The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “horse-like.”
In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as “Indian ginseng.” Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments.
- Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma),bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, and chronic liver disease.
- Ashwagandha is also used as an “adaptogen” to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic.
- Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), and preventing the effects of aging.
- It is also used for fertility problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire.
- Ashwagandha is applied to the skin for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).
- Cognitive Benefits of Ashwagandha: In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the main uses of ashwagandha root extract is to enhance memory and improve brain function. One of the mechanisms responsible for this effect is ashwagandha’s antioxidant action. Since oxidative stress contributes to neurodegenerative disorders, lessening oxidative damage may offer neuroprotection.Multiple studies have been performed to evaluate the neuroprotective properties of ashwagandha root extract on rats and found that it helps to prevent some instances of memory impairment and oxidative stress of the brain
- Ashwagandha to Relieve Stress: Stress affects both mind and body and can be a strain that leads to underperformance. Most people will also testify that stress reduces quality of life. Ashwagandha has been documented in Ayurvedic and Greek medicine for its stress-combating properties.The Department of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry at India’s Asha Hospital orchestrated a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving sixty-four subjects with a history of chronic stress. After separating the participants into control and study groups, the study group began supplementing with high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract. After two months, the study group reported significant improvements in all stress measurements and quality of life; all without serious side effects.
- Stress and Male Fertility: Additionally, stress is known to be a contributing factor for male infertility. Along with Tribulus terrestris, Ashwagandha is prized for its stimulating effects on fertility.The Department of Biochemistry at C.S.M. Medical University conducted a study involving sixty infertile men who, however, did have normal sperm production. Participants were given five grams of ashwagandha root powder every day for three months. At the study’s conclusion, stress reductions and improvements in semen quality were observed in many of the participants and 14% of the participants’ partners ended up becoming pregnant.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not use ashwagandha if you are pregnant. It is rated LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the use of ashwagandha during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Diabetes: Ashwagandha might lower blood sugar levels. This could interfere with medications used for diabetes and cause blood sugar levels to go to low. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.
- High or low blood pressure: Ashwagandha might decrease blood pressure. This could cause blood pressure to go to low in people with low blood pressure; or interfere with medications used to treat high blood pressure. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously if you have low blood pressure or take medications for your blood pressure.
- Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Don’t use ashwagandha if you have a stomach ulcer. “Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using ashwagandha.
- Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously or avoided if you have a thyroid condition or take thyroid hormone medications.
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha seems to increase the immune system. Taking ashwagandha along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
- Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.
- Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
- Thyroid hormone interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking ashwagandha with thyroid hormone pills might cause too much thyroid hormone in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormone.
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