Unlock The Power Of Ashwagandha: Benefits You Need To Know
Ashwagandha is a powerful herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is also known as Withania somnifera and Indian ginseng. The plant is native to India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The root and leaves of the plant are used to make medicine, and they are known for their numerous health benefits1.
What Is Ashwagandha And Its History?
Ashwagandha is a small shrub that belongs to the nightshade family. It has yellow flowers and produces a red fruit similar in shape and size to a cherry. The plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years to treat various conditions, including stress, anxiety, and insomnia. In Sanskrit, the word ashwagandha means “smell of horse,” which refers to the plant’s distinctive smell and ability to give people the strength and vitality of a horse.
Ashwagandha is also known as Indian ginseng because it is believed to have similar properties. However, unlike ginseng, a stimulant, ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body adapt to stress and maintain homeostasis or equilibrium2.
The Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Stress And Anxiety Reduction With Ashwagandha
One of the most well-known benefits of ashwagandha is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. The herb has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that ashwagandha was as effective as the anti-anxiety medication lorazepam in reducing anxiety symptoms in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.
Ashwagandha For Improving Cognitive Function
Ashwagandha has also been shown to improve cognitive function in healthy individuals and those with cognitive impairments. The herb has been found to improve memory, attention, and information processing speed. In one study, participants who took ashwagandha supplements for eight weeks showed significant improvements in multiple measures of cognitive function compared to those who took a placebo3.
Boosting Physical Performance With Ashwagandha
Athletes and bodybuilders have long used ashwagandha to improve physical performance. The herb has increased strength, endurance, and muscle mass. For example, one study found that participants who took ashwagandha supplements for eight weeks showed significant muscle strength and size increases4.
Ashwagandha For Reducing Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders. Ashwagandha has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases5.
How To Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha can be taken in various forms, including capsules, powders, and teas. The recommended dosage varies depending on the form of the herb and your needs. Generally, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it as needed is recommended. The following are some general guidelines for taking ashwagandha6:
- Capsules: 300-500mg of standardized extract, taken once or twice a day
- Powder: 1-2 teaspoons of the powdered root, mixed with water or juice, taken once or twice a day
- Tea: 1-2 teaspoons of dried ashwagandha root, steeped in hot water for 5-10 minutes, taken once or twice a day
It is important to note that ashwagandha can interact with certain medications, including sedatives, thyroid hormones, and immunosuppressants. Therefore, if you take any medications, it is essential to talk to your doctor before taking ashwagandha7.
Precautions And Possible Side Effects
Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. However, some people may experience side effects, including upset stomach, diarrhea, and nausea. Additionally, the herb may lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which can concern those with diabetes or low blood pressure. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid taking ashwagandha, as there is insufficient research to confirm its safety in this population8.
Ashwagandha is a powerful herb used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions. From reducing stress and anxiety to improving cognitive function and physical performance, ashwagandha has numerous health benefits. However, it is important to take the herb in recommended doses and talk to your doctor if you are taking any medications or have any underlying health conditions. With its long history of use and proven health benefits, ashwagandha is a super herb that everyone should consider incorporating into their daily routine.
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- 9 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ashwagandha.
- Benefits of Ashwagandha And How Much To Take, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-ashwagandha/.
- Ashwagandha, https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/ashwagandha.
- Efficacy & Safety Evaluation of Ayurvedic Treatment, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405924/.
- 7 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Ashwagandha, https://www.forbes.com/health/body/ashwagandha-benefits/.
- What Are the Benefits Of Ashwagandha, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318407.
- Ashwagandha, https://examine.com/supplements/ashwagandha/.
- Ashwagandha- Uses, Side Effects, and More, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-953/ashwagandha.