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Botanical Name :Withania somniferum.
Species: W. somnifera
Plant Description : Ashwagandha is a short, tender perennial shrub growing 35 to 75 centimeters tall. with a central stem from which branches extend radially in a star pattern (stellate) and covered with a dense matte of wooly hairs (tomentose). The flowers are small and green, while the ripe fruit is orange-red and has milk-coagulating properties.. Florescence occurs in fall and spring.
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The plant is cultivated as an annual crop and this herb can also be grown with in most home gardens. Ashwagandha plant is erect with fleshy roots which is whitish brown in colour. Leaves are simple and ovate.
Uses of Ashwagandha products :
The roots of ashwagandha are used medicinally.
Having both energetic and synergetic actions, Ashwagandha is one of the most important drug in herbal preparations as described in classical Texts.
Ashwagandha enhance sexual power, prevent impotency, infertility, low sperm count or seminal debility
Ashwagandha acts against Arthritis and Rheumatism
When applied externally it acts against scabies, minor ulceration of skin applied as a poultice to boils.
In case of cancer, Ashwagandha acts as an adjuvant
Ashwagandha acts against insomnia, stress and stress oriented hypertension.
Ashwagandha is also very effective against intestinal ulcers
Ashwagandha is used to tone the uterus after miscarriage and treatment of post-partum difficulties.
According to Ayurveda, known as Indian “Ginseng,” Ashwagandha Root has been historically used for general debility, sexual debility, convalescence, old age, emaciation of children, memory loss, muscular exhaustion, overwork, tissue deficiency, fatigue, and nervous exhaustion. It also regenerates the hormonal system, aids in treating glandular swellings, promotes healing of tissues, ameliorates overwork and lack of sleep, and can be externally used on wounds. It is a galactagogue, and is additionally used to treat spermatorrhea and infertility, with a long standing tradition as an aphrodisiac. Also known as the “Winter Cherry,” it can be used to treat dry asthma, breathing problems, cough, skin problems, eye disorders, anemia, paralysis, and even shows promise in assisting the management of Multiple Sclerosis.
Ashwagandha has been used in connection with Immune function, osteoarthritis and stress.
The health applications for ashwagandha in traditional Indian and Ayurvedic medicine are extensive. Of particular note is its use against tumors, inflammation (including arthritis), and a wide range of infectious diseases. The shoots and seeds are also used as food and to thicken milk in India. Traditional uses of ashwagandha among tribal peoples in Africa include fevers and inflammatory conditions. Ashwagandha is frequently a constituent of Ayurvedic formulas, including a relatively common one known as shilajit.
The constituents believed to be active in ashwagandha have been extensively studied. Compounds known as withanolides are believed to account for the multiple medicinal applications of ashwagandha. These molecules are steroidal and bear a resemblance, both in their action and appearance, to the active constituents of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) known as ginsenosides. Indeed, ashwagandha has been called â€œIndian ginsengâ€ by some. Ashwagandha and its withanolides have been extensively researched in a variety of animal studies examining effects on immune function, inflammation, and even cancer. Ashwagandha stimulates the activation of immune system cells, such as lymphocytes. It has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory in animal experiments. Taken together, these actions may support the traditional reputation of ashwagandha as a tonic or adaptogen – an herb with multiple, nonspecific actions that counteract the effects of stress and generally promote wellness.
Some experts recommend 3 to 6 grams of the dried root, taken each day in capsule or tea form. To prepare a tea, 3/4 to 1 1/4 teaspoons (3 to 6 grams) of ashwagandha root are boiled for 15 minutes and cooled; 3 cups (750 ml) may be drunk daily. Alternatively, tincture 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon (2 to 4 ml) three times per day, is sometimes recommended.
With its ease of cultivation, there is hardly a reason that most people and certainly old age nursing homes does not have its own garden patch of ashwagandha as a hedge, so to speak, against the ravages of aging decrepitude. Given the fact that for better or worse, more people are living longer in the world than any other time in its history, trying to save enough money in long term retirement accounts for a comfortable old age and at the same time sensing real concerns at the thought of dwindling governmental entitlement benefits, it seems imperative that everyone grow their personal supply of ashwagandha and learn how to prepare and take it.
Besides over 3000 years of empirical experience, numerous studies on both animals and humans have attested to the anti-arthritis and mind calming properties of crude preparations of the herb. The combined alkaloids seem to exhibit calming, anti-convulsant and antispasmodic properties against many spasmogenic agents on the intestinal, uterine, bronchial, tracheal and blood-vascular muscles. It is described as similar but considerably weaker that papaverine and phenobarbitone. . Other constituents, namely the sitoindosides enhance pathogenic devouring phagocytes. Even anti-tumor properties have been found based on the use of the crude extract on mice both in living specimens as well as against cancer cells in the petri dish.
Ashwagandha is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a powder, decoction, medicated wine, mixed with clarified butter, combined with honey or sugar syrup or as a medicated oil. The most common form is as an alcoholic extract or capsules, of the powdered root.
No significant side effects have been reported with ashwagandha so far. The herb has been used safely by children in India. Its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown.
Precautions:The drug possesses properties that can abort a foetus and hence must be avoided by pregnent women.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.