Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, has a wide range of health benefits, including its ability to fight against cancer and diabetes, as well as reduce inflammation, arthritis, asthma, hypertension, stress, and rheumatism. Furthermore, it boosts your supply of antioxidants and regulates the immune system. It also has antibacterial and anticonvulsant properties.
Anti-Carcinogenic Properties: A research study has termed Ashwagandha as an emerging alternative in the field of oncology because of its cancer killing properties, in association with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It is also of interest because it is known to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy without interfering with the tumor cell-killing activity.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Ashwagandha has been found to be effective in dealing with a variety of rheumatologic problems. The herb is known to act as a cyclooxygenase inhibitor that decreases inflammation and pain. The research conducted at the Los Angeles College of Chiropractors suggests that Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties that come from the alkaloids, saponins, and steroidal lactones found within it.
Antibacterial Properties: According to Ayurvedic medical texts, Ashwagandha is effective in controlling bacterial infections in humans. A study conducted at the Centre for Biotechnology at the University of Allahabad in India showed that Ashwagandha possesses antibacterial properties in accordance with that traditional belief. It also concluded that Ashwagandha was effective in urinogenital, gastrointestinal, and respiratory tract infections when consumed orally.
Cardio-Protective Properties: Ashwagandha, with its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antistressor properties, is good for cardiovascular health problems. It strengthens the heart muscles and can also control cholesterol. A study at the University of Arizona indicated that it possesses hypolipidemic properties bringing down blood cholesterol levels.
Anti-Depressant Properties: In India, Ashwagandha has been traditionally used in Ayurveda to improve both physical and mental health. The effects of Ashwagandha on mental health, particularly on depression, were studied at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University in India. The study supported the benefits of Ashwagandha in relation to anxiety and depression.
Fights Diabetes: Ashwagandha has long been used as a remedy for diabetes in Ayurvedic medicine. Research on the use of Ashwagandha in the treatment of diabetes indicated positive results. Experiments showed that blood sugar levels during fasting and post-lunch decreased significantly when Ashwagandha was comsumed for a period of four weeks.
Stimulates the Thyroid Gland: In cases of hypothyroidism, Ashwagandha can be used to stimulate the thyroid gland. A study on Ashwagandha’s effects on the thyroid gland revealed that the root extract, if given on a daily basis, would increase the secretion of thyroid hormones.
Relieves Stress: Ashwagandha is also believed to possess anti-stress properties. Traditionally, it had been administered to induce a soothing and calming effect on a person. The active ingredient that is responsible for this activity is still unknown, but various anti-stress properties have been observed in research experiments. The results of the study showed that Ashwagandha led to significant reduction in levels of stress in animals put under extreme temperature variations.
Antioxidant Properties: Ashwagandha is a very good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants are very effective in scavenging and neutralizing free radicals produced during the process of metabolism.
Immunomodulatory Properties: Research studies have showed that the consumption of Ashwagandha led to significant modulation of immune system reactivity and prevented myelosuppresson in mice induced by immunosuppressive drugs. It was also observed that Ashwagandha increased the red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelets count.
Increased Blood Production: Haematopoiesis is the process of producing new blood. According to research, Ashwagandha possesses hemo-poetic properties. The study showed that red blood cell and white blood cell counts increased significantly in rats which were administered with Ashwagandha. This could mean a positive effect on human red blood cells as well, thereby helping to prevent conditions like anemia.
Aphrodisiac Properties: It has been widely believed for many centuries that Ashwagandha had aphrodisiac properties and people used it as a medication to improve vitality and fertility. A recent scientific study indicated that Ashwagandha plays an important role as an aphrodisiac medicine as well as a way to improve semen quality. It also reduces oxidative stress throughout the body.
Prevents Seizures: Ashwagandha has been a widely used remedy for seizures and convulsions in Ayurvedic medicine. Another study on Ashwangandha also showed the presence of anticonvulsant properties in this wonderful plant.
Good Health: Ashwagandha has been found to be useful in improving muscular strength of the lower limbs and weakness. It also has a positive impact on neuro-muscular coordination.
Reduces Ocular Diseases: Research conducted by Thiagarajan et al. has showed that the antioxidant and cytoprotective properties of Ashwagandha were ideal in fighting cataract disease.
Side Effects of Using Ashwagandha
Risk for Pregnant Women: Pregnant women are advised to avoid consumption of Ashwagandha, as it possesses abortifacient properties.
Risk of Medical Interactions: Doctors advise caution while using Ashwagandha because it could interact with regular medications, especially for those who are suffering from diseases like diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Other: Avoid consumption of Ashwagandha in large amounts, as this may have side effects such as diarrhea, upset stomach, and nausea.