One of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is known as ‘Indian Ginseng’. The name Ashwagandha means “smell of the horse” in Sanskrit. This herb has a unique smell and enhances strength. Ashwagandha belongs to the Somnifera family of plants.
For thousands of years, people have used Ashwagandha to relieve stress, increase energy levels and improve concentration.
Its botanical name is Withania Somnifera. Other names include “Indian Ginseng” and “Winter cherry”.
Found in India and parts of Africa no part of this shrub goes to waste. Each and every part of this shrub has been used for decades to treat various ailments and conditions.
Ashwagandha can be ingested as teas, powders, tinctures, and supplements or in their raw form.
This powerful herb has several health benefits. We are listing some of them down below.
Ashwagandha Is a powerful Adaptogen:
It is considered a powerful adaptogen. This means it helps your body better manage stress. It is famous for its stress-relieving properties.
Studies show that Ashwagandha benefits sleep quality as well. People taking Ashwagandha supplements have lower levels of anxiety and fatigue.
Stops Cancer cells:
Ashwagandha contains high qualities of Withaferin. It is a compound that causes apoptosis. Apoptosis refers to the “programmed death” in cancer cells. It stops the formation of new cancer cells by disrupting their ability to function.
This powerful herb is beneficial in treating various cancers, ranging from lung and breast to brain and colon. It stops the cancer cells from spreading. This herb is considered safe to use with traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.
Improved Athletic performance:
Research shows that people who take Ashwagandha daily had more speed and strength during exercise. They breathed better taking in more oxygen. VO2 is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense activity. It’s a measurement of heart and lungs fitness.
Having optimum VO2 is important for athletes and non-athletes alike. Low VO2 max is linked with increased mortality risk, while higher VO2 max lowers the risk of heart diseases.
Additionally, ashwagandha increases muscle strength.
Reduces the symptoms of some mental health conditions:
Research shows ashwagandha can slow, stop and reverse certain types of nerve cell damage. Nerve cell damage could lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. Ashwagandha benefits people suffering from schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety. People suffering from chronic depression also benefit from this herb.
Boosts testosterone and increases fertility in men:
Studies show that ashwagandha significantly increases sperm concentration, semen volume, and sperm motility in men with low sperm count.
Men with normal sperm count also found increased sperm concentration and motility. Thus, it increases testosterone and reproductive health.
Lowers blood sugar and fat:
Ashwagandha has a certain compound called withaferin A. This compound has powerful antidiabetic activity. It might stimulate your cells to take in glucose from your bloodstream.
It is also helpful in reducing blood glucose levels and triglycerides.
Improves sexual function in women:
Some clinical studies show that women experiencing sexual dysfunction can benefit from ashwagandha. This magical herb results in significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction. It improved the number of successful sexual encounters.
Sharpens focus and memory:
Ashwagandha may help improve memory, cognition, and the ability to perform motor responses after instructions.
Relatively safe and widely available:
Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people, although its long term effects are not known. It is always better to consult a doctor before including anything in your daily routine. If you’re taking certain medications ashwagandha might interfere with those medicines.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, immunocompromised, or have a thyroid condition then ashwagandha is not for you.
Always check the source of your ashwagandha. Where it is coming from. You should be extra cautious when you purchase supplement capsules. Make sure there are no heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in them. Exposure to these heavy metals could lead to damage to the kidneys, liver, central nervous system, and immune system.
How to take ashwagandha?
The roots and berries of ashwagandha are consumed for their medical properties. Typically, you will find ashwagandha in form of supplement capsules.
You can start by introducing ashwagandha tea into your diet slowly and gradually. If you want to experiment more, add the raw form of ashwagandha or ashwagandha powder directly to your food. You can mix the powder into nut butter, granola, smoothies, or overnight oats. Do not expose it to high heat. Exposing ashwagandha to high heat could cancel out its therapeutic benefits and rather render it carcinogenic.
Discuss with your doctor before including ashwagandha in your daily routine.