Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root is a herb of the ages. It is the ‘ginseng’ of Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine of India and is considered an ‘adaptogen’, a term used to describe herbs that improve physical energy and athletic ability, increase immunity to colds and infections and increase sexual capacity and fertility.
One reason for the reputation of ashwagandha as a general energy-promoting, disease-preventing tonic may be its effect on the immune system. A number of studies have shown significant increases in white blood cell counts and other measures of strengthened immunity in rodents given ashwagandha or certain chemicals extracted from the herb.
Ashwagandha may also have a mild sedative effect on the central nervous system and in animal studies it has been shown to be a muscle relaxant.
It is commonly used to increase vitality, particularly when recovering from chronic illnesses and pain management for arthritic conditions.
Regulates blood sugar
Ashwagandha may also help regulate blood sugar which aids in suppressing sugar cravings.
Cancer treatment and prevention
Research shows ashwagandha may be a promising alternative for cancer treatment and prevention. Ashwagandha seems to show positive effects on the endocrine, cardiac, and central nervous systems. It is one herb that could help your body produce its own thyroid hormones.
Ashwagandha is used to restore male libido, cure impotence and increase male fertility. It is widely used in southern Asia as a male sexuality tonic. Research on ashwagandha has concluded that extracts of the plant has a direct spermatogenic influence on the seminiferous tubules of immature rats presumably by exerting a testosterone-like effect (1). It is could also a potential source of hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic agents (2).
Preliminary studies indicate that the herb helps to reduce the negative effects of stress, slow tumour growth, treat anxiety and insomnia.
Ashwagandha is generally safe at the doses recommended on the packaging. In high doses it may have steroidal activity similar to Creatine.
Because ashwagandha has traditionally been used to treat various diseases associated with nerve tissue damage related to the destructive molecules known as free radicals, some researchers have speculated that the herb may have antioxidant properties. Free-radical damage plays a role in normal ageing and in such neurological conditions as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.