Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) or Indian ginseng is used for treating various kinds of diseases. Some of the medicinal properties attributed to this plant are sedative, blood pressure lowering, anti-aging, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, bradycardiac, respiration stimulating, anti-tumor, and radiosensitizing. In the ayurvedic system of medicine and health care, ashwagandha is considered to be a rejuvenative herb, which in combination with other herbs and natural products is often used for prevention and cure of diverse spectrum of health problems.
1. Fights Diabetes
Ashwagandha, blended with herbs like shilajit or kutki, matches standard hypoglycemic drugs in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol. In type-2 diabetics, it not just hikes insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance but also helps produce insulin by checking pancreatic beta cell damage. It averts fatty liver and heart diseases by lowering triglycerides and cortisol levels, boosting metabolism, and with its anti-oxidative flavonoids.
2. Eases Adrenal Hyperplasia
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha treats nonclassical adrenal hyperplasia (NCAH) symptoms by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce hormones the body lacks in this condition. It raises insulin sensitivity, regulates cortisol levels, and monitors female reproductive hormone production by acting on the thyroid gland, thus treating the diabetes and infertility caused by NCAH. Reportedly, its antioxidants also check hair loss.
3. Reduces The Risk Of Kidney Damage
By increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering your blood glucose and BP, a daily dose of ashwagandha can negate your risk of kidney damage due to diabetes or high BP. Besides fighting drug-induced toxicity, it mends damaged microtubules and balances electrolyte levels. As it destroys free radicals generated by toxicity, it halts inflammation, keeps the kidney tissues intact, and helps kill kidney cancer cells.
4. Increases Height And Overall Bone Health
Aging leads to weakening of bones and a gradual, progressive decline in height. Withaferin A, a component of Ashwagandha, increases the proliferation of osteoblasts (cells that synthesize bone) and improves bone calcification. Ashwagandha prevents bone weakening. It also promotes bone healing after injury and assists in the growth and repair of osteoporotic bones.
5. Prevents Cancer
Ashwagandha root and leaf extracts contain components that prevent cancer, enhance the effectiveness of cancer therapies, and alleviate the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Ashwagandha selectively inhibits cancer cells using five signaling pathways. It has proven effective against multiple types of cancers including brain, prostate, skin, renal, and breast cancer.
6. Melts Extra Pounds Easily
If stress, hypothyroidism, or a breached immunity is bulking you up, try ashwagandha. This adaptogenic herb can lower cortisol levels by 28%, hike the BMR by raising T4 output, and bolster immunity. Rich in iron, it boosts RBC count and circulation, fights inflammation, and augments energy. This spurs weight loss. Add a few crushed leaves to water and drink daily.
7. Stops Hair Loss And Graying Naturally
Stress, hormonal imbalance, and aging can cause hair loss. The cause of hair loss and graying can be internal and external. Ashwagandha combats all of these negative conditions that cause unhealthy hair. It also helps strengthen the hair roots and fight premature graying. Know what affects your hair and how to deal with it using Ashwagandha.
8. Fixes Adrenal Fatigue
Your exhausted adrenal glands can bust your stress response, causing chronic fatigue, anxiety, and low energy. Treat it with prescribed amounts (up to 4 gms) of ashwagandha daily. This adaptogenic herb normalizes cortisol levels, resists biological and chemical stressors, and hastens stress recovery. It also fights oxidative stress, a cause of chronic fatigue, by regulating GSH and lowering lipid peroxidation.
9. Regulates Thyroid Functions
Ashwagandha has been found to selectively increase the production of T4 hormone and simultaneously reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. While this is especially beneficial for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), it might have a regulating effect on hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) as well. Combining ashwagandha with extracts of other plants such as guggulu is considered most effective.
10. Reduces High Cholesterol
Excess LDL cholesterol clogs our arteries with a thick, hard deposit called plaque, leading to atherosclerosis. Ashwagandha, being anti-clotting, anti-stress, and anti-inflammatory, protects the heart and spurs muscle action sans adverse side effects. Its antioxidant flavonoids lower LDL levels, check them from rising because of oxidation, and check free radical damage that causes plaque formation.
11. Improves Immune Function
Ashwagandha increases the number of pathogen-fighting agents like WBC and platelets, the levels of the key proteins IL2 and IFNγ, and the amount and variety of antibodies. By hiking bone marrow cellularity, it helps produce more pathogen-fighting agents and reverses the ill effects of anticancer drugs on the immune system. It also fights chronic stress, which debilitates the immune system.
12. Enhances Male Fertility
Ayurveda recommends ashwagandha as an aphrodisiac and as a tonic for overall health. Researchers have found that it increases sperm quality, count and motility. It increases testosterone and luteinizing hormone, and reduces follicle stimulating hormone and prolactin. It also reduces oxidative damage and counters stress. Consume 1-2 tsp root extract twice daily for best benefits.
13. Treats Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
Ashwagandha has been shown to increase levels of key antioxidant enzymes, clear protein plaques, increase dopamine levels and reconstruct neuronal networks and synapses. It prevents, repairs and heals brain cell damage, and helps improve muscle control, movement, balance, and memory – properties that are beneficial for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients.
14. Fights Insomnia
Insomnia is an outcome of disruption in the body’s ability to regulate sleep-wake cycles, typically caused by chronic stress and deterioration in immunity, metabolism and hormonal balance. Ashwagandha does not act as a sedative – instead, it reduces stress, improves vitality and makes the body more robust and active, thereby helping restore the body’s natural mechanisms to regulate sleep. 2 tsp a day is safe and effective.
15. Treats Anxiety And Depression
Taken daily, ashwagandha can lower cortisol levels by 28% and mitigate chronic stress, which is a key driver of anxiety and depression. It also curbs calcium excitation, a probable cause of many psychiatric conditions, like anxiety. It trumps standard anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs as it stabilizes mood, relieves insomnia, and revitalizes the body sans side effects or withdrawal symptoms.
16. Lowers Stress Levels
Ashwagandha is a direct cure for chronic stress as it can reduce cortisol levels by 28% and promotes restorative sleep. By lowering blood pressure and blood glucose, it treats hypertension and diabetes, both causes and effects of stress. It cures depression and anxiety and can even cure Alzheimer’s by repairing damaged brain cells and reconstructing neuronal networks. It also cures stress-induced premature aging.
17. Increases Female Fertility and Conception
Ashwagandha regulates hormone levels, calms the mind and balances moods, thereby improving the body’s response to both psychological and physical stress. It also counters the effect of toxic agents that can inhibit reproductive ability. Post-partum, Ashwagandha can help women regain strength, and even stimulate milk production. Large doses carry risk of abortion, so be cautious.
18. Helps Balance Estrogen Levels
Perimenopause spikes a hormonal imbalance, with more estrogen than progesterone due to fewer cycles. Though menopause lowers estrogen levels, with progesterone lacking, this imbalance continues. Ashwagandha moderates the effects of high levels of estrogen over progesterone and mitigates symptoms like heavy bleeding, mood swings, or hot flashes. It can even serve as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
19. Relieves Symptoms Of PCOS
PCOS both leads to and is caused by stress. Ashwagandha lowers cortisol levels, restoring other hormones to normalcy and checking free radical damage. As it hikes insulin sensitivity, it lowers fat and the production of testosterone, the hormone disrupting menstrual cycles. Taken with other herbs, it induces ovulation, regularizes periods, and relieves period pain. It works best with a healthy diet and exercise.