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The popular Ayurvedic medicine is advancing its services further in the coming years. The principle of this field of medicine is the use of herbal supplements, plants and techniques other than the pharmaceutical tablets to reduce the effects or completely treat a disease. Ashwagandha is a similar herb that possesses and offers a variety of health benefits to the human body.
What is Ashwagandha?
It is a short perennial shrub with a beautiful orange-red fruit in the center which is surrounded by a lively green shaded bell-shaped flower. It belongs to the Solanaceae family (the nightshade family). Its scientific name is Withania Somnifera. The name when split into half means horse-like odor when taken in the literal sense. This depicts Ashwagandha as horse-like powerful and strong herb with a positive effect.
Owing to the vibrant cherry-like fruit of the plant, it is widely known as the winter cherry. Other common names for the herb in different regions include Indian Ginseng and poison gooseberry. This suggests that the herb had both beneficial effect and side-effects as well.
What is the chemical composition of the herb?
The Ashwagandha herb consists of alkaloids and steroidal lactones. These chemicals are composed of tropines and cuscohygrine. The tropine unit is the building block of an anticholinergic drug named atropine. As far as the steroidal lactones are concerned, the withanolides and withaferin A are the ones obtained from leaves. The Sloan-Kettering Cancer center sums this up by stating:
“The active constituents are thought to include alkaloids, steroidal lactones, saponins, and withanolides. In vitro studies suggest that Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties which may protect against cartilage damage in osteoarthritis. In addition, improvements in hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin sensitivity have been detected in the animal model[s] of type 2 diabetes.”
In which areas are these plants grown?
The ideal land for the plantation of this herb is the land of India. Punjab, Gujarat, and Rajasthan are the perfect dry region which supports the growth of Ashwagandha. Nepal, Yemen, and China are also popular for the cultivation of this herb.
How can you use it?
As the herbal teas are popular, the Ashwanganda tea is what you can add to your daily routine to enjoy its benefits. There are other ways in which you can consume the herb. The Ashwagandha tonics, tablets, powder and oil extracts are the available forms of the supplement.
Health benefits of the herb:
A lot of scientific studies are o the run to find out the real potential of the herb. The earlier studies and use of the herb suggest that it benefits the overall body. From strengthening the immune system to fight any kind of invading system to strong anti-tumor activity, and combating stress and emotional disturbances, Ashwagandha has proven its worth.
It is quite beneficial for improving the learning and memory storing capacity of the brain. It reduces brain degeneration in the old age and also maintains good heart health by keeping in check the cholesterol levels of the body. It is also popular for its anti-inflammatory activity.