Ashwagandha is a natural herb known for several healing purposes. It is appreciated in Ayurvedic herbal treatments and generally called as Indian ginseng, winter cherry or poison gooseberry. Ashwagandha is a sustained herb originated from Southern Asia and cultivated in the dry regions of India, Sri Lanka. It has small orange-red fruits and green flowers. Botanically, Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae family and relates to pepper, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb that people using from 2000 years. It is scientifically described as Withania Somnifera. In Ayurveda, it is described as a strong rejuvenating herb to increase life longevity.
Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit term which means the smell of a horse.
It named Ashwagandha because of the powerful herb smell similar to horse smell. Fortunately, many forms of Ashwagandha do not have a smell.
It is also famous for giving horse virility – a reference to a healthy sexual function for both women and men.
How is Ashwagandha used?
The consumption of Ashwagandha depends on the condition you want to treat. Modern clinical research has not yet tested the standard dosage.
Ashwagandha is available in the form of a powder which ranges from 450 milligrams to 2 grams. It is also available in the form of capsules and liquid extract in ayurvedic or supplement stores.
Ashwagandha uses for many reasons such as cancer treatment, heart health, and anxiety.
Active Ingredients of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha contains a high number of steroidal compounds in roots and leaf including carbon-27 glycowithanolides, withaferin A, describe as withanolides. It also has a good number of alkaloids, pseudotropine-isopelletrine, saponins, and anaferine.
Uses of Ashwagandha
The powerful herb provides many benefits to health and healing. Here are the important uses of Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha Uses for Stress
It is the best herb to reduce your stress levels. The adrenal glands generate cortisol which is a stress hormone, and it quickly gets released in stressful situations. The continuous release of cortisol causes to affect your health. It is important to keep your stress levels in check to prevent health risk.
Ashwagandha promotes adrenals by assisting normal HPA Axis function which means it helps pituitary, hypothalamic and adrenal glands to signal effectively. When these three doesn’t work in sync, your stress response will become induce-happy or doesn’t respond with energy that doesn’t suit the situation.
It also helps adrenals to reduce testosterone overproduction which causes chronic, testosterone pumping in the system.
Ashwagandha helps to prevent stress including vitamin C deficiency in the adrenals as adrenals require more vitamin C to function properly. If adrenal gland doesn’t get enough vitamin C, then they don’t control the cortisol production which results in overproduction.
Ashwagandha Uses for Heart health
Ashwagandha uses to decrease cholesterol levels, and triglycerides in your bloodstream and this thing has been confirmed in both human and animal studies. Though the effect of Ashwagandha is stronger in animals, then the human. However, it decreases the cholesterol levels by 17% and triglycerides by 11% found in the study of 60 days of chronically stressed individuals.
Ashwagandha Uses for Anxiety
Anxiety is a natural body response to stress. When you have some fear of feeling like what will happen next will create anxiety feeling. You will get anxious in situations such as job interview, first day in school or giving a speech in public make people nervous and cause anxiety.
If your anxiety becomes extreme and continues more than six months, then it will cause to reduce your quality life and result in anxiety disorder.
Anxiety varies to person to person depending on the condition. The anxiety feeling can start from butterflies in the stomach to fast heart beating. It may make you feel out of control like no connection between body and your mind.
Other types of anxiety people may experience such as panic attacks, nightmares, memories or painful thought which are not in your control. Generally, you will experience fear of an even or particular place.
The symptoms of anxiety include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
According to some clinical research, ashwagandha consumption helps to lessen the anxiety symptoms and improve your mood. Special it helps agoraphobia which means anxiety due to crowded or open places.
Ashwagandha Uses for Arthritis pain
Ashwagandha is best known for its pain-relieving qualities which influence your nervous system to limit the pain signal to the brain. Its anti-inflammatory qualities help to relieve arthritis problems.
According to the study of Indian-Journal-of-Medical-Research discovered that ashwagandha herb contains powerful properties for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis causes to effect on your physical health and emotional health because of limited mobility which causes to reduce daily life activities performance with friends and family.
According to studies, Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory qualities which help to decrease the damage of cartilage mainly in rheumatoid arthritis.
