Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a plant growing in Africa, India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Ashwagandha is also known as Ayurvedic Ginseng, Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Ajagandha, and Kanaje Hindi. The roots and leaves of Ashwagandha have been used in India for thousands of years for a large number of purposes. The main uses of Ashwagandha in traditional medicine are as an aphrodisiac, to relieve anxiety, and to improve energy and general health.
Current research has shown Ashwagandha to act as an adaptogen, increasing the ability of the body to deal with physical and mental stress. Many adaptogens act as mild stimulants. While Ashwagandha may be useful for improving day to day energy, it actually may have a mild sedative effect, making it useful for decreasing stress and anxiety. Additional benefits of Ashwagandha that are supported by research are that it may reduce fatigue and boost immune system function. In mice, Ashwagandha has been shown to elevate levels of white blood cells as well as increase the antibody response to human red blood cells that were introduced, showing an improved immune response.
Ashwagandha is included in many supplements including adaptogenic blends and supplements for immune health. Ashwagandha is also available by itself in capsules and powder.
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