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Ashwagandha-The King of Ayurvedic Herbs

by in Ayurvedic Medicine, Natural Products July 9, 2022

Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that is used for various kinds of disease processes and specially as a nervine tonic. It is commonly known as “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng”. It is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs used for millenia as a Rasayana for its wide-ranging health benefits. Rasayana is described as a herbal or metallic preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness. These types of medicines as given to small children as tonics and are also taken by middle aged and elderly to increase longevity. Among the Ayurvedic Rasayana herbs, Ashwagandha holds the most prominent place.

Ashwagandha is commonly available as a churna (powder), a fine sized powder that can be mixed with water, ghee (clarified butter) or honey. It can also be found in pill format. It enhances the function of the brain and nervous system and improves the memory. It improves the function of the reproductive system promoting a healthy sexual and reproductive balance. Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body’s resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the bod’s defence against disease by improving cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Classical Uses of Ashwagandha – Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine practised in India can be traced back to 6000 BC. For most of these 6000 years, Ashwagandha has been used as a Rasayana. The root of Ashwagandha is regarded as a tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, thermogenic and stimulant. It is commonly used in emaciation of children (when given with milk it is the best tonic for children), debility from old age, rheumatism, vitiated conditions of vata, leukoderma, constipation, insomnia, nervous breakdown, goiter etc. The paste formed when roots are crushed with water is applied to reduce the inflammation at the joints. It is also locally applied in carbuncles, ulcers and painful swellings. The root in combination with other drugs is prescribed for snake venom as well as in scorpion sting. It helps in leucorrhoea, boils, pimples, flatulent colic, worms and piles. The leaves are bitter and are recommended in fever, painful swellings. The flowers are astringent, depurative, diuretic and aphrodisiac. The seeds are anthelmintic and combined with astringent and rock salt remove white spots from the cornea. Ashwagandharishta prepared form it is used in hysteria, anxiety, memory loss, syncope, etc. It also acts as a stimulant and increases the sperm count.

Ashwagandha’s effect on neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s diseases- In brains of patients suffering from other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the atrophy of neuritis has also been observed as a significant part of the ethology. There are dozens of studies that show that Ashwagandha slows, stops and reverses or removes neurotic atrophy and synaptic loss. Therefore Ashwagandha can be used to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and other neurodegenerative diseases at any stage of the disease, even before a person has been diagnosed and is still in the state of mild forgetfulness, etc.

About Ciara Ryan
I am a certified Hatha/Vinyasa and Yin Yoga teacher and an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant based in the South East of Ireland. I teach weekly yoga classes and I offer Lifestyle Consultations and a range of authentic Ayurvedic therapies to my clients.