It is used to reduce levels of fat & sugar in the body. It has the ability to help an individual to better cope up with stress. Also, it helps to boost up brain function.
- Can help to reduce blood sugar levels.
- It Has anti cancer properties.
- It helps to reduce uric acid level.
- Helps to reduce cortisol levels.
- Can help to reduce stress & anxiety.
- It helps in reducing swelling (inflammation).
- It helps to lower down the level of cholesterol & triglycerides.
- It helps to lower downs the depression level.
- Helps to boost testosterone and increase fertility in men.
- It helps in reducing swelling (inflammation).
- It helps to increase hemoglobin level. Thus, helpful in treating Anemia.
- Its stimulates Thyroid gland to maintain its level.
- It helps in treatment of Bronchitis & Asthma.
INDIAN GINSENG : ASHWAGANDHA :
Withania somnifera, also called Ashwagandha, is an erect, evergreen, tomentose shrub, 30-150 cm high, found in dry parts of India, in waste places and on bunds. As the roots have various medicinal properties Ashwagandha is also cultivated in north-western states viz., Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and in Uttar Pradesh. Ashwagandha roots are stout, fleshy and whitish brown; the leaves are simple ovate, glabrous, those in the floral region smaller and opposite; the flowers are inconspicuous, greenish or lorid-yellow, in axillary, umbrallate cymes; berries are small, globose, orange-red when mature, enclosed in the persistent calyx; the seeds are yellow and reniform.
Parts used : Roots and leaves
Properties and uses : Ashwagandha has been used for over 2,500 years before the birth of Buddhism, Yoga and Christianity in India, as a healing herb in a number of forms to treat a huge variety of physical maladies. Today after thousand of years of continuous use Ashwagandha is still regarded as one of the most valuable medicinal herbs.
Often referred to as “Indian Ginseng” Ashwagandha is prescribed in case of debility where it is reported to promote strength, vigour
and vitality and acts as nature’s best adaptogen (an adaptogen fortifies the immune system, protects against mental and physical fatigue, fights stress, tension and normalizes all body functions.) The roots and leaves of the plant are used traditionally in the form of powder, decoction, oil and poultice etc. These have been used in folk medicine against general debility, hypertension, inflammations, asthma, cancer, tuberculosis, tumors, rheumatism, psoriasis, senility, smallpox, sores, syphilis, scabies, ringworm, typhoid, uterosis and wounds.
After long use in India, Ashwagandha has been introduced to the West and has enjoyed a very enthusiastic reception among the scientific
community. It’s use has been mentioned as an immuno-modulator, alterative, astringent, nervine sedative, aphrodisiac, adaptogen, amaeobicide and health restorative tonic etc. Ashwagandha prevents or cures everything from minor cough to deadly cancer, it no doubt has impressive adaptogenic properties. With a programme of good nutrition, it can boost both immunity and endurance. Chemical Constituents : The diverse pharmacological activities of this plant are due to its alkaloids and withanolides. Ashwagandha has been accurately termed as “adaptogen” an agent that causes adaptive reactions. Ashwgandha root contains 13 types of alkaloids including
cusehygrine, anahgrine, tropin, anaferin, withasomine, visamine, withanone and withaferin. The total alkaloids posses relaxant on smooth
muscles of blood vessels by musculo-tropic action. It has also tonic, astringent, aphrodisiac and nervine sedative properties. Besides these
alkaloids, root of Ashwagandha also contains an essential oil. Withaniol C25 H35 O5 , glycoside, starch, glucose and amino-acids. Pharmacological Studies : Sex-stimulant activity :
1. Regular consumption of withania somnifera root powder enhances the sexual power especially in elderly males. This is due to sex- stimulant and rejuvenating action of withania somnifera.
2. Ashwagandha is especially recommended for infertility in males due to its beneficial effects on semen characteristics. Sperm mortality increased by withania somnifera.
3. Is useful for premature ejaculation since it influences spermatorrhea. Withania somnifera additionally possesses a sedative effect and thereby helps to avoid over excitement.
4. Infuses fresh energy and vigour in the system worn out due to disease or ageing. Reduces levels of mental fatigue, so that a harmoinous sexual relationship of possible.
5. Is an aphrodisiac with special beneficial effects for loss of energy, as in premature ejaculation which may be concomitantly present.
