Ayurvedic herbs are the nature’s kind gift to us. We are using many Ayurvedic herbs from the ancient times and few of these herbs are still work as magic for us. Ashwagandha herb is one of them.
What is Ashwagandha?
The term ‘Ashwagandha’ is a Sanskrit word which means ‘smell of a horse’. This herb is called ‘Ashwagandha’ because the smell of its roots is similar to the smell of a horse.
Ashwagandha is a very popular herb not only in India but in the western world too. It is also known as ‘Indian ginseng’ and ‘winter cherry’. Ashwagandha is a short shrub and is cultivated in drier regions of India, Nepal, China, and Yemen. The extract of Ashwagandha is taken from its root, berry, and leaves. Its leaves and fruit have therapeutic properties but its root is the one that is mostly used. Ashwagandha root extract is used to make ashwagandha pills, capsules, and ashwagandha powder.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a wonderful medicinal herb with lots of benefits. It is believed that the Ashwagandha herb has been used for over 3000 years to cure many stress-related problems. According to Ayurveda, ashwagandha has adaptogenic benefits that modulate the response of our body towards the changing environment, stress and low immunity. This herb has endless benefits. Here are a few of the many health benefits of ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha in Stress
In today’s life, stress and anxiety are becoming more frequently used words and feelings. In Ayurveda, it has been believed that ashwagandha is very beneficial in the case of stress and anxiety. Not only Ayurveda but different researches have also reported that ashwagandha regulates chemical signaling in the nervous system which blocks the pathway of stress. Many studies and experiments have proved Ashwagandha as a great medicine to reduce stress and anxiety. Its stress fighting ability also improves memory, so Ashwagandha herb is good to improve the memory as well.
Ashwagandha in Joint Pains
The paste of leaves of ashwagandha helps in healing the joint pains. 42 patients suffering from joint pains have taken part in a study. They took a particular dose of Ashwagandha and felt that after the regular use of Ashwagandha, their pain has reduced.
Ashwagandha in High Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Ashwagandha root extract is very helpful in reducing cholesterol. In one study, this fact has been revealed that Ashwagandha can lower the bad cholesterol without any side effect. In one experiment on rats, it has been found that ashwagandha has lowered their cholesterol by 53%. By reducing the high cholesterol, ashwagandha also helps in lowering the risk of heart attack.
Ashwagandha in Diabetes
Ashwagandha, with a blend of other herbs, can also help to reduce the type 2 diabetes. Ashwagandha herb is very effective in preventing and lowering the risk of diabetes. In a study on animals, it has been proved that Ashwagandha keeps up insulin production.
Ashwagandha in Cancer
Ashwagandha reduces the side effects of chemotherapy. It also makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation. A study claims that Ashwagandha kills the human cancer cells.
Ashwagandha in Sex
Ashwagandha is a strong medicine to improve the sex life. The name of Ashwagandha herb is mentioned in the Kama Sutra as a potent sexual stimulant. It has different benefits for men and women.
Ashwagandha in Aging
Ashwagandha is also an anti-aging herb. Use of ashwagandha helps in rapid cell regeneration, which delays the sign of aging. It makes the skin smooth and wrinkle-free.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Men
- Lower Stress
Adrenal glands are responsible for our reactions during stress and our stress feeling. Whenever we face a rough day at the office or home or an unfavorable argument, our adrenal gland produces a hormone called cortisol and we feel stressed. Ashwagandha strengthens the adrenal glands and decreases the amount of cortisol, and thus is helpful in reducing the anxiety and stress level.
- Better Sex Drive
Ashwagandha root extract is able to stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. This production causes a dilatation of the blood vessel. This dilatation carries the blood to the genitals and that increase sexual desire. When you feel stressed, it can have a lot of other negative effects on your body including low sex drive. You need to know that high blood pressure is one of the main reasons for impotence and erectile dysfunction. When the blood is not able to circulate freely through the shaft, the men do not get a proper erection. Ashwagandha helps in normalizing the cortisol and blood pressure level and thus improves men’s sex drive and erection.
