This is an extensively detailed page with all the information about ASHWAGANDHA. By the time you finish reading this post you will know exactly what are the health benefits you are going to get with this amazing herb why you should add ashwagandha powder to your must have health supplements list. So grab a cub of coffee and read on.
What is Ashwagandha?
- Ashwagandha is one of the most widely used herbs in Ayurveda.
- It has been around for generations as a medical herb.
- Their central breeding lands are primarily in India, Africa and some parts of Middle East.
- The red-orange fruit along with roots are still going strong even after a hundred years.
What are the other names of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is also known by the name of winter cherry or Indian ginseng. They are most popular as Withania Somnifera in botany. Ashwagandha is a sub-shrub coming from the nightshade (Solanaceae) family and Solanales order.
Why the name Ashwagandha?
The meaning behind the name of Ashwagandha is kind of interesting. The word Ashwagandha comprises of two parts: Ashwa-Gandha. Ashwa basically means horse, and Gandha in a sanskrit word meaning “smell”. So the name indicates the smell of a horse (the smell of roots resembles the smell of a horse). Nevertheless, it’s one of the essential herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3000 years or so!
Phytochemistry of Ashwagandha
Over the many years, researchers conducted scientific studies on it to find out more about the chemical components inside it. According to the latest findings, there are over 47 chemical elements that help in boosting our immune system.
The chemical components include mainly alkaloids such as anferine, isopellertierine. Other parts include steroidal lactones, withanoloides with glucose and even acyl groups. In more details- you will primarily find withaferins, anferine, isopellertierine, sitonidoside XI and X, sitoindoside VII and VIII.
The roots mainly contain withanolides. These components are best known for their medical usefulness. The roots, on the other hand, is full of iron. Withanolides have a characteristic similar to steroids and can be used as a supplement without getting any nasty side effects.
These components were used in many scientific trials to find their usage effects, and you’ll be surprised to know that they happen to show great results with the immune system and cancer prevention.
In alkaloids, Ashwagandha mainly has withanine. Other alkaloids include anaferineandanahydrine, isopelletierine, cuscohygrine, choline,3-a-gloyloxytropane,pseudo-tropine,tropine,pseudo-withanine,withananine,somniferinine,somnine, and somniferine.
Leaves of Ashwagandha mainly contains withanolides – the steroidal lactones.
So, in total, we get 35 different types of withanolides along with 12 alkaloids and few sitoindosides.
Now that you know all about Ashwagandha’s chemical components, it’s time for you to take a closer look at their health benefits. The benefits of Ashwagandha are vast. No wonder it’s getting so popular worldwide!
Here are some of the main health benefits of Ashwagandha:
1. Ashwagandha Helps to Improve Thyroid Functions
Ashwagandha helps to prevent and possibly cure any type of thyroid related problems. People with thyroid issues may benefit by taking ashwagandha powder on a regular basis. Typically Hashimoto disease is one of the acute thyroid related diseases now and Ashwagandha can help to prevent this.
Scientific researchers conducted experiments on 50 participants with a thyroid problem and revealed this sole fact. When they started to use it regularly, their health improved a lot and slowly all their thyroid issues were gone. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is released by the pituitary gland. They include Thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine (T3). Ashwagandha contains Withanolides, a chemical component that increases the overall production of T4 hormones. It stimulates the pituitary gland and increases the overall hormone secretion.
2. Ashwagandha Relieves Adrenal Function Difficulty
Recent studies show that Ashwagandha is able to help with any kind of adrenal failure situation. If you have an adrenal problem, then you would have an unbalanced hormonal secretion leading to loads of problems afterward. The endocrine glans in your adrenal system won’t be able to produce the necessary amount of hormone needed to function properly.
As a result, you will lack adrenaline and cortisol hugely. They can also cause infertility because of the lack of progesterone. The adrenal cortex produces an endogenous androstane steroid known as DHEA-S. The lack of DHEA-S causes all these adrenal issues.
