What is Ashwaghandha?
Other Names: withania somnifera, Indian ginseng, winter cherry, withania
Ashwaghandha root has been used for more than 2000 years in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional medicine system originating in India.
The name ashwaghandha means "smells like a horse", because of the characteristic odor of this herb. It's also believed to mean that it could make someone as strong as a horse. It's sometimes called Indian ginseng.
The active component in ashwaghandha is thought to be withanolides.
Why People Use Ashwaghandha
Ashwaghandha has been used traditionally as a longevity tonic to boost mental and physical energy, stamina, vitality and sexual energy.
Ashwaghandha is believed to have a calming effect on the central nervous system. Preliminary studies have found that it reduce elevated stress hormones such as cortisol. Because it is a mild sedative, ashwaghandha is also used as a remedy for stress-related insomnia.
2) Alzheimer's Disease
One of the changes in the brain that occurs with Alzheimer's results in a decrease in the levels of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger believed to be necessary for memory, thought, and judgment.
Several studies suggest ashwaghandha may potentially be helpful for people with early stage Alzheimer's disease because it may improve the way nerve cells respond to acetylcholine. Alzheimer's drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors, also work this way. This may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease and stabilize symptoms.
Side Effects and Safety
As with other herbs that have a sedative effect, ashwaghandha has the capacity to impair mental and physical performance, depress mood, slow breathing so it should be used with caution.
Ashwaghandha should not be combined with alcohol or other sedative herbs, supplements or medications.
The safety of ashwaghandha in pregnant or nursing women or children isn't known.
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