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Benefits of Ashwagandha

Can a shrub extract really affect the behaviour of my dog or cat? Is the talk about Ashwagandha on YouTube and social media just a fad? Does it really do something? Well, from a scientific point of view, the evidence shows that Ashwagandha has tangible and significant health benefits. Not just for humans, but for animals also.


Ashwagandha (oftenly misspelled Ashwaganda), also known as Withania Somnifera, is an evergreen shrub grown in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and has been known to boost mental and physical health and to help the body maintain homeostasis (a state of balance). It is also valued for its antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


The main bioactive compounds of Ashwagandha are called withanolides and alkaloids. Withanolides are naturally occurring steroids with multiple benefits and plenty of uses due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hormone balancing properties. This is why Ashwagandha is called an adaptogen. Alkaloids are small organic molecules which have diverse physiological effects.


Adaptogens help the body adapt to physical and emotional stress by finding balance. Ashwagandha is said to emit chemicals that calm the nervous system and lower blood pressure. It has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels due to its healing properties. Ashwagandha is used for many stress related conditions including nervousness, insomnia and anxiety.


Numerous studies have shown that Ashwagandha appears to slow down neurodegenerative diseases in humans such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It may also slow the growth of tumours as studies suggests that it inhibits the reproduction of damaged or harmful cells.


You can read more about the benefits of Ashwagandha in a pdf download here.


There has also been a Veterinary Journal controlled trial regarding dogs and Ashwagandha that makes for illuminating reading.

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