Ashwagandha is one of the most important plants of Ayurvedic medicine and is most often associated with the Ayurvedic traditions of the East even though it grows naturally in North America and Africa.
It is also called Indian ginseng and winter cherry or sleeping berry. Because of its specific smell, but also its strong influence on health, Ashwagandha translates from Sanskrit as the smell of a horse. The root is used to make powder and tea and is considered to be rejuvenating.
Ashwagandha and the stress, depression, anxiety, and insomnia
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means herbal medicine that supports the body's resistance to stressors and traumatic experiences. The extracts provide more balance, help with overexertion, chronic exhaustion, and anxiety, and prevent stress-related depression. Besides, the extract seems to regulate the release of the stress hormone cortisol, to have a beneficial effect on blood lipid levels, and to be vitalizing, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stabilizing. It calms the nerves, helps with stress, and promotes good, deep sleep.
This Ayurvedic medicine also slows down the degeneration of brain cells due to stress, reduces damage caused by oxidation, and helps restore damaged cells.
Ashwagandha has natural pain reliever (analgesic) properties, can help increase physical strength, and its rejuvenating effects can promote general health when used regularly.
Ashwagandha and the immune system
Ashwagandha also owes its powerful properties primarily to flavonoids and other active components. In one of the studies, bioactive withanolides - naturally occurring steroids, were identified as agents that suppress pathways responsible for several inflammation-based illnesses including arthritis, asthma, hypertension, osteoporosis, and cancer. Withanolides in ashwagandha also have immunomodulating properties described as substances that can either stimulate or abolish the immune system to help fight infections, cancer, and other diseases.
Ashwagandha and the thyroid gland
It turns out that this Indian herb can support everybody with both hypothyroidism and the often accompanying hypoglycemia. It helps with Hashimoto's but has also been shown to improve health in hyperthyroidism and Graves' disease.
That is why Ashwagandha is often prescribed for thyroid dysfunctions.
It has a strengthening influence on concentration, memory, and nerves and supports a night of restful sleep. (Find the recipe here)
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