HERBS

HERB OF THE DAY

Ashwagandha (Indian winter cherry)

Ashwagandha is one of the most well-known herb in Ayurveda all thanks to immense medicinal benefits this beloved root offers. “Ashwa” means Horse and “Gandha” means smell, its root smells like horse due to which it is called as Ashwagandha. Not only in eastern countries, Ashwagandha is quite popular and most widely used herb in western countries also. Read here about its description, properties, benefits and contraindications.

LATIN NAME – Withania somnifera
SANSKRIT NAME – Varaahkarni
HINDI NAME – Asgandha
ENGLISH NAME - Winter cherry, Indian ginseng

It is a short, tender perennial shrub growing 35–75 cm (14–30 in) tall. Tomentose branches extend radially from a central stem. Leaves are dull green, elliptic, usually up to 10–12 cm (4 to 5 in) long. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. The ripe fruit is orange-red.
Biologically active chemical constituents of Ashwagandha are alkaloids extracted from its root which include anahygrine, cuseohygrine, anaferine, isopelletierine.

PART USED – Root
DOSE – POWDER– 3-6 GMS, 

PROPERTIES ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA
GUNA – Laghu, Snigdha
RASA-Tikta, Katu, Madhura
VIPAKA - Madhura
VIRYA (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)

Medicinal benefits
1.It helps in treating in Kapha and Vata predominant disorders.
2.It is a great Aphrodiasic herb (On consuming it gives the power of horse!!!). It helps to improve testosterone and increase fertility in Men. For sexual disorders its root powder is given with milk.
3.It is a great anti stress herb - It helps to reduce cortisol levels which is known as “stress hormone”. It also helps in calming nerves and reducing anxiety.
4.It helps in weight gain – Studies have shown that Ashwagandha helps in increasing muscle mass and strength.
5.It helps in reducing inflammation and fighting various infections – Ashwagandha root extract have shown to reduce inflammatory markers and increase natural killer cells which help in fighting various infections in body. It is also beneficial in autoimmune  disorders.
6.Enhances brain function – Ashwagandha helps in improving memory in children as well as in old
Age people.
7.Helps in weight loss – Studies have shown that ashwagandha extract helps in reducing lifecycle of fat cells in body causing loss of excessive fat in body.
8.Posess potential anti-cancer activity -  Ashwagandha root extracts have shown inhibitory and cytotoxic effects against human cancer cells. It also helps in improving white blood cells and action.
9.Helps in controlling Blood sugar levels.
10.Helps in reducing the size of fibroids and cysts.
11.Improves functioning of liver and pancreas cells.

Side effects - When taken in excessive doses Ashwagandha may cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. If taken for longer periods Ashwagandha may cause hormonal disturbances in body.

Contraindications
1.Ashwagandha is contraindicated in pregnancy. 
2.Due to its depressant activity on brain it should not be given in case of chronic alcoholism and in patients taking sedatives and anti anxiety drugs.
3.It should not be given in cases of hyperthyroidism. 

     
      

Disclaimer

The purpose of Ayurvidya is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider regarding your medical condition or treatment and before undertaking any new health care regimen.