(Natural News) Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is often described as the king of Ayurvedic herbs, and for good reason. This medicinal herb can provide the body with a lot of benefits. Some examples include lowering blood sugar levels, improving brain function, reducing inflammation, and even preventing anxiety and depression. Many people consider it to be an adaptogen, which a substance that helps the body effectively manage stress.
In Africa, the Middle East, and India – where Ayurveda is rooted – ashwagandha has been a part of traditional medicine for over 6,000 years. Nearly all parts of the herb are used: The leaves are used to bring down fevers, while the flowers are taken as a diuretic. The root is the most widely used part of the plant, thanks to its ability to relieve stress.
Here are just some benefits a person can get from taking the king of Ayurvedic herbs. (h/t to Blog.PaleoHacks.com)
It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before using ashwagandha, especially if you’re pregnant or under antidepressants (or similar medications). It’s also worth mentioning that the herb has a particularly strong smell — the word ashwagandha, after all, is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse.”
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The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers. It is found in North Africa and India, where its roots and leaves are heavily used. Ayurvedic medicine lists ashwagandha as one of its most important herbs. While the herb is part of the nightshade family — the same group as tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplants, it’s sometimes referred to as Indian ginseng, thanks to its ability to rejuvenate the body.
Ashwagandha is commonly used for stress relief, but it can also be used to treat pain due to osteoarthritis. In one study, scientists found that a combination of boswellia, ashwagandha, turmeric, and zinc reduced pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis. The results were similar to that of valdecoxib, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for managing arthritis; however, the combination did not have any adverse effects on the body.