For centuries, plants have been used to treat illnesses and symptoms of diseases. Herbal remedies have proven to be effective in healing the mind and body – making plants one humankind’s greatest allies in medicine. One such plant with natural healing properties is ashwagandha, which has long been used in Indian and African traditional medicine. This plant has various benefits but, most notably, it can be used as a remedy for stress and anxiety.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is also known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry or winter cherry. The species name somnifera means “sleep-inducing” in Latin. This plant is an adaptogen, which means that it helps to promote relaxation and calmness. It may lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which are two common symptoms of stress and anxiety. These medicinal uses of ashwagandha make it an important plant to nurture.
Source of Health offers three products that contain ashwagandha; Energy for motivation and performance, Relax for stress and anxiety and Sleep Tight for insomnia. These products use ashwagandha for its ability to reduce stress, worry, high blood pressure and encourage relaxation and clear thinking.
Medicinal uses of ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a fairly common plant that is used in traditional African medicines. According to WebMD, “Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling (inflammation), lower blood pressure and alter the immune system. Some research shows that taking a specific ashwagandha root extract … appears to improve symptoms of stress.”
Other medical journals report similar findings. “The herb may be beneficial for certain cancers, Alzheimer’s and anxiety, but more research is needed,” writes Rena Goldman for Medical News Today. “It’s possible that ashwagandha has a calming effect on anxiety symptoms when compared to the drug lorazepam (a sedative and anxiety medication),” she adds.
In addition, this plant may be beneficial for other ailments associated with stress and anxiety. “[Ashwagandha] showed significant protection against stress-induced gastric ulcers,” write Singh, Bhalla, de Jager and Gilca in their study titled An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda, published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines.
“It has a Cognition Promoting Effect and [is] useful in children with memory deficit and in old age people [with] loss of memory. It was also found [to be] useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzeimer’s diseases. [Ashwagandha] has anxiolytic effects and improves energy levels and mitochondrial health. It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agent,” the study reveals.
Traditionally, the roots of the plant are consumed for medicinal purposes, however, the leaves, seeds and fruit can also be consumed in order to treat various ailments. Today, ashwagandha can also be purchased in a powdered form that can be mixed with water and drunk as a supplement.
There are no major side effects of taking ashwagandha and it is generally well-tolerated by the body in small doses, but certain health professionals warn that pregnant women should avoid taking this medicinal herb as it may cause early delivery. Source of Health sustainably sources its ashwagandha from trusted agricultural projects that do not use pesticides or herbicides.
More information about ashwagandha
This ancient medicinal plant is native to India, Nepal and China, but it can be grown in South Africa. The species is a short perennial shrub, growing between 30 and 75 cm in height. The leaves are dull green and elliptic in shape. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. A bright red fruit emerges from within the flowers, like a gooseberry, hence its alternative name ‘poison gooseberry’.
Ashwagandha prefers stony soil that has good drainage and locations in partial shade. The root of the plant has a strong horse-like smell that is unmistakable. The name ashwagandha is a combination of the Sanskrit words ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any medicinal plants to make sure that they will not interact with your current medication.
To learn more about African medicines and traditional plant-based remedies, please do not hesitate to contact us. Source of Health is a manufacturer of Traditional African Medicines under the brand Isiphethu Sempilo. We use biomedicine processes to create herbal remedies, combined with scientific methods to ensure the finest quality and trustworthy herbal extracts.
Source of Health offers a range of herbal products that are effective as natural remedies for pain, depression, illnesses and more. The use of medicinal plants as part of traditional African healthcare is one of the oldest and most assorted of all therapeutic systems. It has been used through the ages to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illnesses.
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