When describing important, powerful herbs that are used in Asiatic medicinal traditions I am often stopped in my tracks with a question when one in particular is brought up: “Wait, what is Ashwagandha?”
Some supplements go by easy to remember abbreviations, and others take on an English-based translation.
It is traditional Ayurvedic medicine, also known as Indian Ginseng or winter cherry, and is used as a herbal supplement.
It is a tiny evergreen shrub indigenous to India and Southeast Asia. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine employs it to treat a wide range of diseases.
If you’re looking for a plant to safeguard your body, this one is a good fit.
It may also improve the neuroendocrine and cardiopulmonary systems. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are thought to be present in the treatment of breast cancer and cognitive decline, anxiety, and diabetes.
But many herbs from the Ayurvedic tradition — the wide-ranging health and wellness regimen that originated in ancient India — the terms have often been left unchanged.
This can be a helpful first introduction to the herbs because the etymology (the history of the word) gives us clues to its original usage and a glimpse into the beliefs of another culture.
This particular supplements comes from the Sanskrit root words “ashva” which means “horse”, and “gandha” which means “smell”. “Horse smell” A bit strange on the surface one has to admit.
Sanskrit is a language that often employs symbology beneath the surface meanings. What happens when you work a lot? You sweat and develop an odor. And the creature that is known for working extremely hard? Horses.
So while this pungent herb is sometimes attributed to actually smelling like a sweating horse, it is has a deeper significance: that those who take it will develop a work ethic — and thus smelling of sweat more — from their rigorous work.
It is known as the “king” of Ayurvedic herbs and for giving the virility and and industriousness of one of the most regal animals known to man, the horse.
But its health benefits go much deeper. It is an adaptogenic compound, which are supplements that balance the hormonal excretions in our endocrine system which regulate our moods, anxiety and overall immune system.
A strong, revitalized and adaptable immune system are all hallmarks of the strength of a stallion, which is one of the most useful and supportive animals known to man.
And even further: What is the responsibility of a king? To remain calm, logical and steadfast during moments of extreme stress when his kingdom is under threat.
This powerful root supplement fortifies our thyroid and endocrine system, which then instills a fortitude and internal homeostasis. This minimizes physical emotional stressors that are common in high intensity situations, very “king-like” qualities.
A healthy society is one that looks up to its righteous king and attempts to emulate him. And the good news about this root is that it is one of the most common and widely used herbs in all of Ayurveda, and not so rare as to be reserved for actual kings.
So by taking it people are able to emulate the highest qualities of one’s nature, maintain calm under stress, protect against neurodegenerative decay, and adapt to even the most difficult of external situations.
Interest in Ayurveda and this supplement has significantly skyrocketed in recent years because of the modern stress-filled lifestyle that wrecks a significant toll on both our mental and physical health.
Cortisol is the hormone that is released by our thyroid in these stressful situations. When the stress is chronic, repeating day in and day out, our body stays in “threat mode”.
This high-intensity awareness is not how our bodies were designed to operate on a day-to-day basis, and high cortisol levels is a guaranteed way for the body to pre-maturely age.
It is also one of the leading causes serious long-term diseases, such as high-blood pressure that leads to heart disease, obesity, inflammation, cancer, and diabetes.
Fortunately, in Western countries this ancient herb is becoming a very popular remedy, often taken in capsule form, that helps to alleviate symptoms of overworked, “busy body” lifestyles.
It also goes by the names “Indian ginseng”, “winter cherry” and somnifera root, and has been used for at least 2,500 years.
It is a small, woody plant with yellow flowers that grows predominantly in India, North Africa and some places in the Middle East.
What is it used for?
When contemplating what it may be used for, take a look at Ayurvedic medicine, one of India’s oldest systems of medicine. People have been using it for centuries.
It helps to reduce tension and anxiety. When combined with multivitamins, your body will be able to meet all of its daily needs and perform at its best.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your attitude, mood, and level of relaxation, you may want to look into these powder-based products.
It has a slew of advantages. But it has a substantial aid in weight reduction because of its potency.
Boosting one’s general health and increasing fat loss are two of its benefits.
The body’s immune system becomes compromised, and weight loss halts until the body’s immunity is restored. Weight loss may benefit from improved immunity, and this powder enhances the body’s immune system and assists in healthy weight reduction.
