Ashwagandha is considered to be one of the most effective herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. Its Latin name is Withania somnifera and it belongs to the nightshade family of plants. Somnifera translates to “sleep-inducing”, which points out the fact that this herb is often used for relaxation and to treat insomnia, among other things.
Withania somnifera is a well-known adaptogen, serving as a natural solution for increasing body’s resistance to various factors, such as fatigue, stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha was a subject of numerous studies which proved its effectiveness. Just look up Ashwagandha on Pubmed and you’ll end up with more than 600 results.
All mammals have GABA receptors, which are in charge of regulating neuronal excitability, along with muscle tone regulation. What this means is that it reduces stress levels and helps you relax. Through research, scientist found out that Ashwagandha contains an ingredient which activates GABA receptors. For this and other reasons, Ashwagandha is often used to treat anxiety.
Furthermore, GABA agonist also found its use in people who are treated for alcohol and drug addictions. In this study, it was found that Ashwagandha is helpful in reducing morphine and alcohol tolerance and this is especially important because Ashwagandha provides little to no side effects, unlike traditional medicines used for this purpose.
What’s more, in another study 5 grams of ashwagandha root was used on a daily basis for a period of three months to treat men suffering from stress who were also infertile. The results speak for themselves – the level of antioxidants has increased, stress levels were reduced and even 14% of all subjects were successful in impregnating their partners, as a result of improved semen quality.
Ashwagandha also has a powerful effect on decreasing prolactin and increasing testosterone levels, while correcting hormonal imbalances. It is interesting to note that very large doses produce counter-effect, so it’s best to start small and build up to a larger does gradually.