Ashwagandha, also known as 'Withania Somnifera' or 'Indian Ginseng', is a herb with beneficial properties known for centuries in the East, and which is (finally) becoming very popular in Western countries as well.
Among its beneficial properties, the ability to reduce stress stands out in particular, stimulating a feeling not only of calm, but also of general well-being. But that's not all, because studies and scientific research have shown that theAshwagandha it contains numerous active ingredients, which offer just as many benefits for our health.
If you too are interested in learning more, then you've come to the right place: in this article we will explain everything there is to know about Ashwagandha, benefits, properties and effects. Enjoy the reading!
Ashwaganda, properties: what exactly are we talking about when we mention Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a plant belonging to the same family as potatoes, that of solanaceae. It produces a red fruit that has also earned it the name of winter cherry, although the fruit is not actually edible. Another of its names, as we said at the beginning, is Indian Ginseng. In truth, however, when we talk about Ashwagandha we are mainly referring to its root, from which a supplement is made.
This supplement has been used for centuries – actually for at least two thousand years! – in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic and stimulant. In fact, it is able to increase the body's physical resistance, blocking the harmful effects of stress. This is thanks to a group of steroid lactones, the withanolides, which help the body recover faster from fatigue and allow for greater concentration.
From this point of view, moreover, it has a positive influence on all those physical effects usually associated with stress. Any examples? The production of testosterone, but also the health of skin and hair. In the next paragraph we will take a closer look at these Ashwagandha effects, benefits and so much more.
Ashwagandha benefits: why it's worth taking
But let's see in more detail why Ashwagandha is worth taking. Here are 5 key health benefits of this powerful adaptogen.
1. Supports the adrenal glands to reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha has been shown to support the adrenal glands by normalizing cortisol levels. This reduces the negative effects of high (or low) levels of this hormone. This is a very significant effect because continuous stress can be detrimental to our health. Adrenal function is closely related to thyroid function, so as Ashwagandha supports the adrenal glands, it has an indirect effect on improving thyroid function. Initial studies demonstrate Ashwagandha's ability to positively impact thyroid function by stimulating thyroid hormone activity.
An extra tip? For a boosting effect, use your Ashwagandha supplement in combination with other supplements such as phosphorus and magnesium.
2. Increases energy, stamina and stamina
Ashwagandha has been shown to have