Ashwagandha is known by many names: Indian Ginseng, Withania Somnifera, Winter Cherry etc just to name a few. It is one of the most widely prescribed herbal remedies for many ailments as per the ancient Indian medical science of Ayurveda. The primary benefit of Ashwagandha is stress relief. The word somnifera is Latin for ‘sleep inducing’; this calming, nerve soothing tonic is one of the best known remedies for sleeplessness. Before we study different ways to take Ashwagandha for its numerous health benefits for men and women, let us study what ths herb is all about.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a small flowering shrub which develops red berries and yellow flowers. Almost all of its parts can be used for their medicinal uses. The word Ashwagandha is derived from Sanskrit words: Ashwa meaning horse and gandha meaning fragrance. So, simply put, Ashwagandha means that herb that has the fragrance of a horse. Therefore, it is believed that taking this herb can impart strength and vitality like that of a horse. Today, Ashwagandha is available readily in the form of pills, powders and extracts. You can use its leaves to make a tea for its calming, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic, nervine, aphrodisiac, astringent, antioxidant, sedative, expectorant and age-defying benefits.
Ashwagandha powder benefits for men and women
1. Boosts strength and energy
As stated above, Ashwagandha root actually ‘smells like a horse’. Therefore, Indian Ayurveda doctors believe consuming the extracts of its root can help men develop the strength and vitality like those of a horse. Bodybuilders and weight watchers alike can benefit from the herb’s pills and powders as it builds stamina and reduces fatigue. It can also reduce the recovery time between training. Among its many benefits for men are its aphrodisiac properties which help increase sexual stamina. Regular consumption of this herbal remedy are known to benefit men and women in developing sexual prowess.
2. Boosts memory and intelligence
Like Siberian and Asian Ginseng, Ashwagandha (which is known as Indian ginseng) can benefit dementia patients by boosting memory and intelligence. Preliminary studies conducted on this herb have shown that its regular consumption can inhibit plaque formation in the brain that is responsible for many age related diseases like Alzheimer’s disease etc. It can aid in treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Huntington disease and multiple sclerosis etc.
3. Strengthens immunity
Taking this herb daily can prevent colds, coughs, seasonal ailments, and even certain cancers. According to Sloan Kettering cancer center, cancer patients and their caregivers can both benefit from this wonder drug as it fights stress, prevents infections that are common after chemotherapy and also slows down growth of cancerous tumors. Here is a list of diseases Ashwagandha is known to fight:
- High Cholesterol
- Memory issues
- Parkinson’s disease
- Uterine issues
4. Fixes hormonal imbalance
Ashwagandha works directly on the endocrine system to balance hormones. This property may be useful in reducing symptoms of PMS and post menopausal issues such as hot flashes and mood swings. You can also use it to fight thyroid issues.
5. Heals aches, pains and skin issues
As per Ayurveda, the powder obtained from Ashwagandha leaves can prevent joint aches and pains. This property may be beneficial for treating patients suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, and other debilitating conditions. The herb’s wound healing abilities are beneficial for acne sufferers.
6. Fights stress and depression
The Indian Journal of Psychology has published a report on the adaptogenic properties of this super herb. It states that these properties can aid in fighting depression, anxiety and stress without side effects of conventional anti-depressant medicines. The herb also promotes relaxation and can help with sleep disorders as well.
7. Offers health, beauty and anti aging benefits
Ashwagandha stimulates the production of DHEA which is necessary in men and women for stimulating hormones as well as natural skin oils. When taken internally, Ashwagandha can boost skin’s elastin and collagen layers to reduce appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. You can also use its powder as a face pack to fight signs of photo-damage. Adding the extracts or powders to shampoos can boost circulation to give you stronger, healthier and shinier hair. Taken regularly, Ashwagandha can reverse gray hair and restore its natural color.
8. Ashwagandha benefits for weight loss
This super herb is known to detoxify the body. It acts as a diuretic to flush out excess water and prevent fluid retention and swelling. The powder can curb appetite and unhealthy cravings and when combined with healthy diet and exercise can prevent or treat stress related weight gain and obesity.
9. Ashwagandha benefits for height
In adolescents, this herbal remedy could aid in increasing height. Take 1-2 tablespoons of Ashwagandha powder in a glass of milk at bedtime to stimulate the bones and muscles. Speak to a herbalist before using ashwagandha for increasing height.
How to use Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is readily available in the market and you can buy it from health food stores, online and offline. You can take the powder in a glass of warm milk with some honey and turmeric to boost stamina and sleep well. You can also take pills based on dosage stated on product label. There is no standard dosing for this herb though you can safely take 3-5 grams of its powder. Mild decoctions, teas and alcoholic extracts are also available. You can mix the powder with ghee or honey and take it daily. Topical application of extracts and powder is also highly beneficial.