What is Ashwagandha: Health advantages, Side effects, and How to Use It
As more and more people become interested in holistic health, they are looking for natural remedies to supplement their lives. Ashwagandha is one such remedy that has a variety of potential health benefits. It is important to be aware of the side effects of this herb before you start using it and to know how to use it safely and effectively. Here's what you need to know about ashwagandha!
What is Ashwagandha and where does it come from
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The name Ashwagandha comes from the Sanskrit words "ashva," meaning horse, and "gandha," meaning smell. This is because the root of the plant smells like a horse.
Ashwagandha is a member of the nightshade family, which includes other plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. The scientific name for ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. It is also sometimes called winter cherry or Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha is native to India, Africa, and the Middle East. It grows best in dry climates and is often found in the desert.
How does Ashwagandha work?
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, which means that it helps the body to cope with stress. It does this by reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. When cortisol levels are too high, it can lead to a variety of health problems such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain. Ashwagandha also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This means that it can help to protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation in the body.
What are the health benefits of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is most commonly used as an "adaptogen." This means that it helps the body to cope with stress. Ashwagandha has been shown to help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It can also help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. In one study, ashwagandha was more effective than placebo in reducing anxiety and improving quality of life.
Other potential health benefits of ashwagandha include:
1. Boosting immunity
Ashwagandha can help boost immunity by increasing the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are the body's first line of defense against infection. It increases the body's first line of defense, white blood cells, according to clinical studies. This plant has been extensively studied for its ability to boost immunity, combating both bacterial and viral illnesses.
2. Reducing inflammation
Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
While inflammation is a natural response to infection or stress, chronic inflammation is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases.
3. Improving heart health
Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.
Ashwagandha root extract has been shown to improve a person's cardiorespiratory endurance, which may help to protect against heart disease. However, further study is required.
4. Enhancing brain function
Ashwagandha may help to enhance brain function by improving memory and concentration. It may also protect brain cells from damage.
The conclusions of this study are consistent with ongoing research into the herb's ability to cure a wider range of cognitive diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's, and Alzheimer's disease. Ashwagandha may also help those suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The herb also contains high amounts of several antioxidants that help your cells avoid damage caused by aging, pollution, and other factors. These antioxidants have been discovered to aid in the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.
5. Helping with weight loss
Ashwagandha may help to boost metabolism and promote weight loss by increasing thermogenesis (the production of heat in the body). It helps in building muscle mass and any weight-reduction plan demands a lot of muscle mass. Because it raises your metabolism, muscular bulk is necessary for any weight loss program.
6 . Lowering blood sugar levels
Ashwagandha can help to lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Its root powder has been shown to help lower blood glucose in humans with diabetes. While another study claims that taking ashwagandha can aid in the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels in people suffering from stress-related health problems.
7. Reducing symptoms of arthritis
Ashwagandha may help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. It may function as a pain-relieving agent by preventing pain signals from traveling along with the central nervous system. It may also have anti-inflammatory effects. As a result, certain research has indicated that it is useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis. A study published in 2015 including 125 individuals with joint discomfort found that ashwagandha has promise as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis.
8. Improving sleep quality
Ashwagandha may help to improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Preliminary studies suggest that ashwagandha may help people fall asleep quicker, sleep for a longer period of time, and have better sleep quality. Participants in one actigraphy-based study described their sleep as having improved by 72% after taking ashwagandha for six weeks.
9. Reducing cholesterol levels
Ashwagandha may help to lower cholesterol levels by reducing the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol. It has also been shown to lower triglyceride levels in animal studies, which increases the risk of heart problems.
10. Reducing symptoms of stress
Ashwagandha can help to reduce symptoms of stress by lowering cortisol levels in the body.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that activates your fight-or-flight response. Stress levels that are too high and sustained have harmful health consequences, including decreased immunity, heart disease, and neurological disorders.
11. Assist in promoting fertility
Ashwagandha may help to promote fertility by improving sperm quality and increasing testosterone levels, according to studies. In men with low sperm cell counts, taking 675 mg of ashwagandha root extract per day for three months improved fertility, according to one study.
12. Helping to prevent cancer
Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may help to prevent cancer by reducing the growth of cancer cells and inducing cell death.
A similar 2011 study also mentions a few promising research that found that ashwagandha might be able to arrest cell development in certain malignancies. This includes reducing lung tumor development in animals.
13. Improve mood
In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is best known for its ability to improve mood. Its capacity to cure clinical depression has been proved through scientific research. Its effects appear similar to those of common antidepressant medications, according to studies.
How to take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is available in capsules, powders, and tinctures. It can also be taken as tea. The recommended dose of ashwagandha depends on what you are taking it for. For stress relief, a dose of 300-500 mg per day is typically recommended. To boost immunity, a dose of 600 mg per day has been used in studies.
What are the side effects of Ashwagandha?
Most people can take ashwagandha safely with no side effects. While ashwagandha is generally safe, it can cause some side effects. These include:
1. Stomach upset
6. Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid ashwagandha. If you have any medical conditions or take other medications.
FAQs about Ashwagandha
Here are some commonly asked questions about ashwagandha:
1. Is ashwagandha safe?
Yes, ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people. However, it can cause upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting in some people. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid ashwagandha. If you have any medical conditions or take other medications, please speak to your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
2. What are the benefits of taking ashwagandha?
The potential benefits of ashwagandha include reducing stress, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, lowering blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol, protecting brain health, and fighting cancer cells.
3. What does ashwagandha taste like?
Ashwagandha has a bitter taste. Capsules or tablets may be easier to take if the taste is an issue.
4. How do I take ashwagandha?
You can buy ashwagandha in a variety of forms, including capsules, powder, and tea. The recommended dosage depends on the form you are using and your age and health status. It is always best to start with a lower dose and increase gradually as needed. Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people when taken in small doses for short periods.
5. Can I take ashwagandha if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid ashwagandha.
6. Are there any side effects of taking ashwagandha?
Most people can take ashwagandha safely with no side effects. However, some people may experience upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. If you have any medical conditions or take other medications, please speak to your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
7. Does ashwagandha interact with any medications?
If you have any medical conditions or take other medications, please speak to your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
8. How long does it take for ashwagandha to work?
The effects of ashwagandha may not be immediate. It may take several weeks to notice a difference.
9. Is ashwagandha habit-forming?
No, ashwagandha is not habit-forming. It is safe to take long-term.
10. Where can I buy ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is available at most health food stores and online retailers.
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