- Higher Testosterone
A lot of studies have proved that after the age of 30, the testosterone levels in men decrease as rapid as 0.4 to 2% every year and the percentage keeps on increasing with age. With the loss of testosterone in the body, men begin to lose hair, muscle mass and also the erection. In some men, the stress-reducing effects of ashwagandha may have a positive and indirect effect on testosterone levels.
- Increase in Sperm Count
Several studies have found that ashwagandha is helpful in increasing libido in men. With an increased libido, there will be increased sperm count. Ashwagandha has been proved to be one of the best remedies to improve libido in men.
- Increase Endurance
According to a study, when 2 groups, one using ashwagandha and one not using it, were asked to do some physical activity, the ashwagandha users demonstrated almost double the endurance than the group that was not using ashwagandha. The anti-inflammatory and anti-stressors properties of ashwagandha, make it the perfect herb to enhance sports performance.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
- Promotes Graceful Aging
Stress dramatically affects aging both physically and emotionally. Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, can aid in muscle loss, weakness, and wrinkles. As we said earlier, ashwagandha improves your mood and possibly reduce the cortisol production.
- Menopausal Support
Ashwagandha gives menopausal support to women. It reduces the symptoms of anxiety and mood swings at the time of menopause. Ashwagandha encourages hormonal balance.
- Sexual Potency
Like men, it also helps women to increase their sexual desires. Ashwagandha is even mentioned in the Kama Sutra, one of the oldest texts on human sexuality, as an effective sexual stimulant. A lot of research shows that the ashwagandha herb improves sexual health by increasing blood flow and reducing body tension. By taking the herb, women experience an increase in sexual desire and satisfaction.
One of the many benefits of ashwagandha in women is improved energy levels. Many women accept that after taking this herb they feel more energetic throughout the day. A recent study also reported that the herb is beneficial in improving energy while reducing stress-related disorders.
- Mood Booster
Ashwagandha being able to reduce stress-related hormone is a well-known mood-boosting herb. It helps in fighting mood swings and imbalance in women.
Ashwagandha also improves the fertility capacity of women. Stress, illness, and hormone imbalance are the few of the reasons for infertility in women. The herbs reduce stress, built stronger immunity and balance hormones and by doing this, ashwagandha improves the fertility in women.
There are a lot of factors that are a threat to female reproductivity health Stress, like illness, hormone imbalance, and nutrient deficiencies. These issues make it difficult for a woman to conceive. Helping in treating these issues, ashwagandha also supports thyroid function. Though more research is required to verify whether ashwagandha is or not effective for helping fight infertility in women.
How to Take Ashwagandha?
Now, we know that Ashwagandha has several beneficial qualities, because of this, many of us want to use Ashwagandha to boost our health. Before including Ashwagandha or any other herbal supplement in your routine life, consult your doctor first and follow the doctor’s instructions.
Here we will tell you about a few ways of consuming Ashwagandha. Although Ashwagandha is really beneficial for us, it’s not easy to consume Ashwagandha because of its bitter taste. To sort this problem out, many pharmaceutical companies have launched Ashwagandha pills. If you want to consume Ashwagandha in churn (powder) form then you can roast it in desi ghee aka clarified butter and mix a tablespoon of date sugar. You can have it either in the morning before breakfast or in the night before going to bed.
Is Ashwagandha Safe?
Ashwagandha is pretty much safe for a short-term use when taken orally. Safety of long-term use of ashwagandha is still not known. Exceeding dose of Ashwagandha can be harmful. Ashwagandha herb has no side effects but pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take it. People having the autoimmune disease should not take it. If you are taking some other kind of medicines, then do not take ashwagandha without doctor’s suggestion. Food and drug association of US has approved the use of Ashwagandha in many drugs and in India has been used since ancient times.
Ashwagandha can do miracles for our body but you should not consume it on your own. This article is not written by any medical practitioner but proper research has been done before writing the post. If you want to include Ashwagandha in your daily regime, do read more and also consult your doctor about it.
Nancy Maheshwari is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. In addition to developing blog content, she maintains her own blog bingeontales.com that covers a wide range of topics. She has an obsession with trying on different food, learning DIYs and photography and of course watching animated movies too.