Immuno-modulatory activity :
1. Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) provides the active ingredient withanolide and withaferin which affect the T&B Lymphocytes, as assessed by local xenogeneic ageing phenomenon and improve endurance levels in
2. Possesses an immuno-modulatory effect, which is vital for those cases having sperm antibodies.
Antioxidant activity :
1. The effect of Ashwagandha root was
evaluated for lipid peroxidation in stress. The herb was found to have a very good anti-oxidant activity, which may in part explain the anti-stress, congestion facilitating, antinflammatory and anti- ageing effects of this herb.
Antiageing effect :
Withania somnifera (Aswagandha) promotes growth especially during active growth period, probably by enhancing biosynthesis of tissue components with or without the release of growth hormones. It also causes stimulation of appetite leading to enhanced food intake. It may be reducing metabolic rate by its depressive action leading to diminished calorie utilization or by lowering body temperature by 1.5C0 which indicates a lower metabolic rate. It shows an increase in haemoglobin count, causes the development of black pigment in the hair and decreases calcium in nail. It causes reduction in serum cholesterol and erythrocyte sedimentation. It lowers blood pressure and strengthens heart. It is an immuno suppressive agent and thus helps inflammation of joints and prevents the connective tissue damage (rheumatic and arthritic pains). It contains amino acid arginine and steroidal principles, due to which it has an aphrodisiac effect.
N.B : For the above purposes only Ashwagandha “nagori” should be used and not the root obtained from wild plant. Herbal Anabolic Agent It is said to impart the power of a horse to human body by its rasayana (rejuvenating) effect. For gaining weight boil 20 gm Ashwagandha root powder in one litre of milk, till a thick slurry is formed, add Mishri and drink it in the morning. For additional benefit and if digestion is good,
and one teaspoonful of ghee to the milk is extremely beneficial.
(a) The second largest cause of mortality all over the world is carcinom e.g. cancer. The combination of surgery, radio-therapy though helps inthe treatment of cancer, is not without side effects. Ancient classical medical literature of Ayurveda describes in detail “Gumma Roga” a synonym of cancer and suggest remedies. The foremost among them is “Shwagandha” i.e whitania somnifera root, which is an anti-tumour, immunomodulant and adaptogenic drug. Extensive in vitro and in vivo studies have proven the efficacy of Ashwagandha and its effects as an adjuvant to Radiotherapy.
(b) A chemical extracted from the roots of this plant used intensively in traditional Ayurvedic medicine has shown anti-cancer properties, raising hope of better cure rates for cancers. The root extract of the plant, withania sominifera, known as “Ashwagandha” in India kills tumour cells on its own and in combination with modern cancer therapy, researchers announced at a scientific meeting here. When the plant extract is combined with conventional radiotheraphy, there is a powerful synergistic effect that gives better result than radio-therapy alone. Scientists from Kasturaba Medical College, Manipal said at the annual meeting of the Indian Society of Nuclear Medicine.
(c) Daily intake of Ashwagandha root powder (3-6 gm) helps in cancer by arresting the growth of fast dividing cells, provides protection to cells against cancers, lessens the deleterious effects of various chemicals and rays during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The administration of Ashwagandha root powder to cancer patients prevented the decrease in the body weight of the patients.
Clinical Studies :
1. The glucosides of withania somnifera exhibited significant antistress activity in albino rats. (Bhattacharya et al 1987)
2. The sitoinsides exhibited significant immunomodulatory and central nervous stimulant effects inclusive of anti-stress activity, augmented learning and memory in animals (Ghosh et al 1989).
3. The antianxiety efficacy of this drug in patients with anxiety neurosis reported by Singh and Malaviya (1978).
4. A double blind study in malnourished 4558 children was conducted with proven weight gain and improvement in I.Q. (Sesadri and Sudarshan).
5. Ashwagandha Rasayana (Withania somni fera powder processed seven times in decoction of the same plant) was administered for eight weeks at a dose of 3 gm. twice a day with water effective in keratitis and prevents fall of hair growth (O.P. Gupta et al 1995). Toxicity and Contraindication : No known toxicity or side effects; used in India for over 2, 500 years. It has been used as a
key ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines such as Ashwagandharista” (nervin tonic, recommended for nervous weakness, anxiety neurosis, epilepsy, sleeplessness and for general debility), “Ashwagandhadi Churna”, “Ashwagandhavaleha” etc.