Ashwagandha (Vitania sluggard) – a natural way to relieve stress and other problems!
Text updated 03.06.2021
Each of us suffers from numerous ailments, both physical and psychological, although the former are very often a symptom of the latter. In a sense, we can say that our body functions according to the principle of communicating vessels, one disease quickly becomes the cause of another. Thus a closed system is created, a kind of “vicious circle”, which has to be broken somehow. In order to do that various methods are used, usually pharmacological ones, which bring not only positive effects but also side effects that are difficult to accept. If we want to avoid them and, at the same time, get rid of what ails us, it is worth turning to traditional Ayuvedic medicine and one of the plants used in it. It is Ashwagandha (withania somnifera), also known as Vitania sluggard or Indian ginseng, is an adaptogen and is characterized by exceptionally broad healing properties.
- 1 Ashwagandha, where it comes from and what it is
- 2 Ashwagandha – a plant with adaptogenic properties
- 3 Ashwagandha – a unique composition beneficially affecting the entire body
- 4 Ashwagandha – comprehensive action on numerous aspects of health
- 4.1 Support the functioning of the brain and nervous system
- 4.2 Mitigating the negative effects of stress
- 4.3 Strengthening the immune system
- 4.4 Lowering blood cholesterol levels
- 4.5 No sleep disorders and fast falling asleep
- 4.6 Removing dangerous free radicals
- 4.7 Regulation of blood sugar levels
- 4.8 Protection of internal organs
- 4.9 Other ailments
- 5 Ashwagandha – contraindications and possible side effects
Ashwagandha, where it comes from and what it is
Witania came to our continent from the Far East, specifically from India and other countries in the region, where it has been used for thousands of years. The origin of its name is very interesting and the word ashwagandha was created by combining two Sanskrit words ashwahorse and gandhaaroma, i.e. it describes the smell of a horse and this is the characteristic smell of Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family, like potatoes for example, a small shrub with elongated green mat leaves, having bell-shaped flowers that turn into round red or orange fruits.
Ashwagandha – a plant with adaptogenic properties
Its powdered root is used as an ingredient in many preparations and dietary supplements. Ayurvedic medicine quickly appreciated its properties, and since its history is almost 5000 years old, it is worth applying some of the principles also at home, using first of all the adaptogenic properties of vitani. This means that it has a positive effect on the entire body, improving overall health while helping to alleviate the symptoms of various diseases andwithout most of the side effects often seen with popular pharmaceuticals. Ginseng makes the body adapt very quickly to any new conditions in which it must function, even the most unfavourable ones.
Ashwagandha – a unique composition beneficially affecting the entire body
Ginseng, like other plants used in natural medicine, owes its unique health-promoting properties to an equally unique composition which can be found in very few other herbs. It contains primarily one group of compounds which have a significant impact on its activity, and these are:
Organic, biologically active compounds belonging to the group of steroid lactones, having a broad impact on the human body, characterized by
- antibacterial, allowing to get rid of harmful pathogenic microorganisms;
- antiseptic, helping to clean wounds and protect against infection;
- antioxidant, thanks to which free radicals responsible for the development of many dangerous diseases are removed from the body;
- anticancer, making it possible, to some extent, to inhibit the multiplication of cancer cells;
- improves mental mood, the basis for successful relaxation and rest;
- removing the negative effects of stress and other states of nervous tension;
- alleviating sleep disorders, which untreated can even lead to chronic insomnia;
- accelerating regeneration of the body after large physical or mental exertion.
Apart from vitanolides, Vitania sluggisha also contains other substances conducive to health improvement:
- minerals: iron and calcium;
- vitamin C;
Ashwagandha – comprehensive action on numerous aspects of health
The benefits of including withania somnifera in your daily diet cannot be underestimated, although it is not a miracle panacea for all the ailments that may occur to us. I have deliberately used the words “daily diet” here, because it is this diet, in addition to physical activity, which is the most important if we want to enjoy full health for a long time and remain fit until old age.
The aim of using this variety of ginseng is to support processes allowing for proper functioning of practically all most important systems and organs of our body. Of course, the positive effects are not felt immediately, after the first dose of e.g. a supplement containing powdered ashwagandha root, satisfactory results are achieved after several weeks of treatment. However, it is worth to be patient, and the main benefits that such supplementation will bring us are:
Support the functioning of the brain and nervous system
We should take special care of our central computer which controls the work of virtually the whole body. After all, we should care about good memory, concentration, association of facts and undisturbed ability to absorb large amounts of new information. This is what a daily dose of vitamin E will allow us to do, thanks to which we will maintain full mental efficiencyfor a long time.
It is also increasingly appreciated as an element of prevention and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases, especially Alzheimera disease. Preliminary studies have shown that extracts containing the right vitani concentrations reduce fibrosis in brain tissue, which is one of the symptoms of the disease.
