Ashwagandha, scientifically referred to as Withania somnifera, is also called by its common name Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry. This plant, commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, belongs to the nightshade family. This herb is a short shrub with centrally extending branches, boasting small green flowers and orange-red fruit. The shrub can be found in several locations in Punjab, Sindh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Nepal.
Uses in Traditional Medicine
The long brown roots are used for a variety of medicinal purposes. The berries and leaves, however, have been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat external issues like carbuncles, ulcers, tumors, and tubercular glands. The roots, prepared into a traditional herbal remedy that gave the plant it’s common name, have been used to treat a wide range of mental health problems, such as anxiety, lack of concentration, fatigue, and social functioning (social anxiety).
Although some of the traditional uses have not been proven by modern science, the following are other issues which traditional medicine state Ashwagandha is useful for:
- Allergic Reactions
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Back Pain
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Endocrine Conditions
- Neurological Disorders
Like with all man-made drugs, natural herbs and remedies may often come with side effects. The side effects for Ashwagandha may include a drop in blood pressure, a decrease in serum total cholesterol levels, increases in urine volume, and a drop in triglycerides. Women who are pregnant should not take this herb as it has been shown to cause miscarriages in some instances.
Now that you are aware of the benefits and warnings which come with this apparent wonder herb, let’s take a look at five health benefits you may receive for your skin.
1. Calms the skin and the mind.
Ashwagandha has long since been used to help individuals cope with emotional stress, but recent evidence shows it can work on your skin in much the same way. Anti-inflammatory properties contained within the herb may help you to get rid of irritating redness, rosacea, or acne.
Studies have shown that this herb may even treat these conditions in such a way it rivals hydro-cortisone. The fact that this very same herb can be used to treat mental conditions, such as anxiety, is a double bonus since it has been proven that anxiety may induce an onslaught of acne. The calming effects of this amazing herb are incredible.
To use: To use Ashwagandha to treat acne or to calm redness on your face, you should make (or buy) a toner. A toner is simple to make and uses only three ingredients: ashwagandha, rose water, and almond oil. These three ingredients together will help to calm redness, rid your face of acne, and generally tone your skin.
If you wish to use Ashwagandha for its mind-calming effects, you will need to buy the herb in a pill or powder form. This can be found at the majority of health stores. Taking Ashwagandha in pill form may help your skin out in the long run, as it will be working from the inside out. If you are unsure as to which way would be best for you, talk to a local herbalist.
Remember: Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet can increase the effects of Ashwagandha for stress relief—whether it be for the skin or whole body. Having an inner calm will also help your skin. Meditation, yoga, and cardiovascular exercises are known to help.
2. It has anti-bacterial properties.
There are compounds contained within this herb known as withanolides. Withanolides are a group of at least 300 chemical compounds which are naturally found in nature. These chemical compounds have been scientifically proven to inhibit bacteria, making Ashwagandha a fantastic skin product. Why? Anti-bacterial properties help to cure and prevent acne.
When combined with the anti-inflammatory properties, the results are astounding. Ashwagandha is a good choice for curing ulcers or other skin lesions. Not only will it keep them clean and kill off any bacteria, this herb promotes healthy wound healing.
To use: To take internally for anti-bacterial properties, you may mix three grams of Ashwagandha powder into boiled warm milk. This concoction should be taken twice a day until the ulcerations and lesions on your skin disappear. Of course, like all other products, it may be best to use the herb directly on your skin for the quickest results.
If you would like to apply something directly on the skin lesions, take a few fresh Ashwagandha leaves and grind them into powder. Add just enough water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the lesion and leave it on. You may cover it with gauge bandage to prevent rubbing off. Wash off prior to sleep or before you leave home. Reapply as necessary.
Remember: Keeping all wounds properly cleaned with gentle soap and warm water is essential to the healing process. Combining this with the use of Ashwagandha may help you heal much quicker. Leave your skin lesions alone. Do not pick at them, scratch them, or otherwise disturb them, as this could set back the healing process.
