Ashwagandha, also referred to as Indian Ginseng, is the common name for the Withania somnifera plant, native to India and also found in other parts of Asia. The roots of the Ashwagandha plant have been ground up and used for thousands of years in traditional Indian medicine for a variety of health benefits, supporting numerous bodily functions.
One of the most well known benefits of Ashwagandha is that it is an 'adaptogen' which relieves stress and reduces anxiety and hypertension which have a negative effect on multiple body systems. Stress causes fatigue as well as sleeplessness, and Ashwagandha is unique in that it has an energizing effect as well as a calming effect on the body which helps with both of these. It is used as a primary ingredient in many natural gentle sleep aid formulas.
Stress also inhibits the immune system, and Ashwagandha helps boost the immune system which allows the body to fight infection. It also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, & anti-oxidant properties, as well as helping balance hormones which makes it useful for those with autoimmune diseases. Ashwaganda is known to improve brain function, particularly related to memory and attentiveness, making it helpful for those with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers.
Ashwagandha improves fertility in mens also shown to improve athletic performance, muscle strength, and recovery. Studies have shown that athletes who took Ashwagandha during training and competition took longer to reach exhaustion than the control groups. It also promotes general health of hair and skin, and as a result is considered an anti-aging aid.
Perhaps most impressive, studies have also shown that because of its high concentration of withanolides, Ashwagandha root powder inhibits the growth of tumor cells and increasing life span in animals. At the same time it eases the side effects of cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, making Ashwagandha a useful complement to conventional medicine for cancer patients.
Recommended dosage is generally around 1/2 teaspoon taken once or twice per day depending on your ailment or use. It can be taken in a variety of ways, most commonly with warm water, milk, or honey. Pregnant women and children should avoid ashwagandha. As with all herbal supplements, consult with your doctor if you are nursing, or taking any other medications, particularly those associated with ailments above.
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