Living in a world full of stress and pressure of work, it is only obvious to look for calming solution. It is not possible to visit a spa to relax every single day, however, there is one amazing herb that can help in calming your nerves. Ashwagandha, an age old Ayurvedic herb is known for its numerous health benefits which includes reducing anxiety and stress. Ashwagandha is considered as a health booster for various ailments. And in this article, we have listed below some of Ashwagandha’s benefits and how to use it. To know all about it, scroll down as we answer all of your queries about Ashwagandha.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is commonly known as ‘Indian Winter Cheery’ or ‘Indian Ginseng’. Its scientific name is Withania Somnifera which comes from the nightshade family native to the Indian subcontinent. This herb is native to Asia and Africa and is popularly used for its medicinal benefits for last thousands of years.
Ashwagandha, in fact, is a fairly small shrub with simple leaves, small pale green flowers and red berries. The shape of Ashwagandha is like a tuberous root, carrot or ginger. It also has a distinct smell which explains its name as horse-like. To further elaborate, in Sanskrit Ashwa means horse and Gandha mean smell. As one of Ashwagandha’s important qualities is its strengthening and is said to impart strength that of a stallion.
This herb plays a key role in Ayurvedic medicine and has been a part of it for centuries. According to Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana. This means Ashwagandha helps maintain you both mentally and physically. Also, it is considered an adaptogen that helps your manage stress better. It also aids in easing pain and reducing inflammation, treats insomnia and promotes nutritional aspects in the body.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is packed with various health benefits. And to name a few, we have listed them below -
Known highly for its health and medicinal benefits, it is said that Ashwagandha may work as a potent medicine to eradicate the growth of cancer cells. It is known to reduce the growth of new cancer cells and induce death in pre-existing cancer cells. Ashwagandha is believed to promote the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cancer cells, thereby disrupting their function. It can also treat various types of cancer that including breast, lung, colon, brain and ovarian cancer.
2. Reduces and Manages Cortisol Levels
Ashwagandha is known to have an incredible effect on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released in the body when someone is under a lot of stress or has a low blood sugar level. It causes all the wear and tears in the body if the body is chronically stressed. Cortisol can also lead to increased fat storage in the body, which can impact our body weight too. However, Ashwagandha is known for its ability to reduce and control these cortisol levels and helps it manage efficiently.
3. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Ashwagandha is also known to reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy individuals and those suffering from diabetes. Including Ashwagandha in your regime can help in increasing insulin secretion and sensitivity and thus lower blood sugar levels in people with and without diabetes. In fact, Ashwagandha can also be helpful in reducing blood glucose levels and triglycerides - a common type of fat in the blood. Also, Ashwagandha’s blood sugar-lowering ability is what makes it a prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes.
4. Relieves Stress, Anxiety And Depression
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen which means that it helps the body to adapt to stress. It is best known to reduce stress and anxiety in people. In fact, it also helps in tackling depression and helps with the anxiety by boosting brain function and helping fight its symptoms.
5. Helps to Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s common response to conditions like toxins, infections or trauma. Ashwagandha is one such herb that effectively helps in reducing inflammation. Ashwagandha is known to trigger the production of immune cells that protect your body against inflammation.
6. Treats Insomnia
Are you unable to sleep at night and lie awake for most of the time? Well, if this happens quite often to you then insomnia is the cause. And Ashwagandha is known to help relieve insomnia. It possesses sleep-inducing properties which help those suffering from sleeplessness.
7. Boosts Memory
Ashwagandha’s healing powers help in improving your brain health and boost memory and concentration. It is found that Ashwagandha promotes antioxidant properties which protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals that in turn enhance your brain efficiency. In fact, Ayurvedic experts discovered that Ashwagandha is an excellent memory enhancer even in children. It improves the child’s ability to grasp as well as retain knowledge.
8. Boosts Immunity and Fights Infection
Ashwagandha has immunity boosting ability that fights infection, stress, inflammation and lack of sleep. It is also known to improve the activity of natural killer cells, the immune cells that fight infection.
9. Improves Over All Heart Health
Ashwagandha has a variety of benefits to the heart. It lowers high blood pressure and high cholesterol, eases chest pain and prevents heart diseases. It has been found to significantly reduce the levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream.