Ashwagandha Uses for Andropause
Everyone knows about women have menopause but do you, men, also undergo with similar health stage called andropause. Andropause is an imbalance of male hormones causes to affect sexual stress and dysfunction. As a result, stress causes hormone imbalance and produce a vicious cycle.
When male hormones are out of balance, you will get stress and suffered from sleep deprivation. Ashwagandha helps to boost restful sleep and reduce your stress. It is a wonderful treatment option for men to deal with andropause. However, Ashwagandha is known from 3000 years to correct the sexual condition.
Ashwagandha uses for Weight Loss
Different people try different plans, treatments for losing weight. Ashwagandha is one natural ayurvedic herb to reduce your weight. The main cause of weight gain is a stressful lifestyle and unhealthy food. These problems cause to induce excess cortisol production in your body.
Overproduction of cortisol causes eating disorder, muscle loss, anxiety, and weight gain.
Ashwagandha is a rewarding cure for people who struggle to lose weight. The content of anti-oxidant in Ashwagandha helps to reduce the inflammation which is common in obese and overweight people. Ashwagandha helps to decrease the fasting blood sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity. Use of Ashwagandha helps your weight loss plan.
Ashwagandha For Thyroid
Nearly 1 in 10 women suffer from thyroid dysfunction. The symptoms of thyroid take time to appear, and low thyroid individuals suffer from anxiety, fatigue, concentration, dry hair, weight gain, and insomnia.
Many females suffer from a malfunction of thyroid gland without knowing it.
When you have a diagnosis of thyroid problem, your doctor will tell you that your thyroid hormones are not working properly. Many women with thyroid problem have an unknown cause. There could be a problem of pituitary gland malfunctioning which is located in the brain, and these glands should stimulate themselves to make thyroid gland work correctly.
In many cases, some medical treatment causes to effect on thyroid glands such as chemotherapy and goiter removal. Some research claims that this is a partial hereditary problem.
Ashwagandha is best for balancing hormones health. As Ashwagandha is an apoptogenic herb, it improves hypothyroid and hyperthyroid problems.
Ashwagandha For Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease occurs with destructive signs of memory loss. Evidence tells that genes, age, inflammation, and hormones cause to develop Alzheimer’s.
You can use Ashwagandha for the treatment of Alzheimer’s because it contains anti-inflammatory qualities and antioxidants which helps to guard brain cells against free radical and inflammatory proteins.
Studies also tell that Ashwagandha promotes brain activity and prevent memory loss.
Research of Newcastle-University discovered that Ashwagandha reduces beta-amyloid plaques formation. These plaques are toxic to brain cells. If plaque build-up in the brain, then people will suffer from neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.
Ashwagandha Uses for Menopause
Menopause is a stage in a woman life when she no more gets the menstrual cycle.
It is a normal health condition which every woman experience as their age increase, especially in the 50s. It is a stage when a woman has an end to reproductive period.
All women are born with different quantities of eggs in the ovaries. The ovaries produce hormone progesterone and estrogen which manage the ovulation and menstruation. Menopause occurs when woman ovaries don’t produce an egg every month, and the menstrual cycle gets a stop. Menopause occurs when woman ovaries don’t produce an egg every month, and the menstrual cycle gets a stop.
At the stage of menopause, every woman has different symptoms and different age also. There are typical symptoms such as mood swings, weight gain, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, anger, depression, and outbursts.
Studies discovered that taking Ashwagandha helps to reduce the symptoms of menopause as the herb influence on your endocrine system and stimulate hormones to prevent imbalance.
Ashwagandha Uses for Cancer
According to test-tube and animal studies, ashwagandha triggers apoptosis which helps to kill cancer cells. It also hinders the new cancer growth cell in different ways.
Ashwagandha is thought to produce reactive oxygen species-ROS which contain toxins of cancer cell and not general cells.
Ashwagandha also makes cancer cells less resistant to apoptosis.
Animal studies say that it helps to cure different types of cancer such as lung, breast, colon, ovarian cancer and brain cancer.
