Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that is native to North Africa and India. It is an important herb in Ayurveda, used for more than 3,000 years as a natural remedy for various ailments. Ayurveda is a type of alternative medicine for natural healing based on Indian principles.
Withania somnifera, as named by scientists is also known by other names, including winter cherry and Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha means “smell of the horse” in Sanskrit. This refers to its unique ability to increase strength and its smell. The extracts (which could be in form of powder) from the leaves or root of this plant are used in treating different conditions.
It belongs to the category of adaptogens. An adaptogen is any plant or herb that helps reduce and manage stress better and is also considered to be non-toxic to the body.
Ashwagandha is generally best known for its stress-reducing ability in the body. It has the ability to improve the symptoms of depression, especially when used together with other significant changes in lifestyle.
According to research, this herb regulates chemical signaling in the brain by blocking the stress pathway. Thus, reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders and stress in the body. Additional studies indicate that it is an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatment as it reduces moderate to severe anxiety. Also, past studies on its root indicate that it has a positive effect on a person’s mood.
Ashwagandha is beneficial in reducing cortisol levels in some cases of chronic anxiety and boosting people’s resistance towards stress. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands as response to stress. Daily doses of this medicinal herb ranging from 125 mg to 5 grams over 1 – 3 months have shown to reduce cortisol levels by 11 – 32%. In addition, daily consumption of 500 – 600 mg of ashwagandha for 2 – 3 months can reduce anxiety and reduce the chances of insomnia in people living with stress and anxiety disorders.
Ashwagandha also offers other several benefits for your body and brain. Other benefits that can improve your health include: boosting brain function, improved mood, lower blood sugar levels, and memory.