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    • cal28-June-2022 adminTarishi Shrivastava

      Ashwagandha - Health Benefits and Side-Effects

    • Why do people take Ashwagandha? Consuming this Ancient Medicinal Herb has many benefits. Let us look into various aspects of this widely used herb.

      It is a highly used herb in Ayurveda and has various benefits for your body.

      Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit name that initially means "Smell of the Horse'. It refers to its distinct smell and unique ability to enhance strength. 

      It is also called Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry, probably because it is accepted as an adaptogen or tonic in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is part of Ayurvedic, Siddha, and Unani traditions and is also listed in the Indian Materia Medica. 

      It benefits both the body and the brain. Ashwagandha has shown remarkable results in improving brain function and increasing concentration.

      It contains a very high amount of withanolides which fight tumour growth and inflammation. In addition, it's known to lower blood sugar, reduce stress levels and help with anxiety or depression. 

      Table Of Contents

      1. Why Do We Use Ashwagandha?

      2. How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take?

      3. Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

      4. Disadvantages of Ashwagandha

      5. The Final Say

      6. FAQs

      Why Do We Use Ashwagandha?

      Natively found in India and Southeast Asia, the plant of Ashwagandha has small bushes and yellow flowers. Its roots and leaves are used to treat anxiety and fertility issues. In addition, the plant is beneficial in improving several conditions.

      It is also harvested on farms, but the plants grown in forests are preferred for extracting oil. It contains steroidal lactones called withanolides.

      Ashwagandha's pharmacological activities are attributed to these steroidal lactones' presence. Besides, the roots provide:

      • Alkaloids
      • 18 fatty acids
      • Beta-sitosterol
      • Polyphenols
      • Phytosterols

      Excess stress increases the cortisol level, storing abdominal fat faster than usual. It also elevates blood sugar levels. Many studies have proven that it helps to reduce inflammation and prevent several diseases.

      Studies show that Ashwagandha can reduce cortisol levels in the body by 30%.

      It boosts testosterone levels in men, promoting muscle gain and fat loss. It is also a fantastic fitness supplement for gym-goers and athletes. 

      Considering the multiple benefits of this plant, it is no wonder it is one of the most valuable herbs in Ayurveda.

      How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take?

      Ashwagandha has no standard dose, some people use 1-6 grams of this herb daily, and others mix at least 3 grams of Ashwagandha with milk. Standardized extracts are also available in syrup, powder and tablets for convenient usage. 

      Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

      Stress and Anxiety

      Ashwagandha has shown calming effects on anxiety compared to the drug lorazepam, a sedative and anxiety medication. It significantly reduces stress levels by lowering cortisol, a stress hormone.

      Arthritis

      Ashwagandha also acts as a pain reliever by obstructing pain signals from reaching the central nervous system. It contains the compound WA (withaferin A), which makes it a natural painkiller.

      It may also reduce inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

      Heart Health

      The majority of people use Ashwagandha to boost or improve their heart health as it-

      • Lowers high blood pressure
      • Lowers high cholesterol
      • Eases chest pain
      • Prevents heart diseases

      According to research, the extract from the roots of Ashwagandha can enhance cardiorespiratory endurance, improving heart function.

      A Supplement for Athletes

      It is a perfect supplement for improving athletic performance.

      According to some studies, it has been found that consuming Ashwagandha enhances oxygen consumption (VO2 max) which is the maximum oxygen a person needs while doing an intense activity. It's a measurement of heart and lung fitness. Additionally, Ashwagandha may help increase muscle strength.

      Lower's Symptoms & Improves Mental Health Conditions

      It improves many mental health conditions, including depression. 

      For a study, people were told to take Ashwagandha 1,000 mg for 12 weeks for depression and anxiety instead of Placebo (a drug prescribed for depression). People found it more beneficial.

      Boosting Testosterone and Increasing Fertility in Men

      Some studies have shown Ashwagandha supplements to benefit male fertility and increase testosterone levels. It also helps in increasing sperm count for men.

      Improves Brain Function & Memory

      Taking Ashwagandha may benefit cognitive function. It improves cognitive functioning in specific populations, including older adults with mild cognitive impairment and people with schizophrenia.

      Effects on Cognitive functions

      • Executive Functioning
      • Attention
      • Reaction Time
      • Performance On Cognitive Tasks
      • Immediate And General Memory
      • Information-Processing Speed

      Researchers noted that compounds found in Ashwagandha, including WA, have antioxidant effects on the brain, which may benefit cognitive health.

      Disadvantage of Ashwagandha

      Ashwagandha's most common side effects are uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms, nausea, upset stomach and diarrhoea.

      Drowsiness

      While studies found that Ashwagandha may help you sleep better at night, drowsiness can be an unwelcome side effect for some users, interrupting day-to-day tasks and making driving uncomfortable.

      Other Side-Effects

      It may lead to insomnia or lack of sleep. Avoid eating it during the night because it makes the brain active and can cause problems like sleeplessness.

      Ashwagandha can reduce your BP. It is recommended to avoid it if you have low BP.

      Excessive use of it may cause fever, fatigue, and pain.

      Overuse can cause stomach disorders.

      If you intake Ashwagandha excessively, vomiting and nausea may also be unwanted side effects.

      The Final Say

      With various health benefits, Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb used to manage or treat multiple medical conditions. 

      It helps in reducing stress and anxiety. It even improves cognitive skills for certain people.

      FAQs

      Q. Is Ashwagandha safe for women?

      A. Yes, it is safe for both men and women. But women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid the intake of Ashwagandha.

      Q. Can we mix Ashwagandha with water?

      A. You can mix ashwagandha roots with water, milk and other liquids. The traditional way to take Ashwagandha is with warm milk, honey and ghee.

      Q. Can vegetarians or vegans take Ashwagandha?

      A. Yes, it contains only plant material.

      Q. Is Ashwagandha gluten-free?

      A. Yes, Ashwagandha is gluten-free

      Q. Does Ashwagandha have any smell or odour?

      A. Ashwagandha powder has a strong odour, as described by many people as "horse-like", which is exactly like the meaning of the name Ashwagandha "horse scent."

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  • 9 days ago

    Very informative blog... Understood a lot about ashwagandha and it's health benefits.

    Reply
  • 9 days ago

    Is ashwagandha beneficial for diabetes?

    Reply
  • 8 days ago

    Wow itz a natural weight gainer.i will definately try this herb.

    Reply
  • 8 days ago

    Didn’t know it had side effects too, will surely be careful now

    Reply
  • 8 days ago

    Wow, Nice tips & very informative, Keep it up!

    Reply
  • 5 days ago

    Thanks for sharing such an amazing health blog.

    Reply

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