Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng or winter cherry is a herb that has been in use for over 3000 years for not just its incredible health benefits but also its unique ability to calm your nerves while nourishing and revitalizing your body, making it one of the most popular adaptogens that we know. But here’s why ashwagandha should be part of your daily intake in some or the other form.
About the herb
The roots of Ashwagandha are used in the form of extract and powder in Ayurveda for various medicinal formulations and treatments. It is a shrub that has yellow flowers and is found natively in India and North Africa.
1. Stress Relief
A unique herb that can revitalize you while making you calmer and reducing stress and related symptoms like fatigue, anxiety and frustration, ashwagandha is one of the most popular adaptogens. An adaptogen maintains the adrenal system that controls the body’s response to factors of stress. Ashwagandha is known for quite literally calming your nerves as it regulates the secretion of cortisol or the stress hormone which remains elevated in some cases and can cause excess fat deposition and high blood sugar. This is the singular reason why Ashwagandha is widely used in tonics and other rejuvenating formulations. For this quality to relieve experiential symptoms of physiological and emotional stress, the herb is used as an active ingredient in a number of our natural stress-relieving, nourishing and rejuvenating body oils like Shankara’s Nourishing Foot Oil.
2. It balances excess of Vata (air element) and Kapha (earth element)
A lot of symptoms you experience, like perpetual tiredness, or lethargy, excessive oil in the skin and hair, weight gain or increased cholesterol could be due to an aggravated Kapha Dosha and an imbalance of ‘Vata’ in your body could be reason for sleep disorders, fatigue, restlessness, dry skin, cramps and many other psychological and physiological conditions. In order to bring a balance in these doshas, along with rejigging your lifestyle, you also need to add intake of Ashwagandha to your daily routine.
3. High concentration of withanolides
Ashwagandha is known to have a high amount of withanolides that gives it strong anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties.
4. Regulates blood sugar
A study found Ashwagandha aids anti-diabetic activity and can increase insulin secretion in both those with diabetes and those who do not have the disease.
5. Found to reduce depression
Study has also shown intake of ashwagandha has helped reduce severe depression by about 79%.
6. Better fertility among men
Men reportedly had higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality after starting the use of ashwagandha.
7. More muscle mass
For those who have reached 30, begin to experience loss of muscle mass which starts showing in the form of aging. Ashwagandha is known to improve muscle mass and increased muscular strength!
8. Good for your heart
Ashwagandha is also good for reducing cholesterol. In a study, participants who were given a high dosage of ashwagandha experienced 17% reduction in bad cholesterol.
9. Anti-aging benefits for the skin
Rich in antioxidants, ashwagandha helps fight off aging and related signs like wrinkles, dark spots among others.
· It is soothing and protects the skin from dryness
· Withanolides help cleanse the skin pores and removes dirt
· It boosts the working of DHEA hormone in the body that in turn regulates the secretion of reproductive hormones in both males and females. Both, DHEA and estrogen delay aging by improving collagen production that keeps the skin from wrinkling up sooner.
1. Use of Ashwagandha should be avoided by pregnant women.
2. Those with an imbalanced Pitta and Aama deposits in the body should be careful with using ashwagandha.
3. Though you may love it for its benefits, overuse can cause abdominal problems like diarrhea.