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Ashwagandha - Withania somnifera

Scientists have discovered that the Indian herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) counters some of the oxidative damage generated by nervous tension. Ashwagandha has been shown to confer improvements in well-being and a healthy outlook.

Ashwaganda is currently being applied in Ayurvedic herbal medicine to treat hypertension and stress related ailments. Recent studies have attempted to popularize its use as a preliminary treatment for male infertility and impotence problems.

Studies completed so far support that W. somnifera may possibly be beneficial for easing drug withdrawal symptoms, reducing anxiety. In a large clinical trial, ashwagandha reduced levels of the hormone cortisol by up to 26% while maintaining already normal blood sugar levels and lipid profiles. Subjects who took the standardized ashwagandha extract reported improvements in energy, Sleep and well-being, as well as diminished fatigue. Additional research suggests that ashwagandha confers neuroprotection by supporting the regeneration of axons and dendrites, nerve cell components that support brain and nervous system function.

Ashwagandha grows as a short shrub (35-75 cm) with a central stem from which branch extend radially in a star pattern (stellate) and covered with a dense matte of wooly hairs (tomentose). The flowers are small and green, while the ripe fruit is orange-red and has milk-coagulating properties. The plant also has long brown tuberous roots that are used for medicinal purposes. It is cultivated in many of the drier regions of India such as Manasa, Neemuch, and Jawad tehsils of the Mandsaur District of Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Sind. and Rajastan.

Botanical safety guidelines in the US and Germany have suggested that Ashwaganda may be a mild abortifacient and it is not recommended for pregnant women.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.