Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
Ashwagandha is called as Indian ginseng and known to provide energy and strength to all body parts. Ashwagandha has been used by Ayurveda for thousands of years as rasāyana (rejuvenative) and an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it is used to help the body resist physiological and psychological stress. In Sanskrit, it is known by the name Ashwagandha, which means the odor of a horse. It is named so because of the odor of horse sweat that the roots seem to emanate, as well as the virility of a horse, an inference to the traditional use of ashwagandha to support a healthy male reproductive system.
Ashwagandha has a great significance in Oriental medical schools of thought, especially in the ancient Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, for many centuries. It had also been used by Native Americans and Africans in effort to keep away several types of infections. Extensive scriptures describing the Ashwagandha plant and its medicinal properties have been mentioned in both traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
The herb is known to act as a cyclooxygenase inhibitor that decreases inflammation and pain, useful in joint problems. A study conducted at the Centre for Biotechnology at the University of Allahabad in India showed that Ashwagandha possesses antibacterial properties in accordance with that traditional belief. Ashwagandha, with its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antistressor properties, is good for cardiovascular health problems. The effects of Ashwagandha on mental health, particularly in depression, were studied at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University in India & found beneficial in relation to anxiety and depression. A study on Ashwagandha’s effects on the thyroid gland revealed that the root extract, if given on a daily basis, would increase the secretion of thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha is also believed to possess anti-stress properties. Traditionally, it had been administered to induce a soothing and calming effect on a person with reduced oxidative stress.
Ashwagandha has Vat and kapha calming property & been widely believed for many centuries to have aphrodisiac properties and people used it as a medication to improve vitality and fertility. It was also observed that Ashwagandha increased the red blood cell, white blood cell, and platelets count as a haemopoetic agent.