10. Increases Sex Drive And Cure Infertility In Men
With stress being a major factor hampering our day-to-day life these days, most men with high stress have low testosterone and a low sperm count. And this is where Ashwagandha’s ability to help in reproductive benefits for men steps in. Ashwagandha works as a beneficial solution for those suffering with infertility. From improving your libido to facilitating the production of testosterone, Ashwagandha can help men regain their sex drive. It is also said that can also improve the sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels.
11. Helps In Muscle Building
When it comes to your body, Ashwagandha helps increase strength and build muscle mass. In fact, Ashwagandha even improves your stamina and allows you to live a healthy life. It can also help with intense fitness exercises for those trying for weight loss.
12. Alzheimer's Treatment
It is said that Ashwagandha inhibits the production of beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques are usually considered lethal to brain cells. They grow in the brains of people with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. It is said that Ashwagandha boosts a protein in the liver which clears amyloid from the brain thus helping in reducing and tackling Alzheimer’s.
13. Improves Skin Texture
Ashwagandha is known to help tone the skin and strengthen muscles for new and expecting mothers. It is one of prevents acne breakouts and is also known to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Regular use of Ashwagandha helps in improving the skin’s elasticity and improves the skin’s overall texture and feel.
How to Take Ashwagandha?
There are various ways to take Ashwagandha and we have mentioned a few ways below -
Ashwagandha tablets are one of the most easy and convenient ways to intake it. With only the recommendation of your doctor, take the Ashwagandha tablets with warm milk or water after taking food twice a day.
Ashwagandha Powder (Churna)
Ashwagandha powder is known to calm your nervous system, especially after a long day. However, if you take Ashwagandha churna in the morning it will kickstart your day on an energetic level. If you want to add some flavor all you need to do is add some honey to this mixture. As honey is a natural sweetener, it will help in giving you a pleasant experience while intaking the Ashwagandha powder.
Roast 4 tablespoons of Ashwagandha powder (churna) in 1 cup of pure ghee and store it in a container. You can store this mixture in the refrigerator and use it when needed.
While consuming, you can mix ¼ or ½ teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder with one glass of cold milk.
Blend it well and drink immediately for better taste.
Add 1 teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder to 2 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
Keep boiling this until the quantity reduces to ½ of the original quantity.
Add some milk and honey to this decoction.
Take 2 tablespoons of Ashwagandha powder and add 1 tablespoon of jaggery powder to this.
Add a pinch of black salt and pepper to the mixture. This will enhance the taste.
Add a few drops of ghee and knead the mixture properly.
Make round shape ladoos and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Just like tablets, there are Ashwagandha supplements that are easy to take and are a hassle-free way to intake them.
The gummies are another tasty way to take the herb extract. The gummies will also satisfy your sweet tooth. You can just keep them in your pocket, and pop one in, whenever you feel like having something sweet. The Ashwagandha gummies of PuraVida brand are the best ones to have as they contain a high percentage of actives and are the best as far as taste and convenience is concerned. They contain a high percentage of bioactives i e Withanolides. These supplements are perfect to improve strength, mood, vitality and immune support.
Each bottle of these Ashwagandha supplements contains 30 delicious gummies. These high potent and pure Ashwagandha gummies help in maintaining your mental wellness, reduce the effects of stress, help enhance the brain functionality and also improve endurance in men as well as women. These potent supplements help you get peaceful sleep, promote calmness and relieve stress. It promotes muscle strength and post recovery support, improves mood, supports endurance and enhances sexual health. Made of high quality, these amazing Ashwagandha gummies are non-GMO, soy free, gluten free and gelatine free.
Ashwagandha Side Effects
Ashwagandha being herbal does not have many side effects. However, if taken in a large dosage, it can lead to -
- Stomach upset
- Liver concerns
Who Shouldn’t Take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is generally considered safe, however, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid it. Also, those who have medical conditions like high or low blood pressure, diabetes, stomach ulcers, autoimmune disease, or thyroid disorders should not intake Ashwagandha without consulting their doctor.
Also, Ashwagandha can increase thyroid function by increasing the conversion of the less potent thyroid hormone, T4, to the more active form of the thyroid hormone, T3. This is why people who are already on the thyroid borderline hyperactive should avoid Ashwagandha as it could contribute to frank hyperthyroidism.
