Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as "horse-like." Longevity, vitality and happiness are all promoted by this amazing medicinal root. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that heightens your vata energy, aiding you from so many serious ailments, including high blood pressure, stress, low muscle mass, inflammation due to poor diet, anxiety, early onset dementia, high cholesterol and low energy. This magnificent herb normalizes cortisol levels, resists biological and chemical stressors and hastens stress recovery.
Aging leads to weakening of the bones and a gradual, progressive decline in height. Withaferin A, a component of Ashwagandha increase the proliferation of osteoblasts and improves bone calcification. Insomnia is an outcome of the body's ability to regulate sleep-wake cycles, typically caused by chronic stress and hormonal imbalance. Ashwagandha reduces stress, improves vitality and makes the body more robust by regulating GSH and lowering lipid peroxidation.
Blended with other herbs like shilajit or kutki, this magical adaptogen matches standard hypoglycemic drugs in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol. Ashwagandha also helps produce insulin by checking pancreatic beta cell damage. Balancing of hormone levels is another feat that is helped by consuming this special multi-leveled herb. It moderates the effects of high levels of estrogen over progesterone and mitigates symptoms like heavy bleeding, mood swings, or hot flashes. It can also serve as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
The different forms that can be consumed are the leaves, root and fruit. The leaves can be applied topically, the fruit can be used externally and the root is for internal usage. Like Turmeric, Ashwagandha is best taken with food. Taking the supplement straight after a meal can aid in digestion and also reducing the chance of side effects. The powder can be mixed into smoothies, golden milk or numerous other cold and hot beverages, making it much more palatable. The roots can be steeped for tea and taken twice a day, as this is my favorite way. I add ginger honey, cinnamon and nutmeg for a soothing satisfying treat and great ritual of self-care. Black pepper and fat can actually increase the bioavailability, making each dose more effective.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb that has been healing for thousands of year, the concept of adaptogenic herbs may seem new, but they are not and can continue to help us as long as we understand what to take and how. I always recommend speaking with your Physician prior to starting a new regimen of supplements and I implore you all to get a vitamin deficiency test taken so that you know exactly where you health stands. Once you know where you are, you can start the process of aiding your healing process and taking supplements that are right for you.
You deserve it!