Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that’s popular in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for more than 2,500 years. It’s actually the most commonly used and extensively researched adaptogen herb. It’s valued for its thyroid-modulating, neuro-protective, anti-anxiety, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties, which are just some of the many ashwagandha benefits.
Ashwagandha’s Latin name is Withania somnifera but is more commonly known as Indian Gooseberry, and Winter Cherry, since it has an orange-red berry during the fall season. It is in the Solanacea nightshade plant family. The plant is a tender perennial shrub, and grows to about 20 inches tall. The name Ashwagandha, is likely derived from the sanskit word which means horse (ashva) and the word that means smell (gandha).
Ashwagandha’s Stunning Ability to Help Support Healthy Brain Cells
Researchers have discovered that ashwagandha increases an important antioxidant in your body called glutathione. Glutathione is essential for healthy cell development and your body’s detoxification processes.
Known as the “master antioxidant”, glutathione is especially needed for cells and tissues that experience lots of wear and tear and come into constant contact with free radicals.
As you age, glutathione levels in your brain and blood flow to the central part of your brain (your hippocampus) decline. These two conditions create a “perfect storm” for damage to your brain cells.
In a recent rat study, researchers found they could raise levels of glutathione in the rats’ brains by feeding them withanalide – one of the key components of ashwagandha.
Because glutathione is a key antioxidant protector that helps guard against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ashwagandha with its naturally occurring withanalide may help protect your brain cells.
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