(NaturalNews) Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, most widely used to aid the mind and body in adapting to stress. It is indigenous to India, used and studied by Ayurvedic practitioners for centuries. Ashwagandha helps its users to remain calm during times of stress whether emotional or physical, as with hard labor or vigorous exercise. Ashwagandha is a powerful soothing tonic, useful to restore vitality and prolong longevity. Its anti-spasmotic effects have been used in the treatment of asthma. Traditionally, ashwagandha is used in pregnancy to relax the uterus to stop miscarriages, also known as spontaneous abortions.
Two Clinical Studies Show Ashwagandha`s Adaptability
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine released a study in 2009 which was performed to determine the efficacy of ashwagandha as an immune booster. Five participants consumed ashwagandha extract twice a day for four days. Blood samples were drawn before and after the study was done, plus once at 24 hours. Across the sampling, there was a significant change in immune cell activity at the end of the four day study. The conclusion of the report was that "more study is warranted."
In another clinical study, the traditional use of ashwagandha as a "rasayana," an herb known to promote health, prevent disease, and promote longevity, provided the motivation to determine whether ashwagandha could be used as an alternative to antidepressants and anti-anxiety pharmaceutical drugs. A team of researchers in the Department of Pharmacology at Bandaras Hindu University, led by S.K. Bhattacharya, published their findings in Phytomedicine, in December of 2000. The researchers found that ashwagandha does stabilize mood in both anxiety and depression in rat models.
Herbalists Widely Recommend Ashwagandha for Adrenal Support
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys. They secrete some sex hormones, control blood glucose, and regulate sodium levels in the blood. They also secrete epinephrine and norepinephrine, the stress-reducing hormones.
If the human body is exposed to long term physical or emotional stress, the adrenals can malfunction. This leads to adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. Just a few symptoms of adrenal fatigue include feeling exhausted all the time, only having energy at night, craving sweet or salty foods, feeling overwhelmed and experiencing brain fog, low immune function, low blood pressure and extreme sensitivity to cold.
Besides avoiding stimulants such as caffeine and switching to a low-sugar diet, ashwagandha may be taken to help restore balance to the adrenal glands and the entire body. Herbalists recommend taking between one and three tablespoons of ashwagandha daily. Referring to its taste, ashwagandha is called "the sweat of a horse." Because of the taste, some herbalists recommend taking ashwagandha with organic apple cider vinegar and others suggest taking it with a glass of raw, unpasteurized milk.
[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.] Sources:
Dreddy Clinic.com, "Ashwagandha- Indian Ginseng (Withania somnifera)"
Altmd.com, "Ashwagandha Herbal Remedies"
Pubmed.gov, Mikolai J, et.al. "In vivo effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on the activation of lymphocytes." J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Apr, 15(4): 423-30.
Medical-Dictionary. The Free Dictionary.com, "Rasayana"
Pubmed.gov, Bhattacharya, SK, et.al. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 2000 Dec;7(6):463-9.
About.com, "Adrenal Fatigue/ Adrenal Exhaustion"
About the author
Donna Rae is a freelance writer, blogger, and herbalist. She owns Donna Rae Online Writing Services (ANCHOR TEXT) , niche writing regularly in the alternative health care and education industries. Donna also owns Donna Rae At Home.com, a college prep home education website, and Bluebonnet Natural Healing Therapies.com ANCHOR TEXT, a blog site dedicated to educating people new to using herbs and natural methods to improve health.