The A-Z of Indian Superfoods: Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen which can energise as well as calm you at the same time. So if you want to look younger, feel stronger and healthier and most importantly, sleep better, read up on this herb and start including it in your daily health regimen.

By Charmaine D Souza
04 Jul 2021


1. What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng is a powerful ayurvedic herb whose roots, leaves and berries have medicinal value. It is well known for rejuvenating the human body, enhancing sexual prowess and fertility, improving memory and decreasing anxiety.



2. Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Ashwagandha berries have a diuretic effect and help reduce high blood pressure, edema and infections of the urinary tract.
  • Ashwagandha root extract/powder helps balance hormones and reduces hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause. It is beneficial for nursing mums because it improves the quality and quantity of breast milk when taken along with shatavari, which is another powerful adaptogenic herb. Patients with a sluggish thyroid gland will benefit from its intake as will those with an overactive thyroid, because it helps balance thyroid hormones.
  • If you are recuperating from a major illness, take ashwagandha powder daily to help you get better soon. It improves immunity by increasing your white blood cell count. Even chyavanprash mixes have ashwagandha as a key ingredient.
  • Some potent extracts of ashwagandha produce anxiety-relieving effects that are as powerful as many commonly used antidepressants, without any of the harmful side effects. So use this herb if you have issues with stress, anxiety, fear and panic attacks.
  • Ashwangandha regenerates nerve cells and improves the growth of nerve cells in the brain, thus making it an important ingredient for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


How to use Ashwagandha

The leaves of ashwagandha can be boiled and made into a paste to treat ulcers, pus-filled boils, itchy skin and bedsores. Mix one part of Ashwagandha leaf powder with one part of onion juice and two parts of honey and have this concoction thrice a day to help in febrile conditions. The leaves are also used to improve hemoglobin count in patients with anemia. For everyday use, you can add a teaspoon of ashwagandha extract/powder to your morning smoothie or juice blend, sprinkle it on your cereal, add it to your bedtime cup of milk along with a teaspoon of haldi and honey or take ashwagandha capsules to enjoy the benefits of good health.



4. Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Excess use of ashwagandha can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid consuming ashwagandha if you are pregnant as it could be risky. Always consult a qualified dietitian and exercise caution while using this herb.


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