What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha or winter cherry is the dried root of the plant Withania somnifera, which belongs to the pepper family. Found in India, Africa, and the Middle East, historically, it has been used as a rejuvenative tonic for malnourished people of all ages, male sexual dysfunction, tumors and inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and asthma.
Modern research indicates it as an adaptogen or a natural substance that adjusts the body to decrease stress and increase resistance to stress. The activity of ashwagandha is believed to be from withanolides, compounds analogous to steroids and have similar action as the compounds found in other adaptogens such as gingko, ginseng and Echinacea. In addition to its stress reducing capabilities, aswagandha also inhibits inflammation, induces sleep and stimulates the immune system.
Common use and forms of Ashwagandha:
Ashwagandha can be used in children and adults to relieve stress and thus induce a more natural sleep. Ashwagandha works through the adrenal gland to normalize hormone levels in the body, thus decreasing stress and producing a relaxed body and mind. This can be greatly beneficial to children and adults who have difficulty sleeping due to increased stress.
Ashwagandha can be used as a tincture or a capsule. For children, the doses are 1-15 drops of the tincture 1 hour before bed and repeat at bedtime. This allows the child to relax, sleep deeper and longer through the night by down regulating stress hormones of the adrenal glands. Effects can occur within one week of use of this herb.
Adults may benefit from a commercial product, which has 4.5% of ashwagandha extract at 450 mg per capsule. Dosage ranges from 2-4 capsules per day.
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The plant's healing properties come from its daisy-like flowers, which contain volatile oils (including bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin) as well as flavonoids (particularly a compound called apinegin) and other therapeutic substances.
Chamomile has been used for centuries in teas as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as ananti-inflammatory, to name only a few therapeutic uses. Chamomile may be used internally or externally. Extensive scientific research over the past 20 years has confirmed many of the traditional uses for the plant and established pharmacological mechanisms for the plant's therapeutic activity, including antipeptic, antispasmodic, antipyretic,antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergenic activity.
Recent and on-going research has identified chamomile's specific anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, anti-allergenic and sedative properties, validating its long-held reputation. This attention appears to have increased the popularity of the herb and nowadays Chamomile is included as a drug in the pharmacopoeia of 26 countries.
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