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Ayurveda treatment

Ashwagandha: Introduction

Family Name: Solanaceae
Latin Name: Withania Somnifera
Sanskrit Name: Ashwagandha, Varahkarni, Palasparni, Ammukiram, Pivari, Pushtida, Bajikari, Turagi
Hindi Name: Asagandha, Nagori Asagandha
Gujarati: Asod, Ghoda Ahan, Ghoda Akan, Asun
marathi: Asagandha, Dorgunj, Asagandh
Bengali: Ashwagandha
Persian: Meheman

This grows in the temperate climates. It grows up to a height of 5000 feet in Western India and Himalayan regions. The stems are around 3 to 4 feet in height. One plant survives for up to 4 to 5 years. The leaves are bowl shaped, small and without thorns. It remains green for 12 months near big trees and ponds. Its stem contain fibre like texture. The leaves are oval shaped , 2 to 4 inches long and contain fibre. The flowers are blooming at the base of the stems are small, somewhat long with chimney shape and yellowish green in colour. The flowers bloom from the base of the leaves and become red when wipe. The seeds are small, heart shaped, smooth and flat. The roots are rough, white from within, strong, transparent, thick and one to one and half feet long. Crushing the fresh leaves and raw roots gives urine like smell and hence named Ashwagandha, Ashwa means ' horse' and gandha means 'smell'. The seeds are sown in rainy season and harvested in the spring season.

Chemical Composition of Ashwagandha:

The roots excrete Cuseihygrine, Anahygrine, Tropine and 13 different kinds of acid. The acids include Vithenyle oil, which evaporates, Hentiroctane, Phitosteryl are obtained. It also contains a chemical called Bidaphyrine A. Other than these Glycocide, Vithenyle, acidic starch, contain Vethinine and someniphyrine alkaline and nicotine somanani vetheninine alkaline.

Qualities: Small, oily

Rasa: Pungent, bitter and sweet

Ripe: Sweet, slightly pungent

Strength: Hot and light

Chemical in nature, bright, strong and beneficial in case of watery diseases, vata, kapha, respiratory problems, tuberculosis, swelling, leprosy, poison, wounds, blood purifier, pain, swelling in the uterus and vagina, bleeding, pain reliever. It excretes urine, strong chemical. Regular consumption of Ashwagandha for one year removes the deformities of the body. Consumption of Ashwagandha in the months of December and january removes weakness and makes the body strong. All these qualities are of the roots.
Medicinal Uses of Ashwagandha

According to Charaka Samhita, Ashwagandha is strong. Sushrut and Chakradutt also consider it to be strong. According to them there is no other plant in Ayurveda, which can provide so much of strength. Chakradutt says that consuming this medicine for 15 days regularly with milk, ghee or plain water brings back the youth fullness. It is very effective in case of Leucoderma, bronchitis and asthma according to Kirtikar and Vasu. Nadkarni says that Ashwagandha is a tonic, which increases sperm count and sexual potency. In the rural areas vegetable made out of this plant is given to TB patients. It increases the iron content in the blood. Sohat has termed it anti-tumor. It is considered to be one of the seven ayurvedic herbs capable of curing AIDS. The Bidaphyrine chemical present in the plant is capable of killing the cancer cells. C.A. Mayor has compared this herb with the famous Ginseng and Ashwagandha is called as Indian Ginseng.

Ashwagandha for Weakness:

Taking Ashwagandha powder with milk, ghee or water cures weakness in children, weakness in old people and reduces the aging process. (Available Kohinoor Gold Capsules with one of the ingredients as Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha for Sleeplessness:

Taking ashwagandha powder with ghee made out of cow milk or sugar cures sleeplessness and pain in the hips.

The decoction is beneficial to cure tuberculosis. Adding honey in the juice of winter cherry leaves cures the problem of sleeplessness due to joint pain.

Pain in the Hips and Back Pain:

Adding sugar candy and ghee in Ashwagandha powder cures pain in the hips and backache. (Available Arthcare Massage Oil containing Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha for Weak Eyesight:

Add liquorice in Ashwagandha powder and take it with amla juice to cure weak eyesight

Ashwagandha for Old Age Problems:

Taking Ashwagandha powder with honey and ghee regularly for one month in winter season cures old age problems.

