ASHWAGANDHA LIQUID EXTRACT: AN AYURVEDIC SECRET FOR HAIR, SKIN, AND BODY HEALTH
- Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used in the traditional system of Indian medicine (Ayurveda). It is also considered an adaptogen, a group of herbs that help regulate stress in the body.
- The Ashwagandha plant is a small evergreen shrub with red berries that grow from papery husks in the autumn season. Also known as "winter cherry", the Ashwagandha plant originates from India and Southeast Asia.
- Ashwagandha's scientific name is Withania somnifera. While the roots of the herb were often used for oral medicine, the properties of the leaves were used as topical treatments.
- It is sometimes called "Indian Ginseng" due to sharing notably similar chemical components. However, it belongs to the nightshade family with potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
- Ashwagandha is a natural antioxidant with moisturizing and soothing qualities, making it an ideal ingredient in natural haircare, skincare, and makeup.
WHAT IS ASHWAGANDHA LIQUID EXTRACT?
Ashwagandha is a natural herb extracted from Withania somnifera, a small shrub that grows in the drier climates of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The name Ashwagandha translates roughly to "the smell of a horse". Ashwagandha is associated with the horse because the herb's miraculous benefits are believed to help harness the strength and endurance of the horse. Having been used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote optimal physical and sexual health, the herb is still used in herbal medicine today. However, Ashwagandha is gaining popularity in the western natural health and wellness industry and is being added to healthy diets as a beneficial supplement. The ashwagandha supplement is available in a variety of forms, including capsules, tablets, tinctures, raw powder, and even in food and beverage products.
Ashwagandha herb is categorized as an adaptogen, which are herbs that support the body in managing stress and other physical and mental challenges. Ayurvedic practitioners have historically prescribed ashwagandha to treat physical and mental exhaustion. Recent studies have proven that the herb energizes and awakens in a calming way, without overstimulating. As an adaptogen, the herb is believed to aid in flexibility in multiple organs throughout the body. This applies to strengthening the heart muscles, improving cardiovascular health. Ashwagandha can also ease tension in uterine and menstrual muscles and can help treat menstrual cramps. Ashwagandha is an ideal herb for holistic health, benefiting mental, sexual, and cognitive health, while also improving athletic performance, immunity, and healthy aging.
ASHWAGANDHA LIQUID EXTRACT'S CHEMICAL PROFILE AND BENEFITS
Along with being an adaptogen, Ashwagandha is also known to possess at least 40 different withanolides, which are hormone precursors that help rebalance the body. Ashwagandha's biologically active components also include alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins. This profile can be skin-enriching because Ashwagandha is known to aid in the production of skin-enriching compounds, such as hyaluronan, elastin, and collagen. Since Ashwagandha's apoptogenic properties can help improve inner health and vitality, that same synergy is likely to extend to skin and hair health. This means that the herb can potentially aid in reducing hair loss and enhance the radiance of the skin.
Adaptogens are known to:
- Adaptogens increase the body's tolerance to stress instead of generating specific responses as defense mechanisms. This brings homeostasis to the body, or a state of balance, by generating multiple physiological processes at once.
- Supports healthy inflammatory response.
- With long-term regular use, ashwagandha's adaptogenic properties can help the body buffer stress, reducing strain and improving efficiency.
- Reduce mental stress.
- Improve cardiovascular function, and potentially decrease blood pressure.
- Regulate hormones.
- Helps to rebuild strength after physically or mentally stressful events.
Withanolides are known to:
- Convert into human physiological hormones as needed.
- Can simulate a hormone's effect when more of that hormone is needed.
- Can also block overactive hormones by taking up space in the cell's receptor site.
- Have neuroprotective properties.
- Helping to sooth inflammation when used topically.
- Chondroprotective effects.
Withaferin A has been discovered to:
- Potentially reduce neurodegenerative symptoms.
- May support healthy aging by healing and restoring the body after it is exposed to stressors.
- Similarly to Withaferin A, sitoindosides can behave as an anti-stressor.
HOW IS ASHWAGANDHA LIQUID EXTRACT MADE?