Mitigating the negative effects of stress
There’s no denying that stress is one of the worst civilization diseases we can encounter, and its effects are felt by a growing number of people around the world every year. Symptoms of stress may bother us for various reasons, but it is important to effectively remove them, as they may lead to the development of other, even more serious diseases.
It’s also worth knowing that stress is not just a psychological ailment, untreated it can upset physical health, which can be effectively prevented by ashwagandha, and its adaptogenic properties clearly help. This is due to the action of vitalools, which, as I described above, have the ability to relieve nervous tension, relax, calm down and allow us to fall asleep peacefully. It also improves the quality of sleep, reduces the risk of insomnia, which again is associated with the regulation of the “stress hormone”– cortisol.
As studies show, regular use of withania somnifera also has positive effects on depression, a disease that in many cases even requires clinical treatment. Similar satisfactory results have also been obtained in people suffering from neurosis, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Strengthening the immune system
The second foundation of our health, as important as brain and nervous system function, is a functioning immune system, also known as the immune system. It is a natural barrier providing protection against possible infections and diseases, which, if for various reasons is weakened, ceases to perform its function. Most often it is caused by viruses or bacteria, which can lead to other, no less serious diseases.
Its strengthening is a task for biologically active components of ashwagandha, showing strong antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Of great importance for a greater efficiency of the immune system are also adaptogenic properties of this plant facilitating adaptation of the body to almost any conditions in which it will have to live. So we won’t feel them too much, including stress, a factor highly disruptive to our health.
Lowering blood cholesterol levels
One of the health risks, mainly affecting the heart, cardiovascular system is too high levels of “bad” cholesterol, its fraction LDL. Cholesterol LDL begins to accumulate in the blood vessels, especially in the arteries, quickly leading to their narrowing, which poses a threat of venous blockages and atherosclerosis. ashwagandha helps to lower the LDL fraction while increasing and maintaining the HDL fraction, the so-called good cholesterol.
No sleep disorders and fast falling asleep
Specialists in various fields of medicine not for nothing say that we are not able to function without healthy sleep, which guarantees the appropriate quality of rest allowing to better regenerate the body, rebuild damaged physical and mental strength. withania somnifera can help here again, which results directly from its anti-stress properties, regulating the secretion of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Removing dangerous free radicals
When we speak of free radicals, we mean unpaired Reactive Oxygen Atoms (ROS), molecules lacking one of their electrons, which start searching for it by attacking other oxygen atoms. In this way they cause a reaction which results in more and more of these “orphaned” radicals and they begin to pose a threat to the body, being the cause of many diseases. It is worth mentioning here, for example:
- cardiovascular diseases;
- kidney failure;
- Alzheimer and Parkinson disease;
- chronic pancreatitis;
- Stage 1 and 2 diabetes;
- increased risk of stroke;
- especially dangerous cancers, such as pancreatic, breast, lung and colon cancer.
Vitania sluggard efficiently blocks the action of free radicals by maintaining a balance between their amount and antioxidants that counteract them.
Regulation of blood sugar levels
Diabetes, both stage 1 and 2, is another disease that cannot be underestimated under any circumstances and whose symptoms can be alleviated by extracts and dietary supplements containing Indian ginseng extracts. They work by reducing and then maintaining proper, safe blood sugar levels.
Protection of internal organs
First of all, the liver and stomach, without which there is no question of proper digestion, the basis for the effective fight against overweight and obesity. These important organs are most often disturbed by toxic substances, such as heavy metals and chemical compounds that are unfortunately also contained in food, water and the air we breathe.
Ashwagandha is used in the prevention and removal of the effects of many other ailments, such as
- joint disease, protecting against inflammation of joint cartilage and severe back or knee pain;
- infertility in men, due to the fact that it improves the quality of sperm, increasing sperm motility, viability and the number of sperm produced; it also increases testosterone levels, which in turn increases libido and overall sexual performance;
- Increasing the physical performance of the body, which is why withania somnifera supplements are recommended for people who take part in professional sports. It improves their oxygen ceiling, i.e. the body’s ability to absorb more oxygen.
Ashwagandha – contraindications and possible side effects
Despite its unquestionable and hard to question properties that benefit our health, ashwagandha is not for everyone who would like to use it. Among others, it cannot be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women, those suffering from autoimmune diseases and those taking certain medications, mainly painkillers or antiepileptics. The powdered plant itself and preparations containing it may also cause certain side effects:
- skin problems, more or less bothersome, mainly irritation, redness and severe itching, similar to acne;
- gastrointestinal problems, nausea or vomiting;
- lowered blood pressure that may cause dizziness or headaches.