Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is commonly known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry or winter cherry worldwide. It is one of the very famous herbs commonly used in Ayurvedic medicines. Even though the leaves and fruits bear the medicinal properties, it is the root of Ashwagandha which is the treasure house of the medicinal properties.
For centuries together Ashwagandha is used by the people in day to day problems like anxiety, exhaustion, and stress etc. It is the power bank of rich anti oxidants, iron and amino acids. Ashwagandha contains many useful chemicals including steroidal lactones like Withanolides, alkaloids, choline, fatty acids and amino acids etc. Ashwagandha had been a great interest for researchers since a lot many years. More than 300 studies had been published regarding the health benefits of Ashwagandha. Hence it is considered as the nature’s gift to Mankind.
Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means that which “smells like a horse”. It is known to impart the vitality like that of horse. It is known to have a potent action on the Ojus. In Ayurveda, Ojus refers to end result of a balanced diet which is consumed at a proper time and have undergone proper digestion. Ojus is most refined, subtle output of the “Sapta Dhatus” of the human body.
According to Ayurveda, Ojus is responsible for a potent immune system, lustrous complexion, well built body, well being and clarity of mind. An altered level of Ojus results in diminution of above said qualities. Not only has this, but also decreased level of Ojus made a person more prone for the diseases. Ashwagandha has a property to bring back the altered level of Ojus to normal.
1. ADAPTOGENIC PROPERTY OF ASHWAGANDHA
Adaptogens are those herbs which are a combinations of amino acids, vitamins and minerals which has capability to increase the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors and to avoid damage from such factors.
These are non-toxic, non-specific and have a normalizing effect on physiology. The Ashwagandha being an ideal adaptogenic herb helps the body to cope with external stresses such as infections from bacteria’s and from internal stresses such as anxiety, depression etc.
2. WOUND HEALING PROPERTIES OF ASHWAGANDHA
In Ayurvedic classics Ashwagandha is mentioned as Shothahara i.e., the herb having capacity to reduce swelling. In folkore medicine, the fresh leaves of Ashwagandha are used topically to heal joint pains, sores and to reduce swelling. This activity of Ashwagandha is also attributed to its Adaptogenic property.
3. ASHWAGANDHA AS ANTI-DEPRESSANT
Ashwagandha is having the Vatahara property according to Ayurveda. The Vata dosha is the main controller of all the body system and even the brain. Hence Ashwagandha being Vatahara has a positive effect on brain.
The Cortisol also known as “the stress harmone” is inhibited by the Ashwagandha. Because of this property Ashwagandha acts as tranquilizer and antidepressants herb and helps in relieving stress both physical and mental and combats depression.
4. STRENGTH PROMOTING PROPERTIES OF ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha is referred to as “Balya” in Ayurvedic classics. Literally speaking the word “Balya” means that which gives strength. This exotic herb is very promising in conditions like general debility as it is known to improve energy, increase endurance and stamina of a person.
5. ASHWAGANDHA IN PREMENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS
Ashwagandha is having effect on the Endocrine system of the human body, thus thereby aids the hormone balance. Studies suggest that this property of Ashwagandha helps in reducing hot flushes and mood swings when administered during Menopause.
6. ASHWAGANDHA AS A REJUVENATOR
It is termed as “Rasayana” in Ayurveda. This rejuvenating property of Ashwagandha is very usefull in treating Insomnia. It calms the nervous system there by eases stress and combats sleeplessness.
7. ASHWAGANDHA AS A “BEAUTY HERB”
Ashwagandha is a potent Antioxidant that helps skin in fighting against the damage caused by free radicals. Thus by this action Ashwagandha slows down the aging process and makes the person youthfull. It promotes the production of vital compounds and proteins for maintaining healthy skin and helps in keeping the skin supple.
Not only it is good for skin but also has a potential effect on hairs. It improves circulation in the scalp and promotes hair growth as well as helps in getting rid of Dandruff. It also helps in reversing graying of hair by stimulating production of Melanin.