Weight gain may also be caused by stress, a common side effect of stress. Due to its ability to alleviate tension and anxiety, it aids in weight maintenance.
People with hypothyroidism are more likely to gain weight than those who don’t. Thyrotropin-stimulating hormone levels are lowered, and thyroid hormone levels are raised.
A rise in cortisol causes an increase in insulin levels, which causes the body to accumulate fat due to the increased blood sugar levels. Increased insulin sensitivity and better control of blood sugar levels are two benefits. So it helps with weight loss.
It may help individuals fall asleep quicker, remain asleep longer, and have better quality sleep.
Actigraphy-based research found that consuming this powder for six weeks made individuals sleep 72% better on average.
Several components in this herb may have a role in the herb’s ability to induce sleep. Triethylene glycol, an organic compound present in the plant, has been linked to a reduction in drowsiness.
It may have an influence on the sleep-wake system through GABA receptors.
Anolides, which make up the majority of their constituents, are thought to provide several health advantages, one of which is stress relief.
In addition to daytime drowsiness, stress has been associated with worse sleep quality. It’s possible that taking this powder before bed can improve your sleep quality if it helps you relax and unwind.
How may it be used to promote restful sleep?
It is available in a wide variety of forms. If you’re looking for a gummy form, you can get it in tea or powdered tablet form. The price might vary significantly based on the manufacturer, quantity, and quality. Other herbs or vitamins may be blended with these herbal products.
A powdered supplement’s recommended dosage might vary from one company to another. Doses of 250 to 600 milligrams are often prescribed to induce sleep in the general population.
Only three months of its usage should be allowed at a time.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not inspect supplements that are available for sale to evaluate their quality or safety since it is regarded as a supplement and a supplement.
Ingredients that aren’t listed may be found in supplements. Because of this, it is critical that you only shop at reputable establishments. Talk to your doctor about recommendations for trustworthy retailers.
The root is the most concentrated nexus of powerful nutrients in the plant. The root is usually ground into a fine powder and mixed with water, milk, honey or ghee (clarified butter) and taken at night.
It’s latin term “somnifera” means “sleep-inducing”, and after much scientific research it has been shown to provide many more health benefits than just the strength of a horse.
These benefits include:
Treating adrenal fatigue
Regulating thyroid dysfunction
Reducing depression and acute anxiety
Increasing endurance and stamina
Preventing and treating cancer
Boosting overall immunity
The key word with this ancient herb is “balance” because it is able to succinctly equilibrate many bodily systems simultaneously.
It is characterized as “rasayana” which means “the path the rasa takes”. “Rasa” means the primordial tissue or plasma in the body, and signifies that it regenerates us on a deep cellular level that restores vital tissue that slows aging and prevents diseases.
To incur its stress-reducing properties it can be taken in powdered form by mixing it in food or simply dissolving it in water. It can be very potent so it is important to regulate dosages when taken during the day, preferably in intervals.
This is because while it is activated in our bodies it induces drowsiness, and taking a large dose 1 to 2 hours before bed is a common method to help calm the body and work its wonders on our internal system while we are sleeping.
It comes in a variety of forms. However, some are more readily available than others. These supplements come in powder, liquid, capsule, and tablet forms. On the other hand, the latter two are the most widely used.
For centuries, it has been used to describe the herb’s potent potential to enhance the physical and mental well-being of its users and its distinct aroma.
It can disguise the herb’s characteristic odor and taste by mixing the powder with other foods, such as smoothies or hot liquids.
Capsules or tablets might be an excellent option if you don’t like the fragrance.
There are many different varieties, but the most complicated question is which one to use.
The whole dandelion root was dried, powdered into a fine powder, and infused into the milk for traditional Ayurvedic therapies.
However, it is the most common supplement and is usually identified as Withania somnifera on the product label.
An initial powder is refined to retain the active components that are believed to have health-enhancing properties. Some extracts are created using water, while others are made with chemical components.
It is also possible to extract it from its root leaves and its roots, or a combination of both. All of them aren’t the same, however.
The extracts obtained from the roots are often used in research investigations since they are thought to be the greatest source for the health-improving components.
