Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry and winter cherry, is a plant of the Solanacea family (botanical name: Withania somnifera).
Ashwagandha is considered to be a rejuvenative herb, which in combination with other herbs and natural products is widely used to improve health, metabolism and vitality in general, and to prevent and cure of diverse spectrum of health problems, typically associated with chronic ailments. It holds a position of high esteem in Ayurveda, the Indian traditional medicinal system.
Of all the parts of the plant, the root has been reported to be pharmacologically most active and is predominantly used for therapeutic purposes. Some of the medicinal properties attributed to this plant are sedative, hypotensive, anti-ageing, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, bradycardiac, respiration stimulating, antitumour, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoetic, and radiosensitizing.
In Indian traditional medicine Ashwagandha root extract is used as a health tonic and is also prescribed for some common diseases of the reproductive tract, for gastrointestinal disorders and for glandular swellings. Many pharmacological studies have been conducted to investigate the properties of Ashwagandha in an attempt to authenticate its use as a multi-purpose medicinal agent. The results from all the studies are quite promising for the use of Ashwagandha as a multi-purpose medicinal agent. It also appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems. Few recent reports have also suggested that Ashwagandha extracts could also be used for prevention and cure of hyperglycemia and other diabetes-associated pathologies.
Toxicity studies reveal that Ashwagandha is both safe and effective within a within a wide dosage range, especially when consumed as a whole herb or in powdered or capsule form of the same.
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