What Ashwagandha does here is that the component Withanolides stimulates the adrenal cortex and improves DHEA-S secretion. The active ingredients that repair the strength of your glands and balances out your hormonal level fast.
3. Ashwagandha Helps in Stress and Anxiety
It’s one of the most recognized Ashwagandha benefits. Anxiety or stress can cause serious harm to one. Not only it disrupts their usual lifestyle, but after some time they even have difficulties functioning correctly.
This stress can lead to high blood pressure which can further cause strokes or heart attacks. Modern medicine will offer you loads of anti-anxiety drugs, but all psychological drugs happen to be full of significant side effects.
On the other hand, Ashwagandha contains Withaferin A, Sitoindosides (VII–X). These ingredients induce a GABA activity in the brain. GABA or Gamma Amino-butyric acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that decreases the level of neural activity and prevents nerve cells from overworking. By doing this, it calms down the nerve system. Thus, reducing stress.
As the components are natural, it will help with anxiety, without any side effects.
It decreases the effects of stress by up to 55%, which is an exceptional score. Psychotherapy will be able to help here too, but they are only able to reduce the problem by 30.5%. However, antidepressants also cause increased appetite, libido problems, insomnia, and drowsiness. Something you will never see in Ashwagandha.
4. Ashwagandha Reduces Depression
As Ashwagandha benefits anxiety issue, it’s also able to help out with depression. It helps to make us more resilient towards stress and which then ends up helping us leave a good life. Stress is another name for depression and as it fuels it.
If the reasons for depression is hormonal, Ashwagandha is able to help you out with that too. As it can already improve hormonal balance, it can also cure depression along with that. The components Sitoindosides (VII–X), and Withaferin A increases the level of Serotonin and Dopamine.
Serotonin and Dopamine increase willpower and enjoyment, which ultimately gets rid of depression.
It was studied on rats, to see any changes in their healthy behaviors. Through despair tests, the rats were forced to show depression behavior. But after using this herb, they showed tremendous improvement.
5. Ashwagandha Helps Keep High Blood Sugar Under Control
More than 29 million people in the USA suffer from this illness. Ashwagandha can benefit diabetic patients too.
But Ashwagandha seems to be able to help out here too. It contains phenolic compounds such as flavonoids. These components can improve the hypoglycemic events and therefore, help produce more insulin.
Another component Withanine also helps out in this case. A case study on rats happens to figure out this benefit. In that study, blood sugar levels of every rat came down to a positive number. However, there hasn’t been any well-defined mechanism analysis to figure out how exactly Ashwagandha does this.
Not saying that it will be a permanent cure, but it will definitely help you to keep this illness at bay. But diabetic patients shouldn’t misuse it in any way, as overdosing can cause the insulin level to be null.
6. Ashwagandha Fights Cancer
Ashwagandha contains anti-cancer ingredients that prevent tumorous cells from growing and even reduces their size in general. Many medical researchers suggested this herb as it can also help prevent cancer cells from growing.
The research concludes that it has the ability to shrink cancer cells, especially in colon, stomach, lung, and breast. These types of cancers are most dangerous, and many people die without a better cure every year.
The researchers’ think that as the herb contains immune system improvement capabilities, it may have boosted the weak immune system and then help it to fight cancer. Other than this, anti-cancer drugs or process comes with loads of after effects. Ashwagandha here on the other side happens to help in dealing with post-chemotherapy.
7. Ashwagandha Helps to improve Memory Functions and Lowers the level of Degeneration
Many facts such as chemical, physical or even emotional problems can cause aging early. This process destroys the brain cells causing memory loss and fatigue.
That being said, Ashwagandha is not only a stress reliever for you. It also has the ability to stop brain cells from degeneration. It happens to improve the neural system, which further helps to heal the overall nerve system.
If you don’t deal with this from the young age, you may have to suffer a great deal when you are old. Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease is few of the names of the product of cell degeneration.
The main reason behind Ashwagandha’s true powers is the antioxidants it contains. Main components such as withanolide D and withaferin A helps to improve the cognitive functions. It has the ability to promote cell healing, reducing beta burden, plaque buildup and many more.
