Ashwagandha, one of the most prominent herbs/spice used in Ayurveda is famous for its ability to fight diseases like blood pressure, stress, arthritis, insomnia and severe conditions like bronchitis, tuberculosis, and liver problems. Not to forget that Ashwagandha benefits are endless.
In this article, we will take you through all the Ashwagandha benefits. But before that let’s know about Ashwagandha herb.
The Scientific name for Ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. It is a plant of the nightshade family.
It is also known as-
- Indian ginseng
- Poison gooseberry
- Winter cherry
The name of the plant Ashwagandha is derived from the Sanskrit language. It can be broken down into two words – Ashva, meaning horse, and Gandha, meaning smell. It is believed that the root of Ashwagandha plant has a strong horse-like smell.
Where is Ashwagandha Cultivated?
Ashwagandha is cultivated in the drier regions of India. It is also found in China, Nepal and Yemen. This herb/spice needs dry, stony soil for its growth. It is a tender and short shrub, generally 35 cm to 75 cm long.
The leaves of this shrub are elliptic and dull green. The flowers are bell-shaped and green in colour, while the ripe fruit is orangish-red in shade.
Now let us move to Ashwagandha Benefits:
The roots of Ashwagandha are used for the treatment of following the diseases:
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Skin Conditions
- Nervous Breakdowns
- Snake Bites
- Memory Loss
Let us understand Ashwagandha Benefits in Detail:
1. Treats skin issues
Ashwagandha helps in stimulating DHEA, which in turn helps in producing testosterone and estrogen, thereby increasing the production of natural oils in the skin. That’s not all.
Ashwagandha also increases the production of proteins and vital compounds like hyaluronan that helps in rehydrating your skin and improving the elasticity of your skin.
People also use Ashwagandha with lemon and dried ginger for glowing skin.
2. Improving hair quality
Ashwagandha helps in improving the circulation in the scalp and stimulates the process of melanin production.
Melanin is a pigment that gives the colour to your hair and thus use of Ashwagandha delays greying of hair.
Another Ashwagandha benefit on hair is that it helps you to get rid of dandruff. What’s more, it also helps in the problem of hair fall.
3. Improves Rheumatoid arthritis
If Ashwagandha power is taken for a period of 3 and then sidh makardhwaj is taken after that for 4 weeks, there is an improvement in Rheumatoid arthritis.
This has been proven in early research, though Ashwagandha alone has an impact is still not clear.
4. Improve the Health of the Heart
Ashwagandha helps in decreasing the levels of triglyceride and cholesterol in the body and hence reduces the risk of heart diseases. Studies on rat showed that Ashwagandha reduced triglycerides by approx. 45% and cholesterol by nearly 53%.
5. Helps people with Diabetes
Researches have been conducted, and there are pieces of evidence that Ashwagandha helps in reducing blood sugar levels in diabetic people.
A four-week study was conducted and it was proved that people who had schizophrenia and were given Ashwagandha saw an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL. On the other hand, people who got placebo saw a decrease of 4.5 mg/dL.
6. Helps people who undergo chemotherapy
Some early research show that consuming a particular extract of ashwagandha 2,000 mg (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) may help in decreasing the feelings of tiredness in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
7. Reduce Anxiety and stress
One of the best Ashwagandha benefits is that it reduces stress and anxiety. A study was conducted in the year 2009 and it was published in PLOS One which stated that ashwagandha had the comparable effect with medicines like imipramine and lorazepam that too without any side effects.
8. Improves sexual function and interest
If Ashwagandha is taken for eight weeks daily together with counselling sessions, it increases interest in sex, states early research. It is also used to boost testosterone levels.
As we discuss more and more about Ashwagandha, we have a large number of questions that come to our mind. Here are a few questions that we have compiled for you to help you clear your doubts and queries related to Ashwagandha.
When should Ashwagandha be taken?
If you have insomnia, it is advisable to take Ashwagandha at night along with warm milk and honey.
If you want to take two doses every day, then you may consider taking one dose in the morning and the other one during late evening to get maximum Ashwagandha benefits.
What dose of Ashwagandha should be taken?
No standard dose of Ashwagandha has been prescribed. Dose may vary from 1 gm to 6 gms. for some people. While some others mix around 3 grams of Ashwagandha powder in warm milk.
One should not take more than 3 – 4 capsules in a day or 2 cups of liquid in a day.
How to Ashwagandha be taken as a part of our Daily Diet
In India, generally Ashwagandha is taken as a fine powder that can be mixed in honey or ghee. However, in western countries, people use Ashwagandha in the form of capsule.
Where can I purchase Ashwagandha Powder?
Ashwagandha is available on top brand sites from where you can get genuine and high-quality Ashwagandha powder. Here are few stores that we find good:
Side Effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is safe if it is consumed as per recommended doses and that too for a short period of time. If Ashwagandha is consumed for a long period, it may have side effect that includes the following:
- Upset stomach
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Ulcer and rashes on skin
Apart from these, Ashwagandha may also react with drugs like sedatives, Antihypertensive drugs, Thyroid medicines and Immunosuppressants.
Also, it is said that Ashwagandha is not recommended to pregnant ladies or breastfeeding mothers. It also needs to be used carefully by people who suffer from stomach ulcers or liver problems.
Even those who have to undergo surgery must use Ashwagandha with caution. Thus, it is advised to consult a doctor before taking Ashwagandha for any of your medical problems.