Best Ashwagandha- Ashwagandha is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known for its many health benefits, including its ability to reduce stress, improve energy levels, and boost immunity. This herb is also known to be a powerful adaptogen, helping to regulate hormones and balance the body.
In this blog post, we will be discussing the top health benefits of Ashwagandha, and how it can help to improve your overall health and wellbeing. We will look at the science behind Ashwagandha and how it can benefit your health, as well as how to incorporate it into your routine. Finally, we will discuss potential side effects and precautions, so that you can make sure you use this powerful herb safely and effectively.
What is Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa. It is commonly used for stress. There is little evidence for its use as an “adaptogen.” Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.
Since ashwagandha is traditionally used as an adaptogen, it is used for many conditions related to stress. Adaptogens are believed to help the body resist physical and mental stress. Some of the conditions it is used for include insomnia, aging, anxiety and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to both the herb’s scent and its potential ability to increase strength. Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it’s also known by several other names, including “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry.”
The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and Southeast Asia. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and fertility issues.
Don’t confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry. Also, don’t confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Improves Sexual Function in Women
At least one clinical study indicates ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction. The administration of ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction, as self-reported by the participants. It also significantly improved the number of successful sexual encounters and improved metrics of distress around their sex lives and sexuality.
Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men
Ashwagandha may also provide reproductive benefits for men. Administering ashwagandha to infertile men has shown to improve sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels. Separately, in a stress-related ashwagandha study, researchers found the herb increased testosterone levels in male but not female participants. Another study testing ashwagandha’s effect on muscle strength in men also measured a significant increase in testosterone.
Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress
Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress. It’s classified as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body cope with stress. Ashwagandha help control mediators of stress, including heat shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol, and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1). It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a system in your body that regulates the stress response.
Sharpens Focus and Memory
Sharpens Focus and Memory: Ashwagandha may help improve cognition, memory and the ability to perform motor responses after instruction. Small studies have found that, compared to a placebo, ashwagandha significantly improved participants’ reaction times during cognition and psychomotor tests (which measure the ability to respond to instructions and perform an indicated action).
Ashwagandha may act as a pain reliever, preventing pain signals from traveling along the central nervous system. It may also have some anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, some research has shown it to be effective in treating forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Ashwagandha Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat
Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat: Ashwagandha to be helpful in reducing blood glucose levels and triglycerides (the most common type of fat in the blood). One study likened ashwagandha’s blood sugar-lowering effects to those of medications prescribed for type 2 diabetes.
Boost Heart Health
Some people use ashwagandha to boost their heart health, including: lowering high blood pressure; lowering high cholesterol; easing chest pain; preventing heart disease. However, there is little research to support these benefits.
Taking ashwagandha by mouth seems to improve overall sleep and sleep quality in some people.
Improves Athletic performance
Research has shown that ashwagandha may have beneficial effects on athletic performance and may be a worthwhile supplement for athletes.
Reduces Mental Health Condition
Some evidence suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce symptoms of other mental health conditions, including depression, in certain populations.
Increases Muscle and Strength
Researchers continue to study ashwagandha’s efficacy in improving strength and muscle size. One study found participants experienced increased speed and strength. Another study observed an increase in muscle power, alongside a lower body fat percentage and reduced cholesterol levels when ashwagandha was consumed. Some participants also experienced better sleep, but this study did not compare ashwagandha consumption against a placebo.
How to take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha roots and berries can be consumed for their medical properties, but typically, you find ashwagandha in supplement capsules or in tablet, gummy, powder, tincture and tea form.
Emily Clairmont, a registered dietitian at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont, recommends starting with an ashwagandha tea as a way to introduce the herb into your diet gently and contribute to your hydration as well—a crucial factor to overall health.
If you want to get more creative, add the raw form of ashwagandha or an ashwagandha powder directly to your food. For example, you can mix the powder into nut butters, granola, smoothies or overnight oats. Just don’t expose it to high heat, Clairmont says, which would cancel out the herb’s therapeutic benefits and possibly even render it carcinogenic. Instead, keep it over medium heat or toss it into your food toward the end of your food preparation.
Furthermore, 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 researchTrusted Source suggests that taking 250–600 mg per day can reduce stress. Other studies have used much higher dosages.
Capsule dosages often contain between 250 and 1,500 mg 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.
Is Ashwagandha safe?
Pregnant women should avoid using ashwagandha because it may cause distress for the fetus and premature labor.
Another potential concern for Ayurvedic herbs is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate the manufacturers. This means that they are not held to the same standards as pharmaceutical companies and food producers.
It is possible for herbs to contain contaminants such as heavy metals, or they may not contain the actual herb at all. People should be sure to do some research on the manufacturer before purchasing any product.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Source, some Ayurvedic products may contain lead, mercury, and arsenic in levels above what experts consider to be acceptable for human daily intake.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha
People can usually tolerate ashwagandha in small-to-medium doses. However, there have not been enough long-term studies to fully examine the possible side effects.
Ashwagandha is possibly safe when used for up to 3 months. The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems might occur.
There isn’t enough reliable information to know if ashwagandha is safe or what the side effects might be when applied to the skin.
Ashwagandha may be unsafe if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, immunocompromised, soon undergoing surgery or have a thyroid condition. It’s also worth noting that some people who are allergic to nightshades or have certain grass allergies don’t tolerate ashwagandha well. If any of these situations apply to you, talk to your doctor or an integrative health specialist to determine whether it’s safe for you to take ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is a herbal treatment in Ayurvedic medicine. Some studies suggest that ashwagandha could have a range of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and improving arthritis.
Pregnant women and people with preexisting health conditions should talk to their doctor before using ashwagandha. If a person chooses to use this herb as part of a treatment plan, they should be sure to discuss it with their doctor first.
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