Ashwagandha – Health Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects
A name that roughly translated to mean “horse odor” in Sanskrit language, Ashwagandha is a herb that has earned its place in one of the most effective remedies for several health problems known to man.
The root of this evergreen plant is the part that has the main medicinal utility in Ayurveda.
Also called Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry, ashwagandha is a short, small plant that has velvety leaves accompanied by bell-shaped flowers and orange berries that resemble tomatoes.
The root is a powerful medicine that is recommended by people all around the world as it treats anxiety and problems like:
Ashwagandha is native to India, the Middle East and North America, the Ayurvedic herb has been in the list of the most important herbs for medicinal practitioners for more than 3000 years.
It is called a Rasayana, which means it aids overall well-being, youth, physical and mental health in humans. It also has shown positive results in treating animals.
Today, you will find the ashwagandha root easily available at any ayurvedic store or in the health and nutrition supplement department at chain stores in one form or another.
The herb comes under the category of adaptogens, which means it completes three checkboxes:
It is non-lethal to health, benefits a person’s overall health and helps to reduce and regulate stress in the body.
This terminology was coined by N.V Lazarez, a Russian scientist who made it his life’s mission to study plants that helped humans cope with stress.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
The health benefits of ashwagandha are aplenty and aid a human to live their life in the healthiest condition.
Here are a few diseases and disorders that this magical root helps to overcome.
Helps To Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety may be of varying levels in different peoples, but each human has come across this troubling feeling at least once in their life.
For people with chronic and prolonged anxiety, ashwagandha is nothing less than a miracle.
By reducing the cortisol levels in the body, it reduces the stress response and other by-products of anxiety such as excessive sweating, tremors, rapid breathing, exhaustion, insomnia and more.
Aids Thyroid Function
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. An overactive or underactive thyroid will lead to problems like extreme weight gain or loss, hair fall and brain fog.
Such patients are recommended to use ashwagandha as alternate medicine to help regulate the gland’s hormone production.
Ashwagandha is said to provide relief from the symptoms of depression and have a positive effect on mood swings that come with it.
Alleviates Cognitive Symptoms Of Alzheimer’s
Even though Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease, the herb helps the patients to stay grounded by relieving the cognitive symptoms like memory loss, lack of focus or getting overwhelmed by sensory overload.
Ashwagandha promotes focus, a longer attention span and calm in Alzheimer’s patients.
Highly stressed women struggle to get pregnant which creates more mental health disorders in them.
Ashwagandha cuts the spiral and helps them feel relaxed by supporting the endocrine system so that the body can feel safe enough to conceive.
Helps With Arthritis
Since this is a chronic disease, the pain is endless. Ashwagandha shows promising results when it comes to relaxing muscle function and alleviating pain in the patients.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Ashwagandha is good news for diabetics, especially Type-2 diabetics. Patients with insulin sensitivity can resort to this herb as it significantly reduces the blood sugar in the body.
It is also used in small doses as a preventive measure for the early onset of diabetes.
Greater Immunity And Stamina
The root is known to help a person transition through ages gracefully in good health.
It strengthens immunity and provides greater stamina to battle seasonal flu, common cold, fatigue, and others.
Ashwagandha keeps your heart healthy by tackling problems like high blood-pressure, cholesterol levels, palpitations, and chest pain.
Uses of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is taken in many forms to reap its health benefits. Most Indians use this herb in their tea to have a small dose every day, especially during the winters.
You will find ashwagandha in powdered form in case you wish to create an ayurvedic mix along with other herbs.
Else, the market today has several ashwagandha supplements with pure extracts to help you feel the long-term benefits of this herb.
The dosage lies somewhere between 450 milligrams to 2 grams, depending on your condition.
Hence it is advised to visit an Ayurvedic and alternative medicine expert to know what quantity would help you the most.
Side-Effects of Ashwagandha
Though the ashwagandha root is an extremely potent herb, there are conditions that do not compliment the use of this as medicine for a few people.
If you have the following conditions, avoid taking the supplements:
Low blood sugar
Pregnancy – Causes early delivery or premature birth.
In a few cases, some side-effects were also noticed. These may look like:
However, these are experienced in very mild to moderate levels.
If you find that using ashwagandha supplements cause you discomfort, you can discontinue its use till you consult a medical health practitioner to know that these symptoms aren’t caused due to some other problem.
Ayurveda has a range of potent cures for a huge range of diseases and disorders that a person may go through.
One of the biggest contributions of Ayurveda to mankind is how it promotes a healthy way to age by keeping the overall vitality of humans at its peak. One such revered herb in the books of Ayurveda is ashwagandha, which is getting the limelight it deserves for its healing properties.