The leaves are more cost-effective to produce than the root, which necessitates the removal of the bulk of the plant.
More than 100 pills were tested, and only 77 percent contained pure extracts. Supplements with various plants were found in around a quarter of the samples analyzed.
The only way to ensure you’re getting an excellent product is to stick with a brand you know and trust. Supplements are goods that are not tightly regulated by the FDA or any other government agency (FDA).
Ashwagandha root powder
Ghee and date sugar are combined with one ounce of roasted powder. Then drink some milk with it 20 minutes before breakfast or later in the day.
Ghee honey and sugar infusing this powder is an excellent Aphrodisiac and a good treatment for Erectile Dysfunction.
The tea is made using the Kishirpaka technique, which uses milk to extract the herb’s active ingredient. Boil the milk first, then reduce the volume by half to make tea. Sugar may be added to improve the taste, or an equivalent amount of licorice can be boiled.
Sweet and salty biscuits
1/4 cup wheat flour refined.
A pinch of pepper.
1/2 pound of fat.
One-eighth of a teaspoon.
A quarter of a cup of milk.
Salt and powder should be added to the flour mixture before storing it in an airtight container.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Mix in the sugar completely.
Mix in the milk.
Mix the dry components and the wet ones and then knead it to make the dough.
Form and roll it onto a baking sheet before placing it.
Bake for approximately 2 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now sit back and enjoy!
1 and a half tsp jaggery.
A pinch of black pepper.
Add herbal powder to the jaggery powder before making it. Make sure everything is well-combined before moving on.
Black salt and black pepper may be added to the mixture.
Then form them into balls by combining them thoroughly.
Smoothie with Banana
- Add one tablespoon of herbal powder to your regular banana smoothie, and you’re good to go. It’s an excellent substitute for regular smoothies.
What effects does it have?
Flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, and steroidal lactones are just a few of the beneficial compounds.
Moreover, annelids are found in steroidal lactones. They’re credited with providing the majority of the plant’s health advantages.
The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities of this herbal supplement make it so beneficial.
In addition to increasing antioxidant enzyme levels such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutases, it also inhibits lipid peroxidation by blocking the process.
Additionally, it seems to impact the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system, which is critical to the body’s stress response, as indicated by its capacity to lower cortisol levels.
It has also been shown that it may affect the signaling of several neurotransmitters associated with anxiety disorders. Its positive effects on sleep may be explained by its capacity to increase GABAA receptor activation in particular and specifically.
By increasing the hemoglobin levels in red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body, endurance may be enhanced. However, additional study is needed to establish this impact.
Its antioxidant and testosterone-boosting properties make it an excellent supplement for women’s health. It has been shown to enhance testosterone levels in men with infertility and low testosterone levels, but early research shows that it may do the same for healthy guys.
As a dietary supplement, the root extract powder may have antioxidant, antineoplastic, anti-angiogenic, and immunostimulating activities. Many alkaloids are found in roots powder, including the primary alkaloid and annelids as the steroidal lactone.
Now a quick summary of what is Ashwagandha? Anolides in this drug inhibit the activation of nuclear factor-kappa and gene expression in tumor cells, leading to an increase in apoptosis and an inhibition of tumor cell migration. In India and North America, farmers cultivate it, and it is a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family.
On a molecular level there are many powerful compounds, which include alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, and steroidal lactones. It also contains glutathione, which is known as the “mother of all antioxidants”.
These compounds supply the root powder with much of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and have been shown repeatedly in studies to fight off cellular decay that can lead to cancer.
The antioxidant compounds are directly related to increasing the amount and efficiency of white blood cells that fight off invading infectious bacteria and boost the body’s ability to repair itself.
Not only will this slow the aging process, but also reduce stress through the regulation of the thyroid gland, which is responsible for secreting the necessary hormones at the proper time.
The root powder has also been shown to counteract degenerative effects to brain cells. It contains withanolides, which are naturally occurring steroids, which promote cell outgrowth that increases cognitive functioning and slows or reverses the onset of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Answering the important question “What is Ashwagandha?” can lead a person to discovering the thousands of years of this herbs usage. Not only does it boost our cognitive health and stress regulation, but instills a durability to the body that can induce a kingly quality to our core being.