Ashwagandha Use for Strength and Muscle mass
According to clinical research, Ashwagandha helps to increase body muscle mass and strength by improving body composition.
During a study an effective and safe dosage of ashwagandha, a group of healthy men who consumed 750-1,250 mg every day of powdered ashwagandha gained muscle strength after one month.
Ashwagandha Uses for Allergies
Human has a wonderful but complex immune system. When you have a balanced immune system, it works well and prevents health attacks from bacteria, viruses, cancer cells and toxins. But sometimes the immune system responds quickly to certain particles such as pollen, molds or animal dander. The immune system reacts forcefully in a process to prevent the threats which can be harmful. In that condition, your body may feel symptoms like watery eyes, cough, nasal congestion, itchiness.
Ashwagandha has natural steroids such as Withanolides and withaferin which assist to stabilize these harmful allergic reactions through stimulating your immune system to produce stilled response to allergens.
Ashwagandha Uses for Diabetes
According to studies, Ashwagandha herb can create more sensitivity in the cells and make it less insulin resistant. It also reduces the raised insulin serum levels, glycosylated hemoglobin, blood glucose in the test of type 2 diabetes. It also helps to glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.
Every metabolic process of the human body produces reactive molecules called as free radicals which enter in the oxidized fatty layer of cell walls and this process named lipid peroxidation. This condition in the liver results in non-alcoholic fatty liver ailment.
People with diabetes more likely to develop a fatty liver. Ashwagandha works effectively in many ways to lessen diabetes risk.
Additionally, Ashwagandha protects against fatty liver by detecting free radicals and supplement the natural antioxidants in your body.
Ashwagandha Uses for Sleep
Many health factor and stress effect on your sleeping ability. Continued stress disturbs the import body functions including
- Reduce the circadian clock
- Divert the blood sugar
- Flood out stress hormone in the body
- Disturb neurotransmitter production
- Reduce microbiome
- deplete body energy
According to Ayurveda sleep problem are linked with lack of energy in the body. Rebuilding and rejuvenating energy storage in the body promote sedate levels and good sleep.
The ayurvedic powerful herb ashwagandha reduces stress depletion and promotes healthy sleep. Ashwagandha became popular as powerful adaptogens which helps the adrenal system for managing stress hormones and provide you sound sleep.
Ashwagandha Uses for Venom
In India, Ashwagandha extracts are traditionally known for treatment of venom treatment. Recently modern science has discovered that Ashwagandha contains glycoprotein that is a powerful inhibitor for hyaluronidase enzymes found in venom. These enzymes help to break down the snake bite skin tissues and eliminate the venom toxins in the entire body.
According to lab studies, Ashwagandha content hyaluronidase clog can totally reduce this enzyme in viper venoms and cobra at a 1:1 ratio.70.
However, Ashwagandha may not completely remove the venom toxicity, but it can reduce the venom in animal studies.
Ashwagandha Uses for Cholesterol
Another use of Ashwagandha is for regulating cholesterol levels. It helps to lower VLDL, LDL, and triglyceride and promote HDL slightly. The antioxidants of Ashwagandha helps to reduce free radicals and remove the artery plaque.
Ashwagandha also helps the liver to prevent oxidative damage and reduce inflammation and improve the symptoms of diabetes dyslipidemia.
Many health factors affect immunity in everyday life and age is one of the intrinsic factors such as inflammation, stress and reduced sleep. Ashwagandha supplement consumption helps to boost your immunity and stamina in a significant way. It also improves immune cells which fight infection.
Side effects of Ashwagandha
There are some health conditions when Ashwagandha may affect negatively, so it is important to talk to an ayurvedic expert.
Ashwagandha is considered as a good healing herb, but it didn’t use for the long term which can create side effects. You cannot take it more than small to medium portion.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Avoid using Ashwagandha during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is considered to be unsafe while you are pregnant. According to some evidence, Ashwagandha causes to affect early pregnancy and result in miscarriage.
People with diabetes should be careful because Ashwagandha causes to affect blood sugar levels and interact with diabetes medication. If you have diabetes, then have a check-up and monitor your blood sugar levels.