8. Improves the Immune System
As Ashwagandha is able to reduce your stress levels and give a happy, healthy life, you can also count on it for improving your immune system. Reducing inflammation within the body, it can help us to improve our overall immune system.
Different researchers say that Ashwagandha can do it by increasing the level of immunoglobulin. It suppresses the pro-inflammatory cytokines, and by doing so, it is able to give you a life with the anti-inflammatory system.
If you have a weak immune system and want to improve it, then you can always count on it.
9. Ashwagandha Improves Stamina
Ashwagandha happens to make quite a name in curing stamina issues. As you already know, it consists of anti-aging elements, and by doing so, it also improves brain function.
Now, what happened if brain functions get improved? They are able to deal with more and more physical labor than ever. As Ashwagandha has a positive review on this, it would be just the right call for increasing stamina.
If you have a problem concentrating, then it will help out with that too. It will make you more motivated than ever and full of energy.
10. Ashwagandha Increase the Muscle Strength
With all nutritional benefits, Ashwagandha can also help to increase muscle strength. That’s why it can be one useful option for those who are looking for muscle mass training and resistance training. This herb has the power to increase your muscle mass and give you the desired shape you need.
It especially helps if you do it with leg-extension and bench press type of exercise. The best part is that it reduces the level of muscle damage you may have from all those heavyweight liftings.
With this much help, you will be at a peak point every day.
11. Ashwagandha Supports Sexual and Reproductive Health
One of the popular usages of Ashwagandha is to solve sexual problems. Men can have many problems in bed such as low libido, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and many more.
That’s why Ayurvedic medicine recommends this herb as a probable solution. It boosts the testosterone levels and helps you feel all “manly” again. So, after using this, you’ll be able to go for a longer session with 100% satisfaction.
If you have low sperm counts, then this herb can help you increase the overall sperm count and get rid of impotence for good. It’s a hassle-free solution.
Scientific Studies Conducted on Ashwagandha (Withania Sominifera)
Over the years, there have been so many scientific researches conducted on Ashwagandha to find out the secret behind all these benefits. Some of them are given below, why don’t you check them out?
- Thyroid Enhancement and Bipolar Disorder Prevention:
As we mentioned, earlier this herb is able to improve your thyroid problem and can reduce the symptoms to a great extent. To back this up, a research study was published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine^.
According to that paper, many patients with thyroid problems were exposed to Ashwagandha on a daily basis. After eight whole weeks, they saw tremendous improvement in their health. However, the research also concluded that this remarkable herb happened to reduce the Bipolar disorder problem in some of the patients.
However, it also says that it might not be suited for people with a hyperactive thyroid.
- Blood Sugar Level Reduction:
In one of the researches^^ of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Ashwagandha was tested on diabetic rats to see the after results. After a long observation period, the researchers finally concluded that all the rats showed a great deal of improvement in their blood sugar levels and the rats who weren’t diabetic, had a better immune system.
- Immune System Improvement:
This research happened for Journal of Ethnopharmacology^^^. They conducted experiments on rats with the weak immune system to see how the rats reacted to that. To their surprise, they saw an immense level of improvement in blood cells, which made their immune system stronger than ever.
- Memory Loss Reduction:
A 2017 experiment on a human was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements*, which indicated Ashwagandha’s involvement. The herb happens to enhance general memory catching capabilities in humans.
They experimented on 50 adults, giving them 300 milligrams of Ashwagandha every day for eight whole weeks. The results were extraordinary.
How to Use Ashwagandha Powder
Using Ashwagandha on a regular basis is quite easy and hassle-free. Let’s see how you can consume it for a better output.
You have to take the powder daily and with meals always. For best output, don’t use it before meal time. The most common method is to take a teaspoon of the ahwagandha powder, pour it into your mouth and swallow with the help of lukewarm water or milk. Alternatively you could also mix it up with other foods. You can first boil the powder and then mix it up with honey or butter. You can even mix it up with cakes or use it as a spice in typical food items.
