Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera of family Solanaceae) is one of the important Rasayana herm in Ayurveda. This herb is adaptogenic that is it helps in normalizing the physiological functions of the body. All the parts of the plant Ashwagandha are used for medicinal purposes. The most important part is the roots of the plant. Ashwagandha root benefits are antistress, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and eng]hance sexual performance (1).
Traditional use of ashwagandha is for energy, strength, blood, semen and to preserve youthful vigor. This herb helps treat chronic fatigue, weakness, dehydration, impotence and also rejuvenates the reproductive organs (2).
Ashwagandha plant botanical description
Withania somnifera is a dicotyledonous evergreen perennial under-shrub plant. The leaves have prominent midrib entire along the margin and acute to obtuse from the apex. Flowers are there throughout the year and are sessile to subsessile in structure. These are hermaphrodite with yellow or dull green petals. Berries are globose, 5-8 mm broad, containing numerous, small, sub-pyriform to reniform, minutely reticulate-foveolate, yellowish-brown, smooth discoid seeds (3)
Ashwagandha root benefits
1. Anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwangdha roots
Ashwagandha root powder orally helps in the reduction of inflammatory through inhibition of complement, lymphocyte proliferation, and delayed-type hypersensitivity. Research has been done to study the anti-inflammatory property of the root (4). Studies suggested that cyclooxygenase inhibition may be involved in the mechanism of action of ashwagandha root (5).
2. Ashwagandha powder helps in reducing the stress and improves the performance
Studies done on the animal model suggested that ashwagandha powder, when taken in water for 7 days, helps in reducing the stress level and increase better performance. This is because the root powder of ashwagandha helps in enhancing the plasma corticosterone level (6).
3. Aphrodisiac activity of ashwagandha root
The root powder of ashwagandha used as a tonic for the treatment of various types of sexual disorders like spermatopathia, impotence, and seminal depletion. The aphrodisiac property of the root powder is mainly because of its high in inorganic elements concentration like Fe, Mg, K, and Ni. The root along with milk helps in treating the sterility in women (7).
4. Ashwagandha roots are rich in antioxidants
Free radical damage of nervous tissue like the brain and nervous system causes neural loss, aging and neurodegenerative diseases. As the most active part of our body is the brain as it contains more lipids and iron, therefore, are more susceptible to oxidative loss.
Ashwagandha root benefits are that it is rich in antioxidants and compounds like withaferin A thus increase the SOd and decrease the activity of free radical enzymes (1).
5. Immunomodulatory property
Ashwagandha powder and tonic helps in fighting against various types of diseases by strengthening the immune system of the body.
6. Effective against arthritis
The powder of ashwagandha is used against rheumatoid arthritis. It has compounds like withaferin A, therefore, it is useful in acute rheumatoid arthritis and reduces the discomfort associated with arthritis (8).
7. The rejuvenating effect of ashwagandha root powder
Ashwagandha powder is widely used as a health tonic for all age groups. The root extract of ashwagandha acts as a rejuvenating tonic because of its adaptogenic properties. It helps in increasing the efficiency of the body, reduces stress and body weight and also regulates the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
8. Cardioprotective properties of ashwagandha powder
Ashwagandha root extract helps in restoring the balance of the body. It widely used in Chinese and Indian medicine for various cardiovascular disorders. The research suggested that the ashwagandha powder helps in restoring the lactate dehydrogenase and phosphokinase activity thus have a cardioprotective effect (9).
9. Prevents stress-induced ulcer
Studies done on animal models suggest that ashwagandha powder helps in the prevention of stress-induced ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract (10).