Low or High blood pressure
Ashwagandha may affect blood pressure levels. If people with low blood pressure consume Ashwagandha, it may again reduce the blood pressure, or it can interfere with high blood pressure medications. Therefore, people with abnormal blood pressure may require to take Ashwagandha under the guidance of an ayurvedic expert.
If you are suffering from stomach ulcers, then Ashwagandha may affect and irritate your gastrointestinal tract.
Ashwagandha consumption can increase your body temperature, and cause fever and it will remain for at least two weeks. The body temperature should get back to normal in a few days if not then, discuss your doctor.
There are autoimmune diseases such as sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions which will occur with multiple diseases and taking Ashwagandha at this condition may cause your immune system to become more active. It is best to avoid Ashwagandha in autoimmune disease.
If you are taking Ashwagandha for certain reasons and you need to have any surgery, then you should avoid Ashwagandha consumption before two weeks of your surgery. Because doctors believe that Ashwagandha will interfere with anesthesia and other medications while doing surgery and after surgery recovery.
In some cases, Ashwagandha causes to grow the thyroid hormones levels. You need to have a check-up and take Ashwagandha under ayurvedic expert who knows about your health conditions and other treatments.
According to some research, Ashwagandha can cause to have a side effect on your liver health damage its functions.
Ashwagandha cause Drowsiness
If you are taking sedative medications with Ashwagandha, then it may cause you to side effect because it contains relaxing properties that create drowsiness. Avoid using herbs in conjunction with different medication such as zolpidem, lorazepam or alprazolam.
More consumption of Ashwagandha can cause dry mouth in some people. Though studies have not found, it is important to take caution and talk to your doctor.
An erectile dysfunction side effect
According to the research of the University of Ruhuna, Ashwagandha root extract affects the male erectile dysfunction and reduce male sexual performance. Even the Ashwagandha helps in Andropause still, this side effect needs to watch.
According to some sources Ashwagandha has the side effect of bleeding. It happens in people with a bleeding disorder or having surgery, and they should avoid this herb.
What are the Interactions of Ashwagandha?
Be careful with this combination
Medications which reduce the immune system such as Immunosuppressants can cause to interact with Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha can boost the immunes system. Taking ashwagandha with medications cause to reduce the immune system performance and lessen the effectiveness of the medication.
There is medication which reduces the immune system include
- Azathioprine (Imuran)
- Basiliximab (Simulect)
- Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
- Daclizumab (Zenapax)
- Muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3)
- Mycophenolate (CellCept)
- Tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf)
- Sirolimus (Rapamune)
- prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone)
- Corticosteroids (glucocorticoids)
Be watchful with this combination
Thyroid hormone can interact with Ashwagandha. Generally, the human body produces thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha consumption with a thyroid hormone pill to cause to produce more thyroid hormones and increase the thyroid hormone side effect.
The proper dose of Ashwagandha depends on different factors such as age, health, and other conditions. Scientific studies don’t have more information about the exact dose of Ashwagandha. All-natural herbs are strong, and they should be taken under the guidance of Ayurveda expert. Make sure to follow the appropriate instructions for safety purpose and consult your doctor before using it.
Ashwagandha is not safe for pregnancy and high blood pressure. Keep the Ashwagandha products like pills, powder or liquid out of children reach.
In case of taking an overdose, take medical help or check with Poison-Control-Center quickly.
It is important to consume Ashwagandha in the right dosage. You need to follow a strict medical prescription to prevent risky reactions. Here is the essential precaution while taking Ashwagandha.
Take Ashwagandha root extracts in the form of supplement because it is non-toxic as compare to Withaferin – an anti-cancer molecule.
It is recommended to consume Ashwagandha with your food especially breakfast and a full glass of water.
Ashwagandha can interact with certain drugs, and medication, you should talk to your doctor or read the information before consuming it.
The people who experience stomach upset and diarrhea after Ashwagandha should take it in the capsule form with a meal.
After reading this article, you found that Ashwagandha is an amazing herb with many health benefits. If your health doesn’t suit with Ashwagandha, then within two weeks you will get the side effects which you should care. If you have any other medical condition, then ask your doctor to avoid risk.