Ashwagandha, which has been a traditional Indian medical herb, has been believed to be ‘Indian ginseng.’ It has often been marketed as ‘Withania.’ It has also been called Dunal or winter cherry.
The fruits, berries and roots are used traditionally. In the Western herbal medicine, a majority of preparations have been made from the root of the shrub.
Uses and benefits of the herb
Similar to ginseng, ashwagandha is employed for a number of conditions available in several traditional Asian therapies and for various disorders in modern herbal practice.
A primary traditional use of the herb has been in ‘balancing life forces’ that might be regarded as an anti-stress tonic or adaptogenic effect.
Therefore, ashwagandha has been considered a general health promoter or a ‘rasayana,’ which has been known for promoting renewal as per the traditional Ayurvedic practice.
Alleged anti-inflammatory advantages have resulted in usage in liver disease, tuberculosis, skin problems and rheumatic disorders.
The ‘panacea’ reputation of the herb has lengthened its repertoire that would be inclusive of therapy for stress, weakness, sexual debility, anaemia and aging symptoms among several other available conditions.
It has been claimed to be highly effective in infections, specifically those caused due to fungi. Moreover, the Latin species name has been a tribute to its believed effectiveness in the promotion of improving sleep.
Lately, cancer and AIDS are added to the list of its anticipated immune stimulant usage. However, it lacks adequate clinical evidence.
Side effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha churna side effects have not been studied in pregnant or nursing women. However, it has been reported to have significant properties.
Similar to echinacea, it has potential immune stimulant effect that might be contraindicated in several patients having autoimmune disorders. This is not studied or reported and considerable effects have been highly unlikely.
Preparations and dosage
A usual daily dose has been three to six grams of powdered root. However, commercial herbalists have advocated up to 30 g/day of the herb.
Pill extracts have also been made available, as have been tinctures along with a number of herbal mixtures.
Ashwagandha has been promoted for several different uses. It has been taken to enhance immune function along with as an aphrodisiac, rejuvenator and Ionic for overall health.
Some marketers have inappropriately promoted it, as a treatment for grave diseases like cancers, multiple sclerosis and AIDS.
It has often been employed as an antiarthritic and sedative for self-therapy. Nonetheless, it has value, which is not sufficiently been established for numerous clinical conditions to which the product is applied.