Ashwagandha has long been a revered medicinal plant in India and Africa. In India, it is popularly known as the king of Ayurvedic herbs. The most esteemed Hindu sages would administer Ashwagandha to the kings. In recent years it has
The literal meaning of the word ashwagandha is “smell of horse” because the fresh roots of the herb are said to smell like a horse. As the story goes, it’s believed that when you consume ashwagandha, you may develop the strength and vitality of a horse as well.
“One obtains longevity, regains youth, gets a sharp memory and intellect and freedom from disease, gets a lustrous complexion, and strength of a horse.” Charaka, Ayurvedic Scholar, 100 B.C.E.
The first writings about ashwagandha are in Ayurveda texts from roughly 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Ayurveda classifies ashwagandha as a
The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that is native to India and North Africa. It is a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. This herb is also commonly called Indian ginseng, winter cherry and
Ashwagandha herb has been used for thousands of years as a home remedy to relieve a number of health conditions and help the body remain in balance. The root and leaves of the ashwagandha plant are most commonly used for their medicinal properties, and the presence of withanolides, a group of steroidal lactones, which have been shown to fight inflammation and contribute to the herb’s health benefits.
1. IMPROVES sleep and decreases anxiety
Are you tired, anxious, or run-down? Do you struggle to get a good night’s sleep? Ashwagandha strengthens and calms the nervous system. Taken over time, it can restore healthy sleep cycles.
The anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of ashwagandha may be due, in part, to the ability of its constituent withanolides to mimic the activity of the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). As such, the herb appears to wind down overactivity in neurons, acting as a nerve tonic that can help lessen anxiety, promote good sleep, and elevate mood
Ashwagandha has been nicknamed the “ginseng of India” for its ability to strengthen vitality. But while Panax ginseng can be overstimulating to people with anxiety, ashwagandha excels at decreasing anxiety and soothing the nervous system.
2. Increases energy LEVELS and reduces fatigue
Thanks to its adaptogenic activities, ashwagandha helps to support normal energy metabolism as well as testosterone production and thyroid health. This makes it an especially useful herb for fighting fatigue associated with stress.
Ashwagandha has been associated with increases in serum T4 (thyroxine), which suggests that the herb helps to support or enhance thyroid function, thereby promoting better energy levels as well as supporting mood and immune function
3. Natural Stress Reliever
Chronic stress is a disease of modern society. Stress can contribute to depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal ulcers, impaired immunity, and even heart disease and other cardiometabolic conditions. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to manage stress naturally, including by using stress-busting adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is known to reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone associated with the physiological effects of stress. While we need some cortisol to stay alive, chronic stress can lead to persistent or extreme elevations in cortisol, with adverse effects on blood glucose regulation, blood lipids, body composition, hormone balance, digestion, sleep, immune function, and cognitive health.
4. Supports immune function
Better energy and stress management have significant benefits for immune health, with studies showing that stress can dramatically reduce our ability to fight off infection. In addition to supporting our ability to handle stress, ashwagandha goes a step further by stimulating immune system cells themselves.
Studies show that the herb can stimulate lymphocytes (white blood cells) and macrophages, and increase white blood cell count, as well as increase hemoglobin concentration, red blood cell, and platelet counts. Ashwagandha also provides antioxidant protection and can have anti-inflammatory effects that influence immune system activity.
5. Reduces Brain Cell Degeneration and Improves Memory
Emotional, physical and chemical stress can have damaging effects
6. INcreases stamina and endurance
Studies show that ashwagandha can boost endurance during physical activity by sharpening brain function and reducing bodily pain. Due to its positive calming energizing effects on the brain, and its ability to lower stress hormones, ashwagandha helps improve concentration, motivation and stamina in conducted studies.
7. Helps Improve Sexual Function and Fertility
In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used as a natural aphrodisiac that can help improve sexual dysfunction. Ashwagandha is also used to boost testosterone levels and improve male fertility.
How to Use ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is traditionally used as a powder, and this is my preferred way to use it as well. While ashwagandha can be taken alone, Ayurveda often uses it in formulations. I like adding ashwagandha powder to my morning smoothie.
Ashwagandha is not considered tasty. Rather than using it to flavour a meal,
The therapeutic amount of ashwagandha is 3 to 6 grams per day when taken as a powder, 20 to 30 grams per day when taken as a decoction (added to heated milk for example), and 2 to 8 ml per day when taken as a tincture.
ashwagandha vs. Maca VS. Ginseng
- Ashwagandha, maca root and ginseng are all plants that have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties.
- All three plants contain powerful antioxidants and are known to increase energy levels, reduce inflammation, help improve memory and brain function, regulate blood sugar levels and improve sexual function.
- Ashwagandha is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and among the most popular Ayurvedic herbs, maca root traces back to the ancient Peruvians and ginseng is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine.