Ashwagandha
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Ashwagandha ASHWAGANDHA  
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Botanical:   Withania somnifera
Family:   Solanaceae (nightshade)
Other common names:  Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Withania

Try Ashwagandha to detoxify and rejuvenate your body.   The herb acts as an overall tonic and works to stimulate the immune system and improving mental clarity and physical performance  and is also reputed to enhance longevity, stimulate sexual vitality and increase sex drive.  Ashwagandha is considered an effective anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antitussive that is also used as a pain reliever and mild sedative.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Since antiquity, Ayurvedic physicians have used Ashwagandha as a rejuvenating tonic  Its use extends back four thousand years and is mentioned in the teachings of the great Indian sage, Punarvasu Atriya.  It is a woody shrub that generally grows to about three feet, but some species are known to reach heights of seven feet.  Ashwagandha is found in such diverse locations as India, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), Africa, the Middle East and Mediterranean regions; and the various geographic locations slightly influence the properties of each species.  Ashwagandha derives its name from a Hindi word, meaning “horse's smell,” and the description refers not only to the odor of the horse, but also to the strength of the horse.  The primary chemical constituents of this herb include alkaloids, steroidal lactones and the compounds known as withanoloids, which are believed to account for the multiple medicinal applications of this herb.  It also contains iron.  Today's scientists are studying and substantiating, through technology, many of the complex applications of Ashwagandha and other herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine so many years ago.

Beneficial Uses:
As a major botanical tonic for overall good health and stamina, Ashwagandha has been used to rejuvenate the body and counter the ravages of ageing.  In recent studies, pharmacologists have suggested that it may improve cerebral function, including learning ability, memory retention and senile dementia.  It is said to boost physical performance, stimulate sexual capacity and enhance reproductive function in both men and women.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, or substance that helps the body adapt to emotional and physical stress and reinstate the metabolic balance in the body after stressful situations, helping the body return to normal function and restoring a sense of well-being.  It is said to produce healthful effects similar to those of Panax ginseng.

Ashwagandha helps to energize and revitalize the entire central nervous system, working to avoid many stress related disorders, including the depletion of vitamin C and the increase of cortisol.  The researchers also found that it may reduce the incidence of gastric ulcers and acts as a good general tonic to be used in situations involving overwork, overindulgence, nervousness and fatigue, and it also helps to combat restlessness, stress and anxiety.

Ashwagandha is considered an anti-inflammatory that may be very useful as a rheumatoid arthritis support.   The plant's high steroid content was found to be more potent than hydrocortisone in animal and human arthritic studies.

As an antitussive, the herb acts as a cough suppressant; as an antiseptic, it fights infection; and as an antispasmodic, it helps to relieve involuntary muscle spasms and cramps.  The last is particularly valuable when it relaxes spasms of the lungs, providing relief for both asthma and emphysema.

As its botanical genus, Somnifera, suggests, Ashwagandha may sometimes produce sedation. Used as a mild sedative, Ashwagandha has been especially helpful for those who suffer from occasional insomnia and anxiety, and because it balances serotonin levels in the brain (which contribute to the sensitivity of pain receptors in the body), the herb has been shown to relieve pain, including headache.

Ashwagandha has been used for centuries to enhance and stimulate the immune system, as well as detoxify the body.  Modern researchers state that its use appears to lower serum cholesterol levels while showing significant increases in hemoglobin and red blood cell count (perhaps due to its iron content).  The herb is considered a “vitalizer” and is excellent when used in bodybuilding or any type of physical sport, as it gives instant and long-lasting energy without the use of stimulants.

Ashwagandha is believed to help revive diminished sex drive.  It is considered a sexual "grounding" herb that has been used to reduce frequency of premature ejaculation and enhance sexual stamina.  Ashwagandha's active principles, alkaloids and withanoloids, are thought to have longevity-enhancing and sexually-stimulating properties, and the cumulative sexual effects usually take hold after about a week of daily use.

In laboratory tests, Ashwagandha was shown to possess certain qualities that may combat serious invasive disease, as well as inhibit the growth of malignant tumors or putting them into regression.

Ashwagandha is a “bitter” that is used to stimulate the appetite.  When it was administered to malnourished children as a supplement, it appeared to increase body weight significantly.

Ashwagandha is considered a good tonic for the mind and useful for those who have overindulged in work, substance abuse or too much alcohol.

Contraindications:
Do not use Ashwagandha Herbal Supplement if you are taking anxiety or anti-seizure medication.  Ashwagandha may potentiate the sedative effect of barbiturates.  You may feel as if you want to sleep more if you take Ashwagandha and pentobarbital (medicine used to help you sleep).  Pregnant women should avoid this herb, and if you are breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before taking Ashwagandha.  Do not take Ashwagandha if you have leukemia and are being treated with cyclophosphamide (a "chemo" medicine).  Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it: Feeling cold (decrease in body temperature) or upset stomach.

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