For more than 5000 years, Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurveda to treat various health conditions and I want you to discover the benefits of this powerful Ayurvedic herb.
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When I get bouts of insomnia, Ashwagandha is my go-to Ayurvedic herb to help me sleep like a breeze.
Ashwagandha also known as Withania somnifera and also referred to as the Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng, is popularly found in the dry regions of India, China, Nepal, Middle East and North Africa. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogenic herb due to its ability to help the body manage stress. Learn more about adaptogenic herbs here.
For example, it can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has become a popular supplement due to its many health benefits.
The name Ashwagandha derives from to the equine smell of the root (“ashwa” meaning horse) and the horse-like strength that consuming it allegedly provides.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
1. Known to reduce blood sugar levels
There have been studies suggesting that Ashwagandha can reduce blood sugar levels in both normal people and those with diabetes.
2. May help fight cancer
Ashwagandha inhibits cancer cells and studies have shown that the root and leaf extracts contain components that are helpful in preventing cancer, boosting the effectiveness of cancer therapies as well as reducing the side effects of radiation and cancer treatments.
3. May reduce symptoms of depression
A few studies conducted have shown its abilities to cure depression. It is a natural stress reliever that helps increase the mood thus diminishing the symptoms of depression.
4. Boosts testosterone and increases fertility in men and women
Ashwagandha offers many health benefits for both women and men. Taking the supplements may increase libdo, improve testosterone levels, help with erectile dysfunction and improve the overall reproductive health. In women, taking Ashwagandha contributes to an increased sexual desire and satisfaction.
5. Known to reduce stress and anxiety
This powerful Ayurvedic herb has been used for many years to relieve stress, increase energy levels and boost concentration. A daily dosage lowers cortisol levels. No doubt, it is considered as a great alternative to allopathic anxiety drugs, which most often leave patients with considerable side-effects.
6. Helps to balance menopausal hormones in women
Ashwagandha Root is a good natural supplement for women for women suffering from hormonal imbalance during menopause or menstruation cycles. It has a natural way of helping your body maintain and balance hormones without the side effects of many pharmaceutical drugs.
7. Supports thyroid function
Medical experts believe that Ashwagandha root has special components that increase the liver’s glucose-6-phosphatase thereby, boosting thyroid function, the organ responsible for regulating hormones.
8. Combats neurodegenerative diseases
The active ingredient in Ashwagandha is a compound called Withanamides. These compounds have protective effects against certain plaques in Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies conducted on mice showed that Ashwagandha extracts have shown ameliorative effects against Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. 1
9. May reduce inflammation
Ashwagandha has been proven to reduce inflammation and pain as well as provide significant relief to patients suffering from Arthritis. According to researchers, Ashwagandha contains steroidal lactones, which are often present in natural essential oils and these Steroidal lactones have anti-inflammatory properties making Ashwagandha a potential alternative treatment for reducing pain and inflammation (x).
10. Can prevent hair loss
Since Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, it helps in preventing stress-related hair loss. Many hair supplements products nowadays contain Ashwagandha in the formulation. However, studies on this claim have not been confirmed.
But if you are experiencing hair thinning, applying Ashwagandha paste on the thinning areas of your hair, can revert hair loss, strengthen the hair and alleviate scalp irritation.
How to take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is available in various formulations:
- Root Powder
It can be mixed into different types of tea, smoothies, salads or drinks. It is best to take Ashwagandha powder before bed with milk, ghee or warm water and to limit the intake of Ashwagandha to 3-5 g per day.
How I use Ashwagandha to prevent sleepless night and relieve stress
I have been dealing with insomnia lately and adding Ashwagandha to my diet is very helpful in relieving insomnia. I prefer to use the Ashwagandha in a powder form to get the most benefit out of it and ensure that it is 100 % organic with no added synthetic ingredients. I make a good cup of Ashwagandha tea with my favorite tea mixed with one teaspoon of this Ashwagandha root powder.
Ashwagandha powder has a bitter taste which can be difficult for some people to swallow. You can try these Ashwagandha capsules instead.
Before you take Ashwagandha
Talk to your doctor especially if you are taking any medications as it can interfere with other drugs.
It may not be safe for pregnant women as it may induce abortion.
Ashwagandha should not be taken continuously for a long period of time. It is recommended to limit the intake for 8-10 weeks and take a break.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical or healthcare provider before using Ashwagandha or any other Ayurvedic treatment, or if you have a known medical condition and /or if you are pregnant or nursing.
Now that you have learned the benefits of this power-packed Ayurvedic herb, it is time to include into your diet/life. Subscribe to receive tips, recipes and other goodies.