Nowadays, the mysterious word "Ashwagandha" is found more and more often among the popular dietary supplements. Translated from Sanskrit, this word means "having the smell of a horse", as it was believed that she endows the horse with stamina and performance, but at the same time and sexual energy. This name hides a plant from the family of nightshades soaring sleeping pills. It is cultivated in many states of India with relatively dry climates, as well as in Nepal. And this is understandable - after all, the demand for this legendary Ayurvedic plant is very great. Interest in it is great not only at home, but also in Europe, where oriental medicine has been in trend lately.
Vitania sleeping pills (Withania somnifera) is a perennial evergreen shrub, reaching a height of 6 m in tropical climates. But in more northern places, its size is much more modest. Vitania has oval leaves and rather inconspicuous yellow flowers, fruits are orange or light red.
In our Non-Chernozem zone, it can only grow in the summer, and usually, in order to wait for its flowering and fruiting, you need to grow it through seedlings, and then bring it into the room for at least a few fruits to ripen in the fall.
Vitania is affected by a number of pests and diseases, but not all of them, fortunately, are found in our country. However, just like in India, with excessive moisture and fog, spots appear on the leaves caused by Alternaria (the pathogen is Alternaria alternata). This disease does not greatly affect the content of active ingredients. But the appearance of a spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) leads to significant loss of leaves. There are a number of other diseases in India, in particular, a fungus. Choanephora cucurbitarum causes rot of stems and leaves, Oxyrachis tarands feeds on the apical part of the stem, as a result of which the plant stops growing and gradually dies.
Chemical composition and properties of whitening
The roots contain alkaloids, in particular anaferin, anahydrin, nicotine, tropin, and vitasomnin. In addition, steroidal lactones, the so-called vitanoids (somniferanolide, somnivitanolide, vitaferin A and vitasomniferanolide) have been discovered. Also found free amino acids: glycine (very useful for cerebral circulation), cystine, alanine, tryptophan.
Vitaferin A has an antitumor effect.
The fruits and the root, or rather, the preparations from them, due to their high efficiency and a minimum of side effects, make wandering one of the most common plants in Ayurvedic medicine. It has about the same meaning and is treated with the same reverence as ginseng in Chinese medicine.
Traditionally, the fruit has been used as an aphrodisiac, amulet, and witchcraft. A love drink was prepared from the roots. In tantric rituals, it was used to increase the duration of an erection.
Under the name ashwagandha, it is distributed as a dietary supplement in Europe. The most interesting thing is that this plant, unlike other plants against stress, combines two actions in one bottle: soothing and tonic.
This is how it differs from other adaptogens (ginseng, eleutherococcus and rhodiola), which are allowed in Europe as drugs. And the roots of the plant are used for this purpose.
The fruits are used to make cheese.
The animals confirmed ...
Ashwagandha is recommended for almost all diseases. But the most interesting thing is that many of the recommendations are confirmed by serious medical research, if not in humans, then in animals. For example, in swimming rats, resistance in cold water increased - and this is a standard test for adaptogenic effects.In rabbits and mice, vitania preparations reduced the intensity of lipid peroxidation under artificial stress, and separately isolated Vitaferin A caused an increase in the level of superoxide dismutase, catalase, and peroxidase in the rat brain, which indicates an active resistance of the organism to stress.
It was recorded that a multi-herbal Indian mixture with ashwagandha inhibited the development of lung cancer in experimental animals, and in vitro alcohol extract inhibited the growth of most types of cancer cells. The steroid lactone vitaferin in the experiment showed a significant antitumor effect and increased the survival rate of animals. In addition, the use of Witania significantly reduced the leukopenia caused by the use of cyclophosphamide. In mice treated with vitania preparations, there was an increase in the hemoglobin content, the number of erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets and body weight compared with the control. In addition, the level of interferon, interleukin 2 increased and phagocytic activity increased.
A 75% alcoholic extract of this plant was effective in treating the effects of radiation therapy. Clinical trials in laboratory rats have shown a significant decrease in leukocytes in the blood and a decrease in leukopenia caused by an almost lethal dose of radiation.
Found antifungal activity of vitanoids, primarily against yeast-like fungi that cause thrush (candidiasis).
And it helped people ...
If we analyze the use of witania in Ayurvedic medicine, then this plant is designed to stimulate the body in case of exhaustion, both nervous and physical. Therefore, it is prescribed for a wide variety of diseases - from tuberculosis to hysteria, but ... The fact is that it is most often used not alone, but supplemented with plants to treat the underlying disease.
The roots of whitening in combination with frankincense and turmeric and a zinc complex in addition showed a good effect on patients with osteoarthritis, pain and weakness were less pronounced. For low vision, ashwagandha powder is mixed with equal parts of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and Amalaki powder (fruits of Emblica officinalis). Together with plants used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, it is prescribed for bronchitis and asthma.
Ashwagandha has been excellent at helping patients who have combined nervous exhaustion with overexcitement and irritability, in particular, with this phenomenon, which is now called "manager's syndrome." It is useful to take it before bed for nervousness and insomnia (which is never done with other adaptogens).
Ashwagandha, combined with honey and some other herbs, provide anti-aging therapy. In old age, an additional effect is manifested - improving memory and concentration. In recent years, it has received attention as an adjuvant in Alzheimer's disease.
The use of this plant in the prevention and treatment of drug addiction can be quite promising. Vitania preparations reduced the development of addiction to the action of morphine. Without interfering with the analgesic effects of opiates, she showed no signs of opiate dependence.
The use of ashwagandha for arthritis, primarily with autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis, seems to be quite promising. It has been hypothesized that the steroid compounds of Witania act similarly to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid drugs used in these diseases and suppress inflammation. But the mechanisms of action are not fully understood at the moment, although the effectiveness is comparable to that of aspirin and ibuprofen.
Interestingly, there is a belief in Ayurveda that ashwagandha is especially strong 3 days before the full moon and 7 days after it.