Ashwagandha is also called withania on account of the Latin name of the plant being Withania somnifera. Ashwagandha has a number of well evidenced health effects that supports its traditional use as a general health tonic. One of the main functions of ashwagandha is the stimulation of the immune system, with studies showing that the herb can support the immune system during times of stress, something that makes it useful to those people recovering from illness. In particular, ashwagandha can increase white blood cell function and increase red blood cell count. Ashwagandha also has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action and this may explain some of the neuroprotective and anti-arthritic effects reported with consumption of ashwagandha, perhaps through a mechanism that modulates cortisol. Ashwagandha is also reported to have a significant aphrodisiac effect, perhaps through an ability to stimulate testosterone production or through an ability to cause changes to brain chemistry.
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