Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is used in Ayurvedic medicine in the same way that Asian ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Ashwagandha is in the same plant family as the tomato, bearing similar yellow flowers and red fruit. Ashwagandha tea can be made from the leaves and roots of the plant and consumed for numerous health benefits. Grown mainly in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Hindi name means “horse’s smell” and refers not only to the odor but also to the horse-like strength of the plant. Consult a healthcare practitioner before treating any serious medical conditions with ashwagandha tea. Little research has been done to support any of the health benefits claimed for this herb.
Ashwagandha has been used for more than 2,500 years as an adaptogen, meaning that it helps the mind and body adapt better to stress. Ashwagandha has been used to rejuvenate, balance, strengthen and calm the nervous system as it relieves the fatigue, nervous exhaustion and memory loss associated with stress.
Ashwagandha has been found helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other memory problems. According to certified nutritionist Phyllis Balch, this herb helps correct memory loss by modifying the way the brain uses acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells. Ashwagandha helps by keeping the brain from destroying its own cells, preventing cognitive deficit and memory loss.
Ashwagandha has the reputation for being an aphrodisiac. It is believed that this herb not only increases sexual stimulation, but can increase sexual stamina and prevent male sterility and other sexual ailments.
Relaxation and Stress Relief
Ashwagandha is known to be a mild sedative as it reduces mental chatter and promotes calm sleep. In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used as a tonic to stimulate long-term endurance and resistance to stress.
Ashwagandha has been noted for its anti-aging benefits as it promotes tissue regeneration and slows the aging process. This herb has been used to nourish all the bodily tissues, including the joints and nerves.
Potent, naturally occurring steroids found in ashwagandha are useful in the treatment of several inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. These natural steroids can reduce the pain associated with inflammatory conditions as effectively as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.
- Prescription for Herbal Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
- Dr. Eddy's Integrated Medical Clinic: Ashwagandha
- tea image by Horticulture from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.