Ashwagandha for Heart Pain:

Take Ashwagandha powder and Baheda with jaggery for quick relief in heart ache. ( Available Cardocare Capsules containing Ashwagandha)

All types of problems:

Regular consumption of Ashwagandha with Giloy extract and honey cures all types of problems.

Vata dosha (wind related problem):

Consumption of Ashwagandha, Shatavari, ghee and honey cures the vata dosha

White Discharge and Infertility:

Take round 3gm of Ashwagandha powder with 12gm of sugar candy and sugar twice daily with milk to cure white discharge and infertility (Available Femm' reve Libido Enhancer for Women containing Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha for Constipation:

Take Ashwagandha powder with hot milk to cure constipation

Ashwagandha for Impotency:

Take Ashwagandha powder and sugar in equal proportions measuring 3 to 6 gm with milk everyday cures impotency (Available Kohinoor Gold Capsules with one of the ingredients as Ashwagandha)

Old Age:

1. Add one gm each of Ashwagandha, sugar candy, honey and take 10gm ghee every morning to improve humors, strengthening the body and brings back youthfulness.

2. Take equal quantities of Ashwagandha and Vidhara powder and store it in greasy container. Take around 6 to 12 gm twice daily with hot milk regularly for 4 months. his cures vata dosha, old age related problems and rejuvenates the body. The same medicine taken with 6gm ghee and 3 gm honey cures the disease in which vital humors of the body are excreted through urine.

3. Take 10gm Ashwagandha with Amla juice everyday and gradually increase the quantity. This stops aging.

Ashwagandha for Increasing Stamina and Sperm Count:

Add Ashwagandha in one fourth quantity of ghee, grind it nicely and store it in a container. Take 5gm of this powder with milk or lukewarm water regularly for one month to increase strength and sperm. This cures all types of pains ad wind related problems. (Available Best For Men with one of the ingredients as Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha for Physical Weakness:

Extract of the pure oil from Ashwagandha roots cures weakness and wind related problems (Available Super Vital Immunity Booster Containing Ashwagandha)

Dream Problem:

Take 12gm each of Ashwagandha , Vidhara, Jaiphal, small cardamom, Nagarmotha, Gokharu, cronch seeds, Shatavari, Triphala, Lajvanti, poppy seeds and vansh lochan. Grind and sieve them nicely. Add equal quantity of sugar candy and take 6gm of this medicine twice daily with milk to cure dream problems

Wind Related Problems:

Add ghee in the decoction of Ashwagandha powder and cook. Consume this to cure wind related problem. It helps the women to conceive.

Ashwagandha for Stomach Disorder:

Grind Ashwagandha roots in cow urine and apply on the affected ares to cure the swelling due to stomach disorder

Wind Related Problem due to heart Disease:

Grind Ashwagandha powder with hot water and take it regularly to cure wind related problem due to heart disease

Bleeding due to vata:

Take decoction made out of Ashwagandha roots and sugar to cure bleeding due to vata dosha

Ashwagandha for Reduction in Breast Milk:

Make decoction with Ashwagandha roots, Vidharikand and Mulethi and take it with milk to increase the breast milk.

Ashwagandha for Arthritis:

Coarsely grind the roots, skin , leaves, flowers and fruits of Ashwagandha and take out the rasa, take at least 30 to 60 gm of this juice to cure arthritis. (Available Arthcare Massage Oil containing Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha for Piles:

Add the skin of Ashwagandha and Nirgundi with Kateri fruits and paipal with ghee and burn it. Give fumigation in the rectum area to cure piles.

Poison: In case of snake bite give 6gm of Ashwagandha roots juice at an interval of 1 hour to remove the effect of poison

Ashwagandha for Whooping Cough:

Take 12gm of Ashwagandha, grind them and add 12 gm of sugar candy, now pour one liter water and make the decoction till it reduces to one-eight quantity. Give this decoction in little quantity to cure whooping cough.

