Ashwagandha. Ah yes, the plant of the many names. Going by many different aliases, including Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry and winter cherry, it has been a plant that has enjoyed a long standing degree of regard and respect within the field of Ayurveda medicine where it has been used to treat a myriad of different health complaints.
Care for ashwagandha can prove something of a challenge if only due to the fact that ashwagandha oftentimes has fallen victim to its own success: attracting more than its fair share of pests that will be drawn to the ripened orange fruit that flowers from the leaves of the plant.
Treehoppers nibble on the parts of the stem which then means that the ability of ashwagandha to draw sustenance and nutrition from the soil that is planted in is severely impaired. In time, this causes essential minerals to become depleted and so the leaves will become brown and mottled.
Eventually the leaves will then become brittle by which point the damage is now entirely irreversible and the fruit is inedible and unusable. It is not only pests that can have a devastating impact upon this plant. Disease is also a concern as well and steps should be taken to prevent it.
Leaf spot disease will typically be fatal to the plant, and as the name would suggest, the characteristic of this disease is the presence of spotting on the leaves of the plant.
But why should we be so concerned about the protection, preservation and promotion of the ashwagandha plant? Put bluntly: if we look after the ashwagandha and protect it from harm, the ashwagandha will return the favour and with interest.
One of the active constituent chemical agents within the ashwagandha is Withaferin A, itself a cyclical ester which is belongs to the steroid classification of hormones. Withaferin A has been identified as playing a vital role in various autoimmune responses.
One most fascinating of all is the tumour suppressant properties that Withaferin A possesses and the manner in which Withaferin A achieves this is by directly inhibiting uptake and production of the androgen receptor, as well the disrupting the ATP production cycle of the so called heat shock protein 90.
Cancers and tumours are like any other typical, benign cell: they require ATP to grow and without ATP they will die and be unable to sustain growth. By disrupting the ATP cycle then, we are quite literally stopping cancer dead in its tracks before its inception.
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