended until the age of 16.
Best Ashwagandha Supplements
The plant is available in the market as a supplement in tincture, powder, tea, capsule, and tablet form, or raw. The tincture has a shorter shelf life, therefore, the most popular is the encapsulated form with multiple health benefits. In dried form, it is practically not used due to the complexity in the selection of the dosage and low bioavailability.
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