Withania somnifera, commonly known as Ashwagandha (winter cherry), is an important medicinal plant that has been used in Ayurvedic and indigenous medicine for more than 3,000 years.
The root of Ashwagandha is regarded as tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic and stimulant. The root smells like horse (“ashwa”), that is why it is called Ashwagandha (on consuming it gives the power of a horse).
It is used for various kinds of disease processes and specially as a nervine tonic.
- Ashwagandha improves the body’s defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity.
- It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
- Pretreatment with Ashwagandha showed significance protection against stress induced gastric ulcers.
- It was also found effective against urethane induced lung-adenoma in mice
- It has a Cognition Promoting Effect and was useful in children with memory deficit and in old age people loss of memory.
- It was also found useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzeimer’s diseases.
- It has GABA mimetic effect and was shown to promote formation of dendrites.
- It has anxiolytic effect and improves energy levels and mitochondrial health.
- It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agent and was found useful in clinical cases of Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis.
- Ashwagandha has been shown to increase natural killer cell activity and decrease markers of inflammation.
- Ashwagandha is also reported to be hematopoietic, making it useful in the treatment of anemia.
- Ashwagandha and other herbs may take the place of benzodiazepines and have a calming effect on the nervous system.
- Ashwagandha helps increase testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men.