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What is Ashwagandha Extract, Health Benefits, Side effects

Benefits of Ashwagandha | Ashwagandha Uses

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Ashwagandha extract is obtained from the root and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant. The extract is commonly used with other ayurvedic herbs and administered as an herbal supplement for overall improvement of health. The medicinal uses of extract of ashwagandha extract are due to the high levels of phenolic compounds present in it. Withanolides are the main constituents of this herbal extract. Other constituents include flavonoids, alkaloids, lactones and saponins and their proportion is much higher in the root of the shrub as compared to the leaves and fruits. High quality ashwagandha extract is mostly derived from the roots of the plant. The full biochemical spectrum of the herbal supplement is preserved in the extract of ashwagandha. The 'Rasa' of the extract powder is 'bitter sweet' and it is usually made in the form of powdered extract or oil based extract. In herbal medicines, pure ashwagandha extract is used to make capsules. Ashwagandha capsules contain a specified amount of the extract per unit weight or volume.

Ahwagandha is also known as winter cherry or the Indian ginseng. Its scientific name is 'Withania somnifera' and the plant belongs to the Solanacaea family. It is widely found in India and parts of Asia. Ashwagandha extract is used as an aphrodisiac and its reputation lies in the fact that the herb works in various ways to benefit the overall physical and mental well-being of human beings. The plant extract is considered to be an 'adaptogen' which helps the body to counteract stress by increasing immunity naturally. All the potent alkaloids such as withamosine, visamine, anahygrine, tropine, pseudotropine, anaferine and withaferin A work synergistically for overall healing and rejuvenating the body. Ashwagandha extract works very well to induce a state of nervous calmness and induces sleep. The best use of this herbal extract is helpful in promoting a relaxed frame of mind. Mental stress and anxiety have been considered responsible for low libido. Regular use of the extract benefits for greater sexual pleasure.

Ayurveda, which is the traditional Indian healing system, considers ashwagandha as a powerful 'rasayana'. Its mode of action is similar to an adaptogen in modern medicine. Ashwagandha extract has been found useful in the regeneration of tissues and thus helps in slowing down the aging process. The best known use of ashwagandha in Ayurveda has been as an aphrodisiac. In Sanskrit language, the name ashwagandha means 'the smell of the horse'. In the ancient Indian sexual treatise 'Kamasutra', this herbal supplement has been mentioned as a way of increasing sexual enjoyment. The active ingredients of the extract possess sexually stimulating and stamina enhancing properties. Recent reports have shown that ashwagandha extract helps in the production of nitric oxide which may help in the dilation of blood vessels. This in turn improves functioning of the male sexual organs.

Powdered ashwagandha extract is most commonly available and the root of the plant is dried, then grinded to produce the powdered extract. The powdered form of the herb is available in bulk or in a capsule form. In ancient times, ashwagandha extract was used by infusing milk with the dried root powder. Ashwagandha root milk has been used in India for centuries as a staple food. Ashwagandha tea is a homemade version of ashwagandha extract. The tea contains the same biologically active compounds as found in the powdered extract form. The extract of ashwagandha is also available in form of a water based liquid. The liquid extract is standardized for a specified active compound and the recommended dosage may vary amongst herbal product manufacturers. Ashwangandha capsules containing pure extract of ashwagandha are easily available in the market. The powdered version of the extract is pure, natural and free from side effects.