The episteme of Ayurvedic medicine is ancient and has contributed greatly towards building immunity among individuals. Having existed for over 5,000 years, it literally translates into “The Science of Life.” With origins in the Indian subcontinent, it is also referred to as “Mother of All Healing.” But you can probably find all this information on the internet.

In the next series of blog posts, I will discuss important Ayurvedic herbs that have specific, immunity boosting properties. Today, let’s discuss Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is more popularly known as a herb providing ‘horse-like’ vitality.

A team of Portland researchers decided to study the effects of Ashwagandha on immunity. Led by a Ph. D scholar of National College of Natural Medicine’s Helfgott Research Institute, the results showed that whole cow’s milk consumed with Ashwagandha, can increase the number of white blood cells in the body. Moreover, the activation of Natural Killer Cells was the most pronounced. This is good news because these cells increase the body’s response to the flu, mumps and other common infections.

In many instances, the increase in stress can make one’s body susceptible to psychosomatic effects. Ashwagandha, indirectly increases overall health by reducing the primary stress hormone also known as cortisol. Studies testify to this fact when individuals who were supplemented with the herb not only experienced reduced cortisol levels, but also heightened degrees of concentration and attentiveness.

There is enough data to support the fact that Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogen. The withanolides, or naturally occurring steroids in the herb play a crucial role in exhibiting antimicrobial, antitumor and immuno-modulating functions. How does Ashwagandha manage this though?

We’ve already discussed antibody production. That is a more widely recognized usage of Ashwagandha. In addition, our body automatically begins production of nitric oxide in the wake of infections. Ashwagandha, however, increases the production of that very nitric oxide. It’s not rocket science to figure out how that’s beneficial for you.

Composed of components like flavonoids and essential antioxidants, it also bears therapeutic, anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, this herb is completely natural. What more could one ask for?

Also note, like any other medicine, Ashwagandha also has a specific dosage and manner of consumption. Please do not self medicate and speak to a medical expert regarding supplements and figure out the best recourse for yourself.

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP