The Tonic Herb: Herbs are a part of Indian traditional home medicine. They have been used for over a millennium as rasayans, tonics and medicine to improve strength, boost immunity and treat disorders naturally.
One such powerful herb is Amukkara. Known by botanists as Withania somnifera, commonly known as Ashwangandha and Indian Ginseng, has been credited with many health benefits.
This herb is identified as a short shrub with yellow, bell shaped flowers and red fruits. The extracts obtained from the plants are used in various forms and preparations. Ashwagandha, is a Sanskrit word that literally means ‘smell of a horse’. The herb justifies the name, as it has been known to provide man with a strength and vigor like that of a horse. Since, this herb is used globally, large number of studies and research has been done on it to understand its amazing traditional benefits. It has a rich history due to its healing properties, rejuvenating effects and strength providing effects.
1. Anti-anxiety and performance booster: One of the properties studied in detail was the ability of Amukkara to enhance adaptogenic and anti-stress activities. Consuming Amukkara was shown to increase stamina and endurance in various field trials. It boosts resilience to stress by improving energy levels and promoting mitochondrial health. It helps body to respond appropriately to acute and chronic stress and reduce sleeplessness by reducing cortisol levels in the blood stream. Through its calming effects it has also shown potential as an anti-hypertensive to control high blood pressure.
2. Blood sugar: Amukkara is now scientifically proven to reduce blood sugar and is ideal for diabetics who are looking to control blood sugar.
3. Pre treatment with Withania Somniferais known to be gut-protective against the harmful actions of the gastric acid, thereby, preventing ulcers.
4. Cancer: Widespread research is going on to establish Amukkara as a potent anti-cancer agent. It is the primary source of unique alkaloids and withanolides, which have been implicated to treat cancer and mimic steroidal hormones. It has been shown to have positive effects in Ovarian Carcinoma and Lung adenoma in mice. In humans, it has been tried for the treatment of uterine fibroid and dermatosarcoma (Skin cancer) with some success. The brown, tuberous roots along with berries and leaves used to be applied on tumors, tubercular glands and skin boils.
5. Enhancing mental faculties: Amukkara is also known to have cognition promoting effect. In other words it enhances the function of brain and nervous system. It is very successful in children with memory deficit and in older patients suffering from memory loss. It is very beneficial for providing relief and to some extent, even curing, neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s etc. It has GABA mimetic action that promotes formation and induces elongation of dendrites.
6. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties are well established making it ideal for use in Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The anti-oxidant properties of this herb help to combat cellular damage due to generation of free radicals.
7. Immunity: Amukkara improves body’s defense mechanisms against diseases by improving cell-mediated immunity. Amukkara or Ashwangandha is a constituent of Chyawanprash, a popular household concoction.
8. It is also believed to improve the function of the reproductive system. In males, it is known to increase the sperm count.
9. Not just in India, but also in countries like Yemen, Ashwangandha features as a traditional medicine. It is known as Ubab and dried leaves are ground to a fine powder, which was used for applying on burns and wounds.
10. Hormonal system and skin care: It acts on the hormone system to create a perfect hormonal balance in the body. It stimulates DHEA-S, a precursor to both estrogen and testosterone, which promote the production of natural skin oils and essential proteins like hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin, elastin, which keeps the skin supple and collagen that maintains skin strength.
11. Hair care: It increases blood flow and improves scalp circulation, which strengthens roots, stimulate melanin to keep the hair from graying and also helps to get rid of dandruff.
Amukkara is native to India, North Africa and Middle East. The plant’s roots, stem, seeds and berries have been used extensively for their prized and rejuvenating effects on health. As its medical effects come to be known, it is proving to be an alternative source for treatment and cure of various illnesses and diseases. So, if you want to feel healthier, look younger and sleep better, this herb is your ticket to all three. You can mix Amukkara Powder in your milk, use as a powder or you can even consume capsules that contain the powdered Amukkara.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purpose only intended not an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies.