Ashwagandha – The Most Important Herb in Ayurveda

It will not be  wrong to say that Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine system.  It is an ancient herb and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine system for the last 3000 years.  The word Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit word derived from two different words ashwa (horse) and gandha (smell). It refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength.  The botanical name of Ashwagandha is Withania Somnifera. It is also known as Indian ginseng and white cherry.  The Ashwagandha plant is a small shrub. It has white yellow flowers and it is native to India and North Africa. The extracts or powder from the roots or leaves of this plant is used to treat different variety of conditions.

We can say that Ashwangandha is a mine of Health Benefits.

The Most Important and Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha:

Deals with Stress: Ashwagandha is very beneficial to deal with stress. It increases the hormone which helps in dealing with stress. Stress can be due to the imbalance of Vata. Taking Ashwagandha in powder form can help balancing the Vata.

How to Take:

  • ¼ to ½ of teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder should be mixed in a cup of water and then it should be boiled.
  • Add a pinch of ginger and water should be boiled it remains half.
  • The mixture should be cooled and honey should be added to it according to taste.
  • Drink this mixture.

This mixture will help balancing the Vata and thus it also helps in the problems of insomnia and anxiety.

Helps in Male Fertility: Ashwagandha is a very potent medicine in curing impotency in male. It is helpful in controlling the levels of testosterone – the hormone responsible for male fertility.

How to Take:

  • ¼ to ½ of teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder should be mixed along with ghee, sugar and honey. It should be taken daily twice a day for a month. It will help in increasing the sperm quality.
  • Or ¼ to ½ teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder could be mixed in a glass of warm milk. It could be drunk during the bedtime.

Benefit in Type I and Type II Diabetes: Ashwagandha controls blood sugar in a diabetic patient by increasing the production of insulin. It also increases the number of insulin-producing cells thus increasing insulin secretion.

How to Take:
  • Boil 1 glass of milk and ½ glass of water in a pan.
  • ¼ of Ashwagandha should be added to it.
  • Crushed walnuts and almonds should be added to it.

Helpful in Arthritis: Ashwagandha has analgesic property. Its roots and leaves have withaferin. It is very helpful in reducing the problem of arthritis.

How to Take:
  • ¼ teaspoon of Ashwagnadha mixture should be mixed in glass of milk.
  • It should be drunk thrice a day.
  • For better results this mixture should be taken for 2-3 months.

Helpful in High Blood Pressure: Ashwagandha is very useful in bringing the blood pressure to an optimal level. Due to stress, the level of cortisol increases. This is responsible of hypertension. However, the use of Ashwagandha reduces stress and also brings the blood pressure to its optimal level.

How to Take:
  • ¼ to ½ of Ashwagandha root powder should be taken in a cup of water.
  • This mixture should be boiled in a pan for at least 10 minutes.
  • A few drops of lemon can be added to it. 1 teaspoon of honey may be added for taste.
  • This mixture should be drunk in the morning.

Hypertension is known as Rakta Gata Vata in Ayurveda. It means increase pressure of blood in the arteries.

Ashwagandha is Helpful in Parkinson’s Disease: Ashwagandha might be helpful in Parkinson’s disease. This disease happens due to the damage of nerve cells. This mainly happens due to the imbalance in Vata. Taking of Ashwangandha tablets can slow down the severity of this disease.

How to Take:
It can be taken with water or milk and as per the directions of some expert Ayurvedic doctor.  The powder of Ashwangandha root can also be used.

Helpful in Muscle Pain, Strength and Wound Healing: The root paste or in the oil form --- with sesame oil as oil base – Ashwagandha is extremely useful to relieve pain, inflammation, useful in skin diseases and chronic or non healing wounds. Since it also increases muscle strength it is quite useful in premature ejaculation.

How To Take:

  • Aswagandha Powder 3-6 g in dose per day.
  • Capsule 250-500 mg- once or twice a day, based on the doctor’s advice. Can be taken with milk, yogurt, honey and ghee.
  • In case of ghee, Ashwagandha powder should be mixed with ghee and paste should be made. It should be swallowed with a cup of hot water.
  • If taken with sesame oil, its powder should be mixed with the sesame oil and the paste should be made and swallowed with a cup of water.

 It is best to take Ashwagandha half an hour after meal because many people might feel burning sensation, if taken before food. However, the advice of doctor should be taken.

Side Effects of Ashwagandha

  • Pregnant and lactating ladies should avoid taking it.
  • It might be unsafe for the skin, though no reliable information is yet available.
  • No doubt, Ashwagandha helps in controlling diabetes and lowering blood sugar, but if taken with normal medication then it can reduce the sugar level. Therefore, diabetic patients should take it with the advice of their doctor.
  • Ashwagandha can lower down the blood pressure, however, people with normal blood pressure or those taking medicines for it might face difficulty since it lowers down the blood pressure. Here again the advice of the doctor should be taken.

No doubt Ashwagandha does have some side effect, yet these side effects are mainly due to its interference with modern medicines. It won’t be wrong to say that Ashwangandh is one of the most important herbs used in Ayurveda medicines. In fact, almost no Ayurvedic medicine is complete without its use.

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