From Dr. Mercola:
Very quickly gaining in popularity in the U.S. as an “incredibly healthy” herb with centuries-old medicinal qualities, ashwagandha has a long list of attributes to its credit. One of the best known is its use as an adaptogen, meaning that it helps you manage stress.
Ashwagandha is translated in Sanskrit as “smell of the horse,” possibly as a double meaning: the herb exudes the peculiar odor of a horse, and it’s also known for its ability to increase strength and promote health when used regularly.
Other names include winter cherry and Indian ginseng, along with its botanical moniker Withania somnifera. Originating in the region of Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, ashwagandha has been used by East Indian cultures for thousands of years, based on the 3,000-year-old alternative East Indian medicine known as Ayurveda.
It’s only been in the last 50 years that this member of the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) has emerged in the West as a potent healing herb, with growing popularity.
Actual Asian ginseng (botanical name Panax ginseng), also an adaptagenic herb, is one of the most sought-after herbal supplements in the U.S. and has several things in common with ashwagandha.
Besides easing fatigue in cancer patients and improving Alzheimer’s, they share a similar effect on infertility and emotional disorders.
Perhaps less well known and not quite as powerful as ginseng, ashwagandha currently sells for $12 to $15 per pound, while ginseng can sometimes go for $100 for the same amount. Nevertheless, ashwagandha has its following of people who value it for its many health advantages.
Originating in India and Northern Africa, the ashwagandha plant is a small shrub bearing small yellow flowers and teardrop-shaped leaves. It’s the leaves that hold the key to the health benefits. Dried and reduced to a powder, compounds called withanolides are possibly the most active ingredients.
Ashwagandha Shown to Fight Many Types of Cancer
Ashwagandha trials have demonstrated numerous and dramatic healing properties for many diseases and presented encouraging prospects in others. Possibly, its most zealously tested benefits are in regard to its ability to combat inflammation and tumor growth.1
In one animal study “using chemically induced and oncogene-driven rodent cancer models,” new cancer cell growth was inhibited:
“The plants used in Ayurvedic medicine, which has been practiced in India for thousands of years for the treatment of a variety of disorders, are rich in chemicals potentially useful for prevention and treatment of cancer.
Withania somnifera (commonly known as ashwagandha in Ayurvedic medicine) is one such medicinal plant whose anticancer value was realized over four decades ago after isolation of a crystalline steroidal compound (withaferin A) from the leaves of this shrub.”2
Cancer cell apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is one of the ways ashwagandha is thought to exert cancer-resistant effects. It may also have an ability to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells.3
Researchers concluded after trials that ashwagandha may be valuable for combating…