Important Note: Please do not try to mix raw ashwagandha powder in water or milk. Many manufacturers and websites advise users to mix it up with water or milk. But be informed that this is not the right method. Ashwagandha or any other herb in its raw form will never dissolve in water or milk. You will end up getting a dirty looking drink with the herbal powder sedimenting at the base of the cup / glass. This will look like mud / slush and you will not be able to drink it properly. So our advise is to not mix it with liquids.
Importance of Ashwagandha in Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine was around for generations. It’s one of the ancient medical healing processes. Even though it was developed in India, it slowly spread its roots all around the globe.
The belief is simple – lead a healthy balanced life for a healthier outcome. You need to control your body, mind, and spirit and keep them together in harmony.
The initial goal was to improve life expectancy, however, for the need of a natural cure Ayurvedic medicines now use herbal products that don’t include any toxic component to harm you. So how does Ashwagandha powder fall into this situation?
Ashwagandha is one of the finest herbs out there with loads of natural agents to help human body heal. The reasons behind the effects remains a mystery. Another factor to use it so much is the availability of it. India is the number one country where ashwagandha plants are grown. Ayurveda being an Indian medicine system will most likely use this so available herb.
Ashwagandha is an essential part of Ayurveda. It’s because the herb happens to cure almost all kind of illness; this medical system deals with. Mixing it with other herbs also gives more boost to the whole system.
Some of the benefits of using ashwagandha churna are given below. Ashwagandha churna helps improve –
- Hair and Skin
- Brain, heart, lungs
- Metabolism and Digestion
- Liver and Blood
- Mind, sleep, and memory
- Muscles, joints, and bones
So why won’t it be one of the important parts of Ayurveda? All the Ayurvedic herbs had their very own characteristics but coupled with Ashwagandha they are more optimized. Another reason is that it has next to zero side effect. So, anyone of different age, health can use it without any worries.
Safety and Precautions Before Using Ashwagandha Powder
Ashwagandha doesn’t seem to have any possible side effects for now. So you can go up to 10 grams per day of raw ashwagandha powder as of now. However, there hasn’t been any studies to see what happens if you go beyond this dosage level.
On the other hand, taking it during pregnancy isn’t ideal as it may cause early delivery. Also, there is a chance of acidity, skin rash, anxiety, and even ulcers if you go beyond the prescribed limit.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are many fake products on the market. Taking counterfeit products won’t do you any good. That’s why always buy Ashwagandha from authentic sites and sources.
What are The Available Usage Forms of Ashwagandha?
You will find Ashwagandha in many forms on the market. The most popular style is the powder, which is also known as “Ashwagandha Churna.” This form is easy to use and the purity of the product can be easily verified by the recognizing the texture and odor of the herb.
You will also get ashwagandha capsules and ashwagandha tablets in the market. This form is also easy to use and help you keep track of how much of it you are taking each day. The down side on the other hand is that you can not check the quality / authenticity of the product in capsule / tablet form. Most manufacturers will add fillers / preservatives / binding agents and other elements to make the capsules and tablets. So our advise is to avoid ashwagandha capsule or tablets if you can.
Before you start to use it, you should always know the dosage limit. If you have an Ayurvedic doctor to consult you, then you should go with the prescribed dose. However, to help you out we are giving you some typical dosage level.
- Powder Form – Take 1-2 tsp.Daily, two times.
- Leaf Extract – A dose of 600-1200 mg is normal.
- Capsule or Tablets – one or two capsules each day, twice.
It’s best to stay within the limit as this much dosage level can already benefit you. So, there is no point in going beyond this limit.
Even after more than 3000 years Ashwagandha still surprises modern medicine. There have been many studies on it over the last decade, but it still needs more closure. To establish its existence in modern medicine, it needs a more solid ground.
However, it already has a lot of proven benefits that you can surely take advantage of. The traditional medical herb is here to help you heal and feel lively more than ever.
Ashwagandha can fight cancer, reduce anxiety and depression, control diabetes, and boost sexual stamina. So, what’s your excuse for not using it?