The literal translation of Ashwagandha is “smell of a horse.” This implies that the person who consumes this herb will have the virility of a horse. It also refers to the smell of the root which has a horsey smell. The technical name is Withania Somnifera. It finds use as an adaptogen for distinct types of stresses. Here, we see how to use Ashwagandha for improving hair growth and to lose weight.
Ashwagandha for healthy hair growth and weight loss
Ashwagandha for weight loss
This herb acts in three ways to help you lose weight. Depending on the individual aspect of health, you should adopt the proper method.
- Increase the rate of the metabolic activity.
- Better bowel movement.
- Remove harmful cholesterol.
Losing weight is easy when you augment the metabolism so that it keeps converting food to energy without any complications. If the person increases the amount of exercise one does daily, the body will begin to burn more fat to compensate for the loss of energy through exercising. It improves cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular endurance and improves the ability of the body to make more red blood cells. This helps you remain active and do more exercise.
The second effect that helps in weight loss is the movement of the food in the GI tract. The Ashwagandha helps improve the muscle contractions on the lining of the stomach. This helps the food move in a regular way. In fact, this produces a slight laxative effect too. When all the food has moved out of the gastrointestinal tract, the body turns to the stored energy and begins to synthesize it. The stored energy is in the form of fats.
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Elimination of cholesterol is another aspect that contributes to the weight loss potential of the Ashwagandha herb. The potent chemicals present in the Ashwagandha such as steroidal lactones and alkaloids notably cuscohygrine and atropine. This is the building block of the anticholinergic drug, atropine. We group Cuscohygrine with potent alkaloids such as cocaine and atropine. Cuscohygrine is in the form of an oil that we distil since it is soluble in water. The other alkaloids somniferine, ashwagandhinine, and ashwagandhine increases bile acid production and elimination of excess cholesterol. It elevates the hepatic antioxidant status when there is excess cholesterol in the blood.
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Integrating work of endocrine system for fat loss
The key role of this herb is in keeping the endocrine glands in functioning normally. The endocrine system takes care of the reproduction, tissue functions, growth and development, sleep, and mood of the person. By helping to keep the growth and sleep steady, you get rid of tensions that make a person fat.
When you involve the pitta, it proves of immense use to the digestive system. It helps to curb an overactive thyroid gland and enhance a weak one. This helps you avoid weight gain.
How to use ashwagandha powder for weight loss
When you are just beginning to take ashwagandha, begin with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the ashwagandha powder. Mix it in a glass of warm milk. Add honey or sugar as you prefer, but this might lead to weight gain in some people. It is better to take without these. A few people take it with ghee – cooking ashwagandha with ghee enhances its building properties and nourishing nature. For those who do not prefer the oily, sweet-bitter taste, the option is to have ashwagandha in tablet or capsule form.
Treating hair loss with ashwagandha
One of the main reasons why the hair falls is the weakening of the immunes system and stress. Ashwagandha acts to improve the immune system and lessen the effect of the stresses. It helps control the production of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Improved digestion is one of the indication of the improved health of the hair. When boiled in water, the winter cherry, as the fruit of the Withania Somnifera is called, helps in skin aliments and carbuncles. It improves the scalp condition when applied to the hair.
How to use Withania Somnifera for treating hair loss
You can use the herb in many ways. One is to apply as a paste on the hair. Make a paste with water by mixing 3-4 teaspoons in 2 cups of water. Apply the paste on your scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes until the paste dries completely. Then, have your bath and do not use soap or shampoo. Oil your hair well and keep the scalp moisturized always. If you are going out in the sun, use a cap or umbrella.
The other way to have the Withania Somnifera orally. Mix 1-3 grams of the powder in a glass of milk. Have this daily in the morning.
When to avoid taking Withania Somnifera
Though there are no side effects of this medicine, overdose should be avoided. People who are already allergic to Withania Somnifera should not have Ashwagandha. There may be a diuretic effect when you have this medicine and so one must take care when one is already having diuretics. If one has excess of amla, kapha, or congestion, then it is best to avoid this herb. Do not stock the Ashwagandha powder for more than one year.