(NaturalNews) Ashwagandha is a widely used herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is perhaps most well known for its relaxing effects on the nervous system. However, this herb has numerous other important health benefits that can be a great addition to any natural health supplementation regimen.
Natural adaptogen for effective stress management
The reason ashwagandha helps promote relaxation and anxiety reduction is that it is a natural adaptogen which protects the nervous system and enhances our ability to minimize the effects of stress and anxiety. It has also exhibited superior protective qualities which help reduce the degenerative effects of stress on the immune system.
Chronic stress has incredibly destructive effects on all of the cells in the body. By reducing these destructive effects, the herb is thought to help slow the aging process. It is also known as a powerful antioxidant since it has protective benefits which help prevent early cell death, mutation and oxidative stress.
The herb has performed as well as or better than some common anxiety medications in studies. Recommended dosage is usually 300-500 mg once or twice a day depending on need. In one study, participants reported an enhanced sense of well-being, more restful sleep and lower levels of perceived stress. It has also demonstrated impressive benefits in reducing the level of the highly destructive "stress hormone" cortisol.
Other compelling benefits of ashwagandha
In addition to powerful stress and anxiety control, this herb offers several other health and wellness benefits. Perhaps the most compelling is its immunity-building effects, which is still a common use for the herb in modern ayurvedic medicine.
One recent study showed that its natural immune-boosting properties were particularly enhanced when consuming the herb with cow's milk. In particular, higher counts of critical white blood cells such as T cells and Natural Killer classes of white blood cells were noted. These cells are critical in fighting off common illnesses but also play a major role in combating cancerous or mutated cells.
So not only can ashwagandha boost your overall immunity, but it also has the potential to be a serious anti-cancer agent. It is being studied as a natural remedy for various types of cancer as well as a complimentary medicine for pairing with more traditional (and unfortunately toxic) western medicine cancer treatments.
Studies have shown the herb inhibits the growth of various types of cancer cells in a lab although further human tests are necessary. The reproduction of breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer cells was slowed or stopped in lab tests.
In addition, ashwagandha appears to inhibit the growth of supporting blood vessels which supply cancer cells with oxygen and other nutrients to feed on. This means it slows or inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors which begin to thrive and multiply based on this network of supportive blood vessels.
The herb is also being studied as a potential natural remedy for diseases associated with the degeneration of nerve pathways and brain function such as Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson's disease. This is because it has demonstrated an ability to promote the growth of nerve cells.
Side effects of ashwagandha
The best part is that it has minimal side effects compared to many pharmaceutical drugs. It is not recommended for use by pregnant women. Some may experience sleeplessness if taken right before bed as it sometimes can have a stimulant effect before the relaxation effect kicks in. However, others report the herb helps them sleep better before bed time so it likely depends on your body chemistry as to how the herb effects you during various times of day.Sources for this article include:http://www.chopra.com/ashwagandhahttp://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/jun2006_report_ashwa_01.htmhttp://www.science20.comAbout the author:
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