What Should You Look for in an Ashwagandha Supplement?
Ashwagandha might not be the most popular supplement in drug stores yet, but it is soon going to be one of the most preferred ones. And when it comes to picking the best Ashwagandha supplement, there are a few factors to take into consideration. A few are mentioned below –
Check for Ashwagandha’s Dosage
Checking the dosage of ashwagandha present in the supplement is a key factor. Most of the supplements include other supporting natural ingredients that help in enhancing Ashwagandha’s potency. So, if you are genuinely looking to try Ashwagandha supplements then, you must always check product labels. Remember that the higher the ashwagandha dosage, the more you will see its effects. So, before buying an ashwagandha product, compare the dosages among the other supplements. That way, you get to see the actual impact of Ashwagandha.
Purity of the Product
Make sure that the product you pick is made from the purest form of Ashwagandha. Many products in the market are full of harmful ingredients and adulterants. So before picking the product make sure you check through the label to testify the purity.
The Brand’s Reputation
Before you buy any Ashwagandha product make sure you pick a brand with a good reputation. Standard brands like PuraVida ensure that they make products only with pure and authentic ingredients. Trusted such kind of doctor led brands.
Ashwagandha is known for its ability to reduce stress and promote a calmer and happier sense of being. It is highly beneficial for various other reasons that we mentioned above and there are so many ways one can take it.
We hope that these above-mentioned benefits help you to understand better on how Ashwagandha helps you tackle everyday concerns and more. Some studies suggest that ashwagandha could have a range of health benefits, including improving arthritis. Not only does this herb heal our physical ailments, but it also improves our mental well being. However, before you start including Ashwagandha in your routine, consult your doctor regarding its dosages. Keep in mind Ashwagandha’s side effects as well.
Q) Is It Safe To Take Ashwagandha Every Day?
A) Yes, it is absolutely safe to take Ashwagandha every day. However, it is best to consult your doctor as to how long you should take it. As taking Ashwagandha beyond the recommended doses or periods may cause slight discomfort and side effects.
Q) Does Ashwagandha Make You Gain Weight?
A) No. Ashwagandha does not make you gain weight. In fact, Ashwagandha is considered as one of the most effective ways to lose weight.
Q) Can Ashwagandha Make You Sleepy?
A) Yes indeed. Ashwagandha’s leaves contain the compound triethylene glycol. This helps in promoting sleep induction and improves the quality of sleep and can work in tackling insomnia.
Q) Can Ashwagandha Cause Hair Loss?
A) No. Ashwagandha does not cause hair loss. In fact, Ashwagandha has essential nutrients such as vitamin C, protein, iron, tyrosine and potassium. All of these are essential for hair growth and prevent hair fall.
Q) Does Ashwagandha Increase Estrogen?
A) Yes, Ashwagandha helps boost reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone plays a vital role in fertility health.
Q) Can Ashwagandha Cause High Blood Pressure?
A) No, in fact, Ashwagandha helps in reducing high blood pressure.
Q) Can Ashwagandha Cause Heart Problems?
A) No. Ashwagandha helps in reducing and preventing heart problems.
Q) Does Ashwagandha Increase Serotonin?
A) Yes, thanks to its calming effect, Ashwagandha helps in boosting serotonin and improving your mood.
Q) How Long Does Ashwagandha Take To Balance Hormones?
A) It completely depends from person to person. But it usually takes eight weeks to show efficient results in less stress, better sleep, and lower blood cortisol levels.
Q) Is Ashwagandha Good For Kidneys?
A) Yes, Ashwagandha has free radical scavenging which helps in preventing and treating kidney damage.
Q) Is Ashwagandha Good For the Liver?
A) Yes, Ashwagandha helps in detoxing the liver and helps in treating liver ailments.
Q) Can You Take Turmeric With Ashwagandha?
A) Yes, indeed you can take turmeric with Ashwagandha.
Q) Can We Take Ashwagandha Powder With Honey?
A) Yes, Ashwagandha powder and honey can go well together. Most of the Ashwagandha recipes are also recommended to have Ashwagandha and honey together for a pleasant taste.