The word Ashwagandha is derived from the Sanskrit words Ashwa (horse) and Gandha (smell). This is because its roots smell like the sweat of a horse.
Ashwagandha helps in the management of stress, anxiety and diabetes due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) and Vata balancing properties. Ashwagandha root powder, when taken with milk, helps in managing male infertility as well as erectile dysfunction. This is due to its aphrodisiac property.
One important precaution with Ashwagandha is that it should be avoided during pregnancy as it might increase uterine contractions.
What are the synonyms of Ashwagandha?
Withania somnifera, Indian Ginseng, Ajagandha, Vajigandha, Winter Cherry, Varahkarni, Asgandha
What is the source of Ashwagandha?
BENEFITS OF ASHWAGANDHA
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Stress?
Ashwagandha may improve the individual’s ability to deal with stress.
Stress increases the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which in turn increases the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. Ashwagandha powder reduces the level of cortisol and helps to reduce stress and stress-related problems.
Stress can usually be attributed to an imbalance of Vata dosha, and often presents with irritability, insomnia, and fear. Taking Ashwagandha powder helps in balancing Vata and thus reduces the symptoms of stress.
1. Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder and boil it in 2 cups of water.
2. Add a pinch of ginger. Boil till it reduces to half.
3. Cool the mixture and add honey to enhance its taste.
4. Drink this tea to relax your mind.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Anxiety?
Ashwagandha may improve the individual’s ability to deal with stress and stress-related problems like anxiety.
Stress increases the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which in turn increases the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. Ashwagandha powder reduces the level of cortisol and helps to reduce stress and its associated problems like anxiety.
According to Ayurveda, anxiety is associated with aggravated Vata dosha, so one must concentrate on pacifying excess Vata in the body. Ashwagandha has the property of balancing Vata dosha and is good for managing anxiety.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Male infertility?
Ashwagandha is a potent aphrodisiac and might help in stress-induced male infertility by improving the level of testosterone. Ashwagandha has antioxidant property and fights against the free radicals. This prevents damage and death of sperm cells leading to better sperm count and quality. Thus Ashwagandha helps to lower the risk of stress-induced male infertility along with enhancing male sexual health.
Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress-induced male infertility by lowering stress. This is due to its Vata balancing property. It also helps to reduce the chance of male infertility by improving sperm quality and quantity. This is because of its Vrishya (aphrodisiac) property.
1. Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder along with ghee, sugar and honey daily for a month once or twice a day to improve sperm quality.
2. Or, mix 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder in a glass of warm milk. Drink this at bedtime.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2)?
Ashwagandha might control blood sugar in diabetic patients by increasing insulin production and improving insulin sensitivity.
Studies state that Ashwagandha makes the cells less resistant to insulin. This improves insulin sensitivity and increases glucose utilization by the cells. Ashwagandha also protects and increases the number of the insulin-producing cells thus increasing insulin secretion. Together, it helps to manage the risk of diabetes[12-14].
1. Take 1 glass of milk and 1/2 a glass of water in a pan and bring it to boil.
2. Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder and boil for another 5 minutes.
3. Add crushed almonds and walnut (around 2 teaspoons) to the mixture.
4. Drink this mixture to manage blood sugar level.
According to Ayurveda, there are two types of diabetes therapy. One is Aptarpana (de-nourishment) and Santarpana (replenishment). Aptarpana treatment is useful in obese diabetics with Kapha body type and Santarpana treatment is useful in lean diabetics usually with Vata or Pitta type body. Ashwagandha works on both types of therapies by balancing Vata and Kapha dosha.
Take 1 Ashwagandha capsule or tablet twice a day with milk or warm water after 2 hours of meals along with your existing treatment.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Arthritis?
Ashwagandha might reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Studies state that Ashwagandha has analgesic property. It is seen that the roots and leaves of Ashwagandha contain withaferin A which inhibits the production of pain mediators such as prostaglandins. This reduces the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis[17-20].
Ashwagandha is useful to manage pain in arthritis. According to Ayurveda, arthritis occurs due to an aggravation of Vata dosha and is known as Sandhivata. It causes pain, swelling, and joint mobility. Ashwagandha powder has Vata balancing property and gives relief from the symptoms of arthritis-like pain and swelling in the joints.
1. Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder.
2. Mix it in 1 glass of milk.
3. Drink this thrice a day.
4. Continue for at least 1-2 months for better results.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Hypertension (high blood pressure)?
scientificMODERN SCIENCE VIEWAshwagandha may improve the individual’s ability to deal with stress and stress-related problems like high blood pressure.
Stress increases the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which in turn increases the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. Ashwagandha powder reduces the level of cortisol and helps to reduce stress and its associated problems like high blood pressure.
1. Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of Ashwagandha root powder in a cup of water.
2. Boil the mixture in a pan for at least 10 minutes.
3. Add a few drops of lemon and 1 teaspoon of honey to enhance the taste.
4. Drink this mixture once a day in the morning.
Hypertension is known as Rakta Gata Vata in Ayurveda which means elevated pressure of the blood in the arteries. The aim of Ayurvedic treatment for hypertension is identifying the root cause of the condition and then taking herbs that can eradicate the problem from its roots. Stress or anxiety is also a root cause of hypertension and taking Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress or anxiety and thus control high blood pressure.
Start with 1 capsule or tablet of Ashwagandha two hours after meals with milk. Also, monitor your blood pressure regularly while taking Ashwagandha with other antihypertensive drugs.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for Parkinson's disease?