Ashwagandha for Joint pain:

Take 3 gm of winter cherry powder and add equal quantity of ghee and one gm unrefined sugar and take it twice daily to cure joint pain. (Available Arthcare Massage Oil containing Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha for Blood Impurities:

Take equal quantities of Ashwagandha powder and sugar, make a fine powder and take 4gm with honey to cure blood impurities.

The word Ashwagandha literally means "the sweat of a horse" indicating that one who takes it would have the strength and sexual vitality of a horse.

Latest researches reveal that Ashwagandha, if given in proper dose, can restore the neurotransmitters and hence can be useful in various mental disorders. Ashwagandha can be used by both men and women and it acts to calm the mind and promote sound, restful sleep. Ashwagandha works as an adaptogen, promoting the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and resist stress. It prevents or minimizes imbalances that may lead to disease, whether from poor diet, lack of sleep, mental or physical strain, or chemical toxins in the environment. It is especially beneficial in stress related disorders such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, general debility, etc. It has also shown impressive results when used as a stimulant for the immune system. Ashwagandha is a unique herb with anti-stress adaptogenic action that leads to better physical fitness and helps to cope with life's daily stress.

FAQ's about Ashwagandha

1. What is Ashwagandha?

A - Often called Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an herb that improves the body’s ability to maintain physical effort and helps the body adapt to various types of stress. Ashwagandha has been used to treat conditions such as fatigue, chronic disease, impotence, and waning memory.

2. What are the overall actions of Ashwagandha?

A - Ashwagandha is one of the wonder drugs described in Ayurveda. The herb has been used for many purposes. The main action of Ashwagandha, as per Ayurveda, is to increase sexual power. It is the best ever aphrodisiac herb described in Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. However, latest researches reveal that the herb has potent activity in any stressful condition including anxiety, depression, OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder etc. The herb is also great for curing senile problems, poor eyesight, heart pain, hips and back pain, general debility, sleeplessness etc. It is very effective in case of Leucoderma, bronchitis and asthma according to researchers. Some of the experts say that Ashwagandha is a tonic, which increases sperm count and sexual potency. In the rural areas vegetable made out of this plant is given to tuberculosis patients. It also increases the iron content in the blood

2. Can it be used daily?

A - Of course you can! The herb can be considered as 'daily health supplement' since it boosts up the immunity and gets you the power. The herb possesses property to rejuvenate every system of the body one or the other way. It restores the hormonal and enzyme levels in the body and provides virility. Ashwagandha is the best herb for revitalization and it can also prevent you from day-to-day infections.

3. What are the other products that can get me energy along with Ashwagandha?

A - Indian gooseberry (Amla) and Guduchi are two other herbs that augment the revitalization in the body along with Ashwagandha. They make winning combination to fight against various infections and providing energy to the body.

4. Is Ashwagandha addictive?

A - The herb Ashwagandha used in Morpheme product does not contain any addictive components as it has been collected from the best available sources assuring the purities. It can be taken for long periods of time without fear of addiction.

5. Are there any side effects to taking Ashwagandha?

A - No side effects or toxicity of any kind have been reported with Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is especially excellent for young people as a substitute for ginseng, which may be too stimulating. Safety in pregnancy has not been fully established for Ashwagandha.

6. What are the cases in which, the herb is used worldwide?

A - As said before, Ashwagandha has many properties and it is now drawing many scientists' attention. The herb is now used worldwide for various purposes such as -

- Delaying the process of aging
- Providing iron to the body; useful in anemic condition
- Great support for arthritis
- To treat fatigue of any origin
- Memory booster
- Health supplements for sports fitness
- Anti-stress herb

7. How long do I need to take Ashwagandha to get favorable results?

A - Herbal medicines provide progressive, long-term benefits. Certain classes of herbs work well in acute conditions to provide quick relief, however herbs like Ashwagandha needs to be taken for at least 3-4 weeks to get favorable results. Optimally, you may have to take Ashwagandha for anywhere between 3 and 6 months to experience the full range of benefits. However, the period may vary from person to person.
Ashwagandha (Withania) Clinical Studies:

Demonstrated to boost the immune system
The assessment of immunomodulatory activity was carried out by hematological and serological tests. A significant modulation of immune reactivity was observed in laboratory settings. Ashwagandha Root demonstrated substantial increases in hemoglobin concentration, red blood cell count and white blood cell count.

