Lately, there has been a steady rise in the demand for organic products. This led to the increasing supply of several natural supplements being sold in the market with claims of helping cure multitude of diseases. Although not all have undergone rigorous tests and studies, there have been several anecdotal claims on their effectivity. One of the most popular herbs that is gaining tremendous popularity is Ashwagandha. Otherwise known as the Indian Ginseng, it has constantly been at the forefront of nutraceuticals due to its strong healing properties and proven health benefits.Learn more about this plant herb and how it can boost your brain power for everyday tasks and mental activities:
Learn more about this plant herb and how it can boost your brain power for everyday tasks and mental activities:
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha or the Indian Ginseng is a plant that originated from India, hence its name. It’s one of the most powerful herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been known to help fight Alzheimer’s disease and prevent other various health conditions.
Ashwagandha is a shrub with green oval leaves, yellow flowers and red fruits as big as the size of raisins. Its root provides the most potent healing properties, while its leaves and the fruit are also being used for their therapeutic properties. Today, you will not only find the herb in India but also in North Africa and the Middle East.
What are the uses of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha has a wide scope of beneficial properties due to its several medicinal properties. It contains alkaloids, withanolides, choline, fatty acids and amino acids. All these help protect the immune system, stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Other than these, Ashwagandha also improves learning, memory retention and reaction time. It’s been known to reduce anxiety and depression and helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease by preventing brain cell degradation.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for the brain?
- It helps reduce stress and fatigue
Many people who have tried Ashwagandha have noted that they feel calmer and less overwhelmed while facing a situation that would have normally stressed them otherwise. Ashwagandha contains ingredients that mimic the body’s own stress-reducing relaxation hormones, making it a calming adaptogen. Aside from its calming effect, it also lowers down the stress hormone called cortisol. When you are less stressed, your resistance to fatigue therefore increases. It has been observed that those who took the Ashwagandha root also have benefited from increased energy levels.
- It can help increase mental focus
Ashwagandha has also been found to be a natural nootropic. Being natural, a prescription is not needed in order to purchase it. It’s known to help improve mental focus and a person’s mood dramatically. It’s also proven to improve learning, memory and reaction time. You don’t need to look for your own Ashwagandha root to brew if you want to reap the benefits of this powerful Indian herb. There are several brands that sell Ashwagandha as a nootropic in pill form.
- It can help fight Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases
People with neurodegenerative diseases accumulate plaques that are considered toxic to the brain. These are called beta-amyloid plaques and they are accumulated by those who suffer Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the like. It’s been found that Ashwagandha helps inhibit the formation of these plaques by boosting a protein in the liver which helps clear the plaques from the brain. Since these neurodegenerative diseases are actually accelerated by stress, aside from the beta-amyloid, the stress-reducing properties of the Ashwagandha slows down the progression of these diseases. Although further studies still need to be conducted with regards to using Ashwagandha as an alternative for Alzheimer’s, most doctors are beginning to incorporate this herb in the overall treatment plan of their patients.
- It can help relieve anxiety
Ashwagandha regulates GABA or Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid in the brain, which counteracts the effects of excitatory neurochemicals in the brain. In simple terms, the herb prevents overstimulation of the brain and enforces calmness. That being said, when you are less stressed, your anxiety level also decreases.
- It can help improve quality of sleep
A lot of people who have tried using Ashwagandha for various reasons have noted that they also get better sleep when they started using it. In fact, several studies also show that Ashwagandha root can be used to treat insomnia. The benefits of a good night’s sleep go far beyond just feeling well-rested. Having a good quality of sleep also means better energy level and an enhanced sense of well-being.
- It can help prevent epileptic seizures
When a person suffers from epilepsy, the GABA receptors in the brain need to be regulated to reduce the occurrence of seizures or convulsions. Ashwagandha mimics the regulating properties found in anti-seizure drugs, making it a more viable natural alternative that has less harmful side-effects.
- It can reduce inflammation of the brain
The Ashwagandha root has also been known for its anti-inflammatory properties, even during the ancient times. Apart from aiding in the prevention of bloating, Ashwagandha also minimizes inflammation of the brain. In one study conducted specifically on end products of brain inflammation, it has been found that the Ashwagandha root was able to reduce the inflammation after 30 days of being consumed.
As Ashwagandha seems to offer a wide gamut of mental health benefits, there is no wonder why even up to now, with modern medicine thriving, a lot of scientists still look into the benefits of this Indian plant herb to promote holistic healing. The best part is that Ashwagandha is a natural substance, which means it does not alter the brain wiring permanently or cause any addictive dependencies. And although one does not need to worry about harmful side-effects with Ashwagandha, these cannot be used as replacements for treatments that are being administered by doctors. More extensive studies still need to be done in order to show proof of their efficacy and it’s best to always consult your doctor when trying to go the natural way. It’s best to consider Ashwagandha as a supplement, rather than as your treatment of choice.