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Herbal Power of Ashwagandha is standardized to contain the highest percentage of Withanolides (8%), the active compounds in Withania Somnifera that is responsible for the adaptogenic & tonic effects. Most Ashwagandha in the market contains <5% Withanolides.
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”. In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as “Indian ginseng“.
Traditional Use of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has been used throughout India for thousands of years as a rejuvenating tonifier (rasayana in Ayurvedic herbalism). It was widely used to support vitality in people of all ages, including children, and to enhance reproductive function in both men and women. Traditionally, this herb has been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, and astringent. The results of clinical trials indicate that ashwagandha has anti-aging, immunomodulatory, antidepressive, and other therapeutic effects.
Pharmacological Effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha contains several active constituents including alkaloids (isopelletierine, anaferine), steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins), and saponins. Withanolides serve as hormone precursors that can convert into human physiologic hormones as necessary. Preliminary animal evidence suggests ashwagandha may have a variety of pharmacological effects including analgesic, antipyretic, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.
Ashwagandha– Powerful Adaptogen
The high stress levels of our society have a profound impact on well-being, impacting our bodies and health in ways that are continually being revealed by new research. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is widely used in modern Western herbalism as an adaptogenâ€”a substance that can help our bodies healthfully adapt to physiological and psychological stress, thus increasing resistance to stressors. Adaptogenic botanicals are increasingly important in todayâ€™s society, where high stress levels negatively impact many different body systems. Many health practitioners believe adaptogens are just as important to our health as better-known nutrients and botanicals, such as antioxidants. Research suggests the mechanism of action of adaptogens may include modulation of the pituitary-hypothalamus-adrenal gland axis. They increase resistance against external stressors, have a balancing effect and stabilize normal body functions.
Ashwagandha has been shown to increase stress resistance, improve memory-related performance, and protect against stress induced responses such as anxiety, and physiological imbalances, according to numerous animal studies and several human studies. Some researchers think ashwagandha has a so-called “anti-stressor” effect. Preliminary evidence suggests ashwagandha might suppress stress-induced increases of dopamine receptors in the corpus striatum of the brain. A comparison of the anxiety-reducing and antidepressive actions of ashwagandha with those of the benzodiazepine lorazepam was made in mice. Mice treated with both agents exhibited a reduction in brain concentrations of a marker of clinical anxiety. In addition, ashwagandha exhibited an antidepressive effect. The results of similar studies support the use of ashwagandha as an anti-stress adaptogen. In a rat model of chronic stress, the stress-reducing activities of extracts from ashwagandha were compared with those of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Both agents reduced the number and severity of chronic stressâ€“induced ulcers, reversed the chronic stressâ€“induced inhibition of male sexual behavior, and inhibited the adverse effects of chronic stress on the retention of learned tasks. Well-controlled clinical studies are needed to further confirm ashwagandhaâ€™s benefits for humans.
Ashwagandha: Anti-Aging herb
The anti-aging effects of Ashwagandha were shown in a double-blind clinical trial in which 101 healthy men aged 50â€“59 years received a dosage of 3 grams Ashwagandha for 1 year. Specifically, significant improvements in hemoglobin, red blood cell counts, hair melanin concentrations, and serum cholesterol concentrations were observed.