Traditional uses confirmed in clinical and laboratory results
All available literature relevant to Ashwagandha was systematically reviewed by researchers from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Adult Psychopharmacology Program at the National Institute of Mental Health and the San Antonio Chochrane Center to determine its safety and effectiveness. The analysis revealed that traditional uses of Ashwagandha in Ayurveda correspond with [in vitro] clinical and laboratory results, confirming anxiolytic as well as antidepressant activity; toxicity studies report no adverse events.

Mental Problems Improved:
This is perhaps one of the most promising applications of this herb. In a reported study, this herb was given to 30 mental patients suffering from anxiety neurosis in doses of 40 ml/day. (in two equally divided doses.) for one month. At the end of the month, most of the anxiety disorders, panic attacks and similar mood phobias, had disappeared. In trials by American psychiatrists, this herb had been found useful for the treatment of manic depression, alcoholic paranoia, and schizophrenia. Up to 4 capsules were given daily, in between meals, for 45-60 days with very good results. Learning enhancement and memory retention had improved substantially when aswagandha (3 capsules), gotu kola (2 capsules), and ginkgo biloba (2 capsules) were taken regularly on a daily basis.

Many people have compared Ashwagandha with Chinese/Korean Ginseng, but modern science studies have shown Ashwagandha to be superior to ginseng.

1: J. Ethnopharmacol 1994 Dec., 44(3):131-5

A comparative pharmacological investigation of Ashwagandha and Ginseng.

Grandhi A, Mujumdar AM, Patwardhan B

Indian Drugs Research Association, Pune.

The aqueous suspensions of roots of an Indian herb Ashwagandha and the Korean herb Gingseng were tested comparatively for 2 pharmacological activities, namely the anti-stress activity by the mice swimming endurance test and anabolic activity by noting gain in body weights and levator ani muscle in rats. A significant increase in mice swimming time was shown by Ginseng (P<0.001) and Ashwagandha (P<0.01) as compared to the control group. Significant increase in body weights in the Ashwagandha treated group (P<0.05) was better than Ginseng (P<0.5). Gain in wet weights of the levator ani muscle were also significant in Ginseng (P<0.001) and Ashwagandha (P<0.01) treated groups, however, the weights gain in dried levator ani muscles showed comparable results for both these herbs. (P<0.01).

PMID: 7898119, UI:95205896

Ashwagandha enjoys the reputation in the West as an aphrodisiac, a use supported by a recent study in which more than 70 percent of men reported increased libido and sexual function after taking the herb.
Clinical Research on Ashwagandha:

Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) - monograph.
Altern Med Rev. 2004 Jun;9(2):211-214.

Withania somnifera, also known as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, or winter cherry, has been an important herb in the Ayurvedic and indigenous medical systems for over 3000 years. Historically, the plant has been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, and more recently to treat asthma, ulcers, insomnia, and senile dementia. Clinical trials and animal research support the use of ashwagandha for anxiety, cognitive and neurological disorders, inflammation, and Parkinson's disease. Ashwagandha's chemopreventive properties make it a potentially useful adjunct for patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. Ashwaganda is also used therapeutically as an adaptogen for patients with nervous exhaustion, and debility due to stress, and as an immune stimulant in patients with low white blood cell counts.

Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) attenuates antioxidant defense in aged spinal cord and inhibits copper induced lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modifications.
Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2003;19(3):211-22.

Ashwagandha is classified in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, as a rasayana, a group of plant-derived drugs which promote physical and mental health, augment resistance of the body against disease and diverse adverse environmental factors, revitalize the body in debilitated conditions and increase longevity. We investigated the effects of Ashwagandha on copper-induced lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzymes in aging spinal cord of Wistar rats. The activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) decreased significantly in the spinal cord from adult to aged mice. Treatment with Ashwagandha successfully attenuated GPx activity and inhibited lipid peroxidation in a dose dependent manner. Ashwagandha inhibited both the lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modification induced by copper. These effects were similar to those of superoxide dismutase and mannitol. The results indicate the therapeutic potential of Ashwagandha in aging and copper-induced pathophysiological conditions.