Ashwagandha is most used as a root powder, although liquid extracts, and capsules are widely available. Many supplements opt for a more concentrated ashwagandha extract. The tuberous roots of the Withania somnifera are harvested in the winter, then dried and grounded into a powder. The roots are cut into small pieces and spread on SS sieve of 10 to 30 mesh. This is when contaminants, infected roots, and dust are sieved or removed by hand. Once the roots are clean of all impurities, they are put into a clean bag to begin Pulverization, a process in which pressure is applied to a particle to break it down and reduce it in size. This practice is common in powder production.
Ashwagandha Liquid Extract (Standardized) is produced through a unique manufacturing technology. The process avoids applications that involve high amounts of alcohol, heavy toxic solvents, or high heat. Ashwagandha's active constituents are analyzed using the HPLC (high-pressure liquid chromatography) method, where a mixture of compounds is isolated to identify, quantify, or purify the individual constituent.
USES OF ASHWAGANDHA LIQUID EXTRACT
Ashwagandha in Health
Being an integral ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha powders, capsules, and liquid tinctures are taking the natural health industry by storm as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. Having been the subject of numerous scientific studies, the extract known as an adaptogen and is believed to be beneficial to helping the body manage stress. Adaptogens, including Ashwagandha, are believed to support optimal health by cultivating a defense against environmental and emotional stressors as well as mental ones. These herbs have a naturally energizing essence that can provide an alertness without overstimulating. When taken orally, Withania somnifera is also ideal for athletes. Studies show that the herb can aid the body in recovering from vigorous exercise and potentially improve cardiovascular health. While oral supplements of Ashwagandha are plentiful in the market, New Directions Aromatics' Ashwagandha Liquid Extract is recommended for external use only.
Ashwagandha in Beauty
As a naturally occurring antioxidant, Ashwagandha Liquid Extract possesses hydrating properties and an abundance of vitamins and minerals, making it an ideal supplementary ingredient for natural hair and skin care products. New Directions Aromatics' Ashwagandha Liquid Extract can add a healthy-looking sheen and help promote strength when added to hair care routines. Ashwagandha contains Propanediol, an NPA approved, petrochemical- free emollient that is extracted from corn sugar. It is known to dissolve ingredients, decrease a formula's adhesiveness, and lock in moisture. This makes propanediol an ideal substitute for propylene glycol, which can trigger eczema and other skin inflammations. To make a toner, Ashwagandha has often been paired with honey or milk to enhance its astringent properties. New Directions Aromatic's Ashwagandha Liquid Extract is safe enough to be added to toners, as well as to lotions, creams, and body butters.
Regarding natural haircare, Ashwagandha is known to stimulate the scalp, encourage blood circulation, and reduce dandruff. The herb's moisturizing benefits makes it one of the key ingredients used in Ayurvedic shampoos. New Directions Aromatics' Ashwagandha Root Extract is ideal to use when self-massaging the scalp to work the maximum number of benefits into the scalp and roots.
In natural and organic cosmetics, Ashwagandha Liquid Extract's initial pigmentation adapts seamlessly to formulas that are also naturally derived, making it an optimal additional ingredient. Ashwagandha can take the place of artificial ingredients to achieve equally potent colors and beautiful results. NDA's Ashwagandha Liquid Extract contains a standardization of 1.68% Withanolids, and 1-3% is recommended when adding to skincare products.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ASHWAGANDHA LIQUID EXTRACT
As with all New Directions Aromatics products, liquid extracts are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Ashwagandha Liquid Extract for therapeutic purposes. Ashwagandha may also cause excess heat in the body, head, and heart (known as sadhaka pitta). For this reason, ayurvedic practitioners recommend pairing ashwagandha with cooling herbs such as licorice, or with cooling foods such as ghee, milk, rice, and raw sugar.
Ashwagandha Liquid Extract is not recommended for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, immunocompromised, or have a thyroid disorder. The extent of the side effects of Ashwagandha Liquid Extract are still unknown and require more research. However, large doses of the herb can result in upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. Ashwagandha has the potential to interact with drugs such as sedatives, blood thinners, thyroid supplements, and drugs for anxiety and high blood pressure. Speak with your doctor before incorporating Ashwagandha into your diet.
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