Have you ever come across an herb called ashwagandha or explored the ancient Ayurveda medicine?
To have a vivid understanding let us read and explore what is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha also known as Ania somniferous, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, winter cherry is just not an annual evergreen shrub in the Solanaceae or nightshade family that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa but is a traditional shrub used as medicine in ancient Ayurveda. Ashwagandha is associated with several health benefits and contains a chemical that comes to rescue stress. It also helps to calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.
Ashwagandha has been used for ages as an adaptogen that helps to provide relief for several conditions related to stress. Adaptogens function enticingly by helping our bodies resist physical and mental stress. It helps to fight insomnia, aging, anxiety, and many other conditions, however, it still lacks scientific evidence to sustain usage of this shrub. Ashwagandha lacks evidence to provide any help in covid 19.
Some similar name shrubs can confuse you like Physalis and Alkekengi, both are known as winter cherry. Do not confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.
How to Take Ashwagandha?
The dosage of ashwagandha and the way people use it depends on the condition they are hoping to treat. There is no standard dosage based on modern clinical trials.
Different studies have used different dosages. Some research Trusted Source suggests that taking 250–600 mg (about half the weight of a small paper clip) per day can reduce stress. Other studies have used much higher dosages.
Capsule dosages often contain between 250 and 1,500 mg (about half the weight of a penny) of ashwagandha. The herb comes in the form of a capsule, powder, and liquid extract.
In some cases, taking high doses can cause unpleasant side effects. It is best to speak with a healthcare professional about safety and dosage before taking any new herbal supplements, including ashwagandha
Ashwagandha Side Effects
When taken orally: Ashwagandha should be taken in a considerate amount, too much of it can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. On odd occasions, liver problems might occur. Ashwagandha can be used for up to 3 months as long-term safety is still uncertain.
It is not certain whether the application of ashwagandha on the skin is harmful or beneficial and its a significant effect.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the mother needs to be extra careful as anything can be unsuitable for the baby. There is no evidence of ashwagandha being effective on expecting mothers, but chances are it might cause distress for the fetus and premature labor.
Breastfeeding: Avoid the usage of ashwagandha when breastfeeding to be on the safe side as it lacks evidence for the safety of mother’s breastfeeding.
“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: If you are using ashwagandha then there are chances of increase in symptoms of the auto-immune disease as makes the immune system more active. It is best to not use ashwagandha if you are diagnosed with any such conditions.
Surgery: Ashwagandha has the properties to slow down the central nervous system. Surgeons often worry about giving anesthesia during or after the surgery might increase this effect. Avoid usage of ashwagandha 2weeks before your surgery.
Some Proven Effective Facts About Ashwagandha:
1. Is an ancient medicinal herb
Ashwagandha has natural healing properties based on the principles of ancient India as it is considered a prominent herb in Ayurveda. For over 3000 years it is used as an effective method to treat stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.
The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that are native to India and North Africa and the extracts are used in powder or pill form to treat various conditions. It has effective properties due to its high concentration of anolides which is considered to fight inflammation or tumor growth.
2. Can reduce blood sugar levels
Ashwagandha is proven to lower blood sugar levels in both healthy people and people with diabetes if consumed accordingly.
3. Might have anticancer properties
According to many animals and test-tube studies, it is seen that withaferin, a bioactive compound in ashwagandha which is used to induce apoptosis which promotes the death of tumor cells and may be effective against several types of cancer. Although no such proven evidence is found effective on homo sapiens.
4. Can reduce cortisol levels
Ashwagandha can come to rescue chronically stressed individuals as a stress hormone called Cortisol gets released by your adrenal glands in response to stress or when your sugar levels reach the bottom. Some people might think Cortisol is known as a stress hormone given that your adrenal glands release it in response to stress, as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low. This cortisol level becomes quite eminent in some people as it results in high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.
5. May help reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is a great source to reduce stress. Ashwagandha is best known for its ability to reduce stress. In both human and animal studies, it is found that consuming ashwagandha can help in reducing stress and anxiety disorder.
6. May reduce symptoms of depression
The limited research suggests that ashwagandha may help alleviate depression. Some studies have proven it to be effective, however, it still requires some research.
7. Can boost testosterone and increase fertility in men
Ashwagandha supplements may have powerful effects on testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men. Some studies revealed took the herb had increased antioxidant levels in their blood.
8. May increase muscle mass and strength
According to many scientific studies, it has proven effective in improving body composition and increasing strength. A dose of 750–1,250 mg of pulverized ashwagandha root per day gained muscle strength after 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks). It is effective to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and increase strength in men.
9. May reduce inflammation
According to many animal studies, ashwagandha has been shown to increase natural killer cell activity and decrease markers of inflammation. As per some research in humans, an increase in natural killer cells’ activity helps fight infection and keeps you healthy. It is also effective to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
10. May lower cholesterol and triglycerides
Ashwagandha has properties to reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Animal studies suggest that it significantly decreases levels of these blood fats.
11. May improve brain function, including memory
Ashwagandha supplements may improve brain function, memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks. According to test-tube and animal studies if ashwagandha is consumed properly it has the healing power to mitigate memory and brain function problems caused by injury or disease. It is effective in promoting antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.
Despite less research, it is known through our rich Ayurveda medicine tradition how effective ashwagandha is to boost memory.
12. Is safe for most people and widely available
Every medicine should be consumed with the guidance of your specific doctors. Ashwagandha has prominent properties, however, its safety is still uncertain. Standardized root extract is commonly consumed in 450–500-mg capsules once or twice per day. Short-term usage can be practiced, however, long-term usage should be avoided.
Some people who should avoid taking ashwagandha are people diagnosed with autoimmune, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes.
Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should avoid consuming this herbal medicine.
People on thyroid medication should pay extra attention if consuming ashwagandha as it might increase thyroid hormone levels in some people. There are chances of an increase in blood sugar levels. Ashwagandha dosage depends on its kind of supplement. Extracts are proven to be more effective than crude ashwagandha or leaf powder.
Standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450–500-mg capsules once or twice daily.
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