Origin: The application of ashwagandha dates back to the time of the most respected Hindu sage Punarvasu Atreya. SagePunarvasu Atreya was the personal physician of the king and his teachings laid the foundation for Charaka, one of the principal contributors to Ayurveda.
Since ancient times, ashwagandha is famed for its restorative benefits and astonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic, and stimulant.
For more than two millennia, it has been used in India, the Middle East and some parts of North Africa. In Ayurvedic history, it has been categorized as Rasayana- a treatment to release tension and physical discomfort leading to wellness.
In Africa, tribes have a long history of using ashwagandha to cure include fevers and inflammatory conditions. In Yemen, its grounded dried leaves are used as sunscreen as well as to cure burns and wounds.
Native to the Indian subcontinent, ashwagandha plant grows in drier areas of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. A large number of people also grow in their kitchen garden.
Backed by its rich history of healing and powered by its medicinal properties, ashwagandha is the backbone of copious natural formations that are prescribed for an assortment of ailments. For a long time, it was looked like the only aphrodisiac.
Scientifically: One of the central herbs in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha means “the smell and strength of a horse.”Once ground, the herb smells like a horse. Its scientific name is Withania Somnifera. In Latin, somnifera spells “sleep-inducing.” In Hindi, it is titled “asgandh,” meaning indicative of horse sweat. Herbalists address Ashwagandha as "winter cherry." Western herb specialist refers to Ashwagandha as Indian Ginseng.
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine system, is believed to be the first one to mention ashwagandha in 6000BC. The sacred Ayurvedic texts: the Charaka and the Sushruta Samhitas were the first ones to describe ashwagandha.
The root of ashwagandha contains compounds such as steroidal lactones withanolide glycosides and withaferins, alkaloids, acylsteryl glycosides, and saponins. These compounds are bioactive in nature.
This nourishing tonic caters to the nervous system and endocrine system whilst supporting cardiovascular and immune health. This herb is praised for its healthy stress response. Grounding and calming in nature, it supports the sleep cycle. A large number of studies support the fact that this powerful herb supports healthy sleep.
Some research suggests that Ashwagandha promotes strong levels of cortisol and good inflammatory processes. A stress hormone Cortisol is released from the adrenals that aid the body in response to a perceived forthcoming danger. Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels ensuring your stress level is under control.
Today, most people face high levels of stress thus there is an activated cortisol stress response that impacts delicate glucose and lipid balance.
Ashwagandha promotes the healthy functioning of the nervous system's structure and function. It provides very good antioxidant support. Thus, it lends a calm and stable mood.
Ashwagandha also helps sperm production, normal levels of testosterone and fertility. It helps women with hormonal balance. It is also linked with taking care of thyroid function.
In addition, it has been acknowledged to promote a healthy amount of creatinine kinase. Creatinine kinase takes care of natural muscle damage occurring from exercise.
Fitness enthusiast also takes this herb as it is believed to support fitness goals. Children are often prescribed Ashwagandha-fortified milk for weight gain, healthy total plasma proteins, and hemoglobin levels. It is recognized to help with healthy total plasma proteins and hemoglobin levels. It is loved for promoting healthy fat oxidation while keeping blood glucose and blood lipid levels into the normal range brackets.
It is blessed with anti-carcinogen and anti-tumor properties. It is titled as an anti-aging elixir. It is rich in antioxidants, iron, tannins, nitrates, potassium, glucose, fatty acids, essential steroidal alkaloids such as somniferine, sominine, anferine, etc. It is great for hair and curing the problem of hair greying.
Usage: Ayurveda recommends clubbing the hot, bitter and pungent nature of ashwagandha with the sweet nature of milk. It is also consumed with ghee. The best time to consume this is early morning prior to breakfast on an empty stomach. It should be have had in powder form and not capsule form. Doctors recommend using this herb to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Below are some DIY with Ashwagandha:
- Put one tablespoon of ashwagandha powder to your shampoo. Massage this mixture on your hair for five minutes and then wash off.
- Brew some ashwagandha in water and let it chill. Now use this tea as a hair rinse after shampoo. This helps in preventing hair loss.
- A homemade face pack containing Ashwagandha can be very useful for acne. Take 1 teaspoon Aloe Vera pulp or gel, add a half teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder, 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric, and ¼ teaspoon Neem powder. Mix and apply it to the face. Rinse later.
- Mix 1 teaspoon Ashwagandha Powder and 1 teaspoon chickpea flour in lime juice. Gently massage it on the face for 2 minutes and then rinse with water. This is an effective cleanser. It cleanses the skin of impurities and pollutants very gently. It also revitalizes, rejuvenates and nourishes the skin.