Ashwagandha, Debility, Chronic stress, Adaptogenic herb
Adaptogenic herb, Ashwagandha, Chronic stress, Debility
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) belongs to Solanaceae family and has been widely and extensively evaluated, studied herb for a few hundred years by various civilizations and scholars.
In Sanskrit, an ancient beautiful language, Ashwagandha means, ‘it smells like a horse’. The many other names that Ashwagandha goes with means ‘gives Strength, wealth and well being to body and mind’.
It is not an astonishing thing to say that Ashwagandha has unique credibility in India. If one did not know any medicine or if one could not name any diseases, he/she would ask for Ashwagandha. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine it is considered as one of an end all products. This means, for unnamed and un-diagnosed health conditions, Ashwagandha is a great remedy. This is the truth that I have observed over my one and half decades of practice and I had many success stories with this simple herb.
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Though many therapeutic aspects have been postulated for Ashwagandha, the main indication where it is the only one that can be strongly recommended is that it is an Adaptogenic herb. Adaptogenic herb means, it keeps and also makes the body, mind adaptable to any sort of circumstances. It means Ashwagandha prepares the body and mind fit enough to fight and face any sort of illnesses. This main character covers all of its therapeutic activities from simple common colds to complex medical conditions.
My observation revealed that Ashwagandha as a herbal supplement, builds up the body tissues with qualitative strength. In addition, the observation I made is that it gives coolness and calmness to mind and creates a sort of psychological wellbeing, with which all psychosomatic components of the body disappears. Many animal studies and observations have been made in this regard. In my clinical practice, plain Ashwagandha tablets of 500 mg were given 2 to 3 times a day with milk and sugar to patients. Over a period of three months, people that have generalized Asthenia or debility showed significant improvement. In my opinion, this was a much better option than giving simple vitamin pills that do not work for most people experiencing Asthenia or debility.
Here is a reference or a study-
Adaptogenic activity of Withania Somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model, for chronic stress. Bhattacharya SK, Muruganandam AV.
Abstract Withania Somnifera (WS) Dunal is classified in Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu system of medicine, as a rasayana, a group of plant-derived drugs reputed to promote physical and mental health, augment resistance of the body against disease and diverse adverse environmental factors, revitalize the body in debilitated conditions and increase longevity. These attributes are remarkably similar to the properties ascribed to adaptogens like Panax ginseng (PG) in contemporary medicine. As such, the Adaptogenic activity of a standardized extract of WS roots was investigated against a rat model for chronic stress (CS). The stress procedure was mild, unpredictable foot shock, administered once daily for 21 days to adult male Wistar rats. CS induced significant hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, and increase in plasma corticosterone levels, gastric ulcerations, male sexual dysfunction, cognitive deficits, immunosuppression and mental depression. These CS induced perturbations were attenuated by WS (25 and 50 mg/kg po) and by PG (100 mg/kg po), administered 1 h before foot shock for 21 days. The results indicate that WS, like PG, has significant antistress Adaptogenic activity, confirming the clinical use of the plant in Ayurveda.
There are many herbal supplements out there that have Ashwaagandha in them.
Dr. Veena Deo is the moderator and editor of this article originally written by Dr. Satyanarayana, an Ayurvedic Doctor in India. All the information and on supplements provided above and opinions expressed should not be construed as any medical advice.