Ashwagandha might be useful in Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is due to damage of the nerve cells which affects movement, muscle control and balance of the body. Ashwagandha prevents damage of nerve cells due to its antioxidant property. This reduces the risk of Parkinson and its associated problems[21-23].
ayurvedicAYURVEDIC VIEWAshwagandha helps to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
A disease condition 'Vepathu' described in Ayurveda may be correlated with Parkinson's disease. It is caused by vitiated Vata. Taking Ashwagandha powder balances Vata and also helps to reduce the degeneration of cells which controls the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Do I take ashwagandha in the morning or night?
Included participants were males or females who were 18-30 years of age with a body mass index (BMI) of 19-30 kg/m2 who did not take any medications, supplements, or adhere to an exercise regimen within the prior month. Those that had taken or donated blood within 3 months of the study were excluded. Potential participants underwent a physical exam, an assessment of organ function, a chest X-ray, and an electrocardiogram (ECG).
A total of 18 subjects were enrolled in the study. At baseline, the mean age of the subjects was 24.33 ± 2.14 years, the mean height was 165.94 ± 7.43 cm, the mean weight was 66.65 ± 8.79 kg, and the mean BMI was 24.28 ± 2.70 kg/m2. None of the subjects smoked or used tobacco or alcohol.
For a 30-day period, doses of an ashwagandha aqueous extract were increased in 10-day intervals, starting at 250 mg in the morning and 500 mg in the evening on days 1 to 10 (750 mg/day). From days 11 to 20, 500 mg was taken in the morning and 500 mg was taken in the evening (1,000 mg/day). The dosage on days 21 to 30 was 500 mg in the morning and 750 mg in the evening (1,250 mg/day).
The test material was a gelatin capsule, containing 250 mg or 500 mg of 8:1 pulverized ashwagandha root aqueous extract. Neither the source, preparation process/standardization, nor the manufacturer of the ashwagandha extract used in this study is disclosed.
Vital signs, body weight, BMI, ECG, exercise tolerance, muscle strength, and blood panels were assessed at baseline and on days 11, 21, and 31. The blood panels included hematological (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, platelet, hemoglobin, differential, red, and white cell counts), organ and metabolic function (serum bilirubin, protein, albumin, alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, uric acid, and fasting blood glucose), and lipid (total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein [HDL], low-density lipoprotein [LDL], and very-low-density lipoprotein [VLDL]) parameters. Exercise tolerance was measured by cycle ergometer, and muscle strength was assessed by hand grip, quadriceps, and back extensor force. Body fat percentage and lean body weight were measured by skin fold thickness at the biceps, triceps, and subscapular and suprailiac areas.
There were no significant changes in vital signs (body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration rate), body weight, or hematological parameters during the study. Measures of organ function such as the serum bilirubin, protein, albumin, alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, and alkaline phosphatase remained within the normal range, as did uric acid and fasting blood glucose levels. No significant changes in appetite, bladder or bowel habits, or sleep duration were reported; although 6 (33%) of the subjects voluntarily reported improved sleep quality. The authors note that "Needrajaran" or sleep induction is an important clinical application of ashwagandha in Ayurvedic medicine.
Muscle force significantly increased in both the quadriceps (28.02 ± 8.23 kg vs. 34.05 ± 8.10 kg, P<0.05) and the back extensor (26 ± 8.83 kg vs. 30.02 ± 8.10 kg, P<0.05) as compared to baseline. Increasing trends were reported in handgrip strength and exercise tolerance. The authors suggest that in accordance with the traditional usage of ashwagandha, these results together with the observed increase in serum creatinine (0.85 ± 0.14 mg/dl vs. 0.95 ± 0.13 mg/dl, P<0.05) indicate muscle mass promotion activity, rather than adverse renal function, since there was a significant concomitant drop in urea nitrogen (10.93 ± 3.62 mg/dl vs. 9.78 ± 3.38 mg/dl, P<0.05).
These findings were further supported by a trend towards decreasing body fat percentage and increasing lean body weight, although body weight and BMI did not significantly change. Total cholesterol significantly decreased (175.9 ± 24.62 mg/dl vs. 159.6 ± 17.22 mg/dl, P<0.05), and decreasing trends were also seen in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and BMI.
With the exception of 1 subject, this study reports the good safety profile of daily ashwagandha supplementation up to 1,250 mg. No changes were seen in vital bodily functions or appetite, gastrointestinal habits, or sleep. It is mentioned that the adverse side effects reported in the withdrawn subject may be due to previously cited impacts of ashwagandha on the central nervous system and libido. These potentially serious adverse side effects warrant further study. However, the formulation was found to be safe in terms of hematological and biochemical parameters; and it improved sleep quality, strengthened muscles, and lowered lipids in healthy subjects. These positive results support the use of ashwagandha to potentially aid in promoting strength and general health. Future directions for ashwagandha clinical research include further evidence of quality-of-life benefits for perimenopausal women, and ashwagandha's potential efficacy in the treatment of sarcopenia.
How long does ashwagandha take to work?
How quickly supplements begin to work in the body greatly depends on other factors in your life.
There is no magic pill for good health. Supplements can help to nourish your body, especially in conjunction with other healthy habits. It is essential to eat a balanced diet and get enough exercise in order for your body to receive the herbal benefits that nature has to offer.
When used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, ashwagandha can begin to impact the body beneficially within two weeks. The quality of your ashwagandha supplement is what will make the biggest difference. A high-concentration, full-spectrum extract is required to make the biggest impact in your body. At least 600 mg per day is also recommended to improve your ashwagandha experience.
Herbalist K.P. Khalsa recommends higher doses for improved results while using ashwagandha. This is especially necessary for people who regularly engaging in poor diet and lifestyle h bits and experience elevated levels of stress. Khalsa also notes that continued use produces the best results.
You cannot take ashwagandha overnight and expect it to start working right away. Most of the time, it takes a while for herbs and natural ingredients to synergistically work with your body before feeling any benefit. Depending on your health already, it may take several months to experience or even notice big changes.