Growth inhibition of human tumor cell lines by withanolides from Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) leaves.
Life Sci. 2003 Nov 21;74(1):125-32.

Ayurvedic medicines prepared in India consist of Withania somnifera roots ( ashwagandha ) as one of the main ingredients. Ashwagandha is consumed as a dietary supplement around the world. The leaves of ashwagandha were used in the treatment of tumors and inflammation in several Asian countries. We have isolated twelve withanolides from the leaves of this species. Compounds were tested for their anti-proliferative activity lung, colon, central nervous system and Breast human tumor cell lines. Withaferin A and its derivatives exhibited inhibitory concentrations. Viscosalactone B (12) showed the 50% inhibition. Therefore, incorporation of ashwagandha in the diet may prevent or decrease the growth of tumors in human.

Evaluation of the anti-proliferative and anti-oxidative activities of leaf extract from in vivo and in vitro raised Ashwagandha.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2004 Dec;42(12):2015-20.

Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) is used in Indian traditional medicine, Ayurveda and is believed to have a variety of health promoting effects. Molecular mechanisms and pathways underlying these effects have not been studied. We tried to characterize various activities of leaf extract of Ashwagandha (Lash) raised in the field and in the laboratory. We found that the Lash from field-raised plants has a significant anti-proliferative activity in human tumorigenic cells. However, it did not impart any protection against the oxidative damage caused by high glucose and hydrogen peroxide to human tumor cells suggesting that it can be used as an anti-tumor, but not as an anti-oxidant, substance.

Withaferin A is a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis.
Angiogenesis. 2004;7(2):115-22.

The medicinal plant ashwagandha is widely researched for its anti-inflammatory, cardioactive and central nervous system effects. In Ayurveda , the major Traditional Indian medicine system, extracts from ashwagandha are distinctively employed for the treatment of arthritis and menstrual disorders. Because these conditions involve angiogenic processes we hypothesized that the ashwagandha extracts might contain angiogenesis inhibitors. We employed an endothelial cell-sprouting assay to monitor the purification of substances from ashwagandha root extracts and isolated as the active principle the previously known natural product withaferin A. In conclusion, our findings identify a novel mode of action of withaferin A, which highlights the potential use of this ashwagandha extract for cancer treatment or prevention
Complete research on Ashwaganadha herb

Read Full Survey on Ashwagandha Herb, Benefits, Medicinal Uses

In Our Blog:
Ashwagandha - Herbal Stress Relief

Ashwagandha, Withania Somnifera Supplements , Antidepressant, Stress related disorders such as Arthritis, Hypertension, Diabetes, General debility

Effect of Withania somnifera on DMBA induced carcinogenesis

Leemol Davis and Girija Kuttan

Amalanagar Cancer Research Centre, Amalanagar, Thrissur, 680 553 Kerala, India

Received 5 September 2000; revised 4 December 2000; accepted 12 December 2000 Available online 4 April 2001.

Administration of an extract of Withania somnifera was found to reduce two stage skin carcinogenesis induced by DMBA (dimethyl benzanthracene) and croton oil. Withania somnifera was administered at a concentration of (20 mg/dose/animal i.p.) consecutively on 5 days prior to DMBA administration and continued twice weekly for 10 weeks. After the 180th day of carcinogen administration, all of the animals developed papilloma in the control group whereas only six out of 12 animals developed papilloma in the treated group. A total of 11 papillomas were found in the control group while only six developed them in the Withania somnifera treated group. Enzyme analysis of skin and liver showed significant enhancement in antioxidant enzymes such as GSH, GST, Glutathione peroxides and Catalases in Withania somnifera treated group when compared with the control. The elevated level of lipid peroxide in the control group was significantly inhibited by Withania somnifera administration. These studies indicate that Withania somnifera could reduce the papilloma induced alterations to the antioxidant defense systems.

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