Ashwagandha - Herb of the Month
Ashwagandha-Indian ginseng, winter cherry or ‘Withania somnifera’, is an herbal shrub whose roots and berries are used for their holistic properties. Ashwagandha roots are said to smell like a horse (Ashwa in Sanskrit) and gives the stamina and power of the animal, which is how this herb got its name. It is known to possess various properties that rejuvenates and helps in management of various health troubles.
Everyday new information emerges upon research of the plants used in traditional Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is one of them- it does not cease to amaze the scientist.
According to Ayurveda:
Ashwagandha characterizes three different tastes namely Tikta (bitter), Katu (pungent) and Madhura (sweet). It is Laghu (light) and Snigdha (oily) gunas. It has Ushna virya (hot potency) and Madhura vipaka (pungent metabolic property). It pacifies Vata (air) and Kapha (earth and water) doshas.
Importance of Ashwagandha
The herb possesses Rasayana property which means rejuvenation. It helps in the repair of the body muscles and tissues. Promotes longevity, prevents aging, improves well-being, increases memory, and immunity against diseases.
- Memory and cognition:
Ashwagandha is known to enhance memory functions and certain phyto- constituents of the herb have been known to aid people suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s diseases. The herb can be used even in cases of mild forgetfulness.
- Relieves anxiety
The powder of the herb when taken with milk helps in relieving stress and acts as anxiolytic i.e., The herb pacifies vata dosha and helps in minimizing anxiety.
- Increases muscles and strength
It is having madhur rasa and is balya i.e., provides strength to the body, it helps in building up of muscles.
- Increases sexual function
Ashwangandha is considered an aphrodisiac for both men and women and nourishes the shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissues, that are responsible for sexual health.
- Boosts fertility and testosterone levels in men
The herb may provide benefits to men as it is known to increase the testosterone levels and help in building up the sperm count and ejaculation.
- Induces sleep
The word somnifera means sleep, the herb is known to induce sleep.
Uses of Ashwagandha:
- The herb is available in form of Ashwagandha churna (powder) or Ashwagandha tablet form- ½ tsp to 1 tsp of powder mixed with ghee or 1 tablet with warm water can be used early in the morning on empty stomach to have rejuvenating effects of the herb.
- 1tsp of powder mixed with milk must be taken when suffering from an insomnia like condition, it also helps to relieve stress and induce sleep.
- 1/2tsp of powder mixed with honey must be consumed when one is suffering from cough-like
- People working out in the gym and expecting a gain of muscle mass must include Ashwagandha churna in the protein shake to gain strength and provide nutrition to the muscles.
- Ashwagandha ghee – 1 tsp of ghee when taken twice a day will help in boosting immunity and help in pacifying vata and vata related disorders like anxiety and sleeplessness.
- Addition of 1 tsp of ghee in warm milk will help in easy and better absorption of the herb and will be more effective.
- Ashwagandha powder can also be used with ghee and sugar as a supplement to support the female reproductive system and joints.
- Avoid heavy doses of Ashwagandha as it may not be well tolerated by the body by increasing the pitta dosha, causing diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.
- Use of ashwagandha in heavy doses should be avoided by pregnant females since it acts as a slight spasmolytic activity on the uterus.