3. It’s a good moisturizer.
Ashwagandha is proven to be useful in rejuvenating the skin, and boosting its natural defenses. In the traditional usage of Ayurvedic medicine, this powerful herb has often been prescribed to help fight dry, rough skin—even as a potent treatment for keratitis. Keratitis is a condition in which the eye’s cornea becomes inflamed. The condition causes moderate to severe pain, as well as impaired eyesight.
To use: For skin moisturizing properties, you can make an Ashwagandha toner (see #1). You can also create a thin paste and place on your face for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. The paste is created by taking a few fresh leaves from the shrub and grinding them into a powder. Mix the powder with water to form a paste. The consistency you are aiming for is thinner than what you would desire for the treatment of skin lesions but thicker than a traditional moisturizing cream.
If you wish to start moisturizing your body from the inside, you could take Ashwagandha in pill or powder form. The powder form may be added to hot water, hot milk, or even yogurt. It is recommended to begin by taking only a teaspoon at a time, once or twice a day.
Remember: To retain proper moisture, consume enough water. Properly protect your skin when going outside, with sunblock and/or protective clothing and headgear. If you are prone to dry skin, avoid prolonged and excessively hot showers.
4. It improves skin circulation.
Ashwagandha has long been used to improve circulation in the skin. The tribes in central India use a proven formula every single morning in order to keep circulation flowing at an optimal level.
How does Ashwagandha improve skin circulation? First, it reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause all sorts of things to get out of whack.
Second, it contains compounds which increase estrogen levels. This helps your skin to look and feel youthful no matter your age. In fact, it increases your skins natural oils and hyaluronic acid while at the same time protecting the skin against free radicals.
To use: The following items must be combined in order to create a mixture specifically designed to improve skin circulation:
- 1 tablespoon of dried ginger
- 2 tablespoons of dried Ashwagandha root
- 1 tablespoon of dried Terminalia Chebula fruit
- 1 tablespoon of dried lemon peel
These items, when taken together in these measurements, have been proven to work in improving skin circulation. You may choose to use the toner described earlier for external usage, but for this specific health benefit, orally taking the combination listed above will show you the quickest results.
Remember: General circulation may be improved with steady exercise, adequate fluids, and a healthy diet. To improve skin circulation, ensure your skin is properly covered when going out in the sun. Keep it properly hydrated. Deep tissue massages have also proven useful in boosting skin circulation.
5. It has anti-aging properties.
Ashwagandha is a very powerful anti-aging tonic that has been used for thousands of years. If you want to fight off the effects of natural aging, look no further! Between helping the body produce natural antioxidants, rejuvenating and moisturizing the entire body (inside and out), promoting tissue regeneration, and slowing the aging process, you can easily keep the years off your skin! Ashwagandha might very well be the closest thing to the fountain of youth!
To use: For anti-aging, make an Ashwagandha tea. Follow the instructions below:
- Things you will need: 1 ounce of a whole, dried Ashwagandha root or 1 ounce of Ashwagandha root powder, and one cup of water.
- Boil the root or root powder in the cup of water for fifteen to twenty minutes.
- When sufficiently boiled, you may opt to add a small amount of sugar or honey to cut the bitter herbal taste.
You may drink this tea up to twice a day. We suggest drinking a cup first thing in the morning, and right before bed. In the morning, this tea not only helps you fight signs of aging, but also gives you more energy. At night, it may also help you to sleep more deeply, thus allowing you to wake up more refreshed.
If you really want to fight off the signs of aging, you should avoid alcohol and smoking. Caffeine should be limited to less than three servings per day, and eight full servings of water should be consumed. Make sure you get a good balance of vitamins and minerals. Exercise certainly helps as well.
Those are the five health benefits Ashwagandha has for your skin. We hope that you’ll find this article to be useful, and informative. If you have any questions, or if you would like to tell us more about the ways you use Ashwagandha, please feel free to leave a comment below. We look forward to hearing what you have to say.