Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae family of plants and grows in various parts of India, Africa and the Middle East. This plant is also known as Ginseng of Ayurvedic medicine and winter cherry. The main ingredients for medicinal use come from the leaves and roots of this evergreen shrub.
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Ashwagandha has been used for treating various conditions for more than four thousand years in the traditional medicine system of India. It belongs to a group of adaptogenic herbs and thus provides a wide range of benefits.
Against Depression and Stress
There are numerous studies confirming that Ashwagandha is beneficial in treating depression, anxiety and stress. Aside from providing a mild sedative effect, Ashwagandha also increases energy levels, helping the body both physically and mentally. Consequently, cortisol levels are lowered.
Immune System Strengthening
Ashwagandha is believed to have a strong influence on the immune system by increasing white blood cell counts and helping the body to recover faster and fight off infections more easily. One of the most popular theories is the one that the sitoindosides in ashwagandha improves the cells which protect the body (phagocyte), increasing the immune system function and eliminating pathogens from the body.
This herb also has strong antioxidant properties. We need as much antioxidants as we can get, as Oxidants are harmful free radicals which change DNA and damage organs while increasing inflammation, cortisol levels and even cause various types of cancers. Active ingredients in Ashwagandha are helpful in destroying free radicals, speeding up the recovery as well as slowing the ageing process.
Increasing Sexual Function
Ashwagandha is often used by women who experience difficulties conceiving. Instead of taking fertility drugs which may provide a far wider range of side effects, many are looking for a natural alternative in a form of Ashwagandha. The main reason for this is the fact that Ashwagandha contains steroidal with anolides which are beneficial for regulating hormone levels. There may be many reasons for fertility issues, but in many cases the problem lies in hormonal imbalances and that’s why Ashwagandha is sometimes used to fix this problem.
Used by men as well, Ashwagandha increasing libido by normalizing testosterone levels which start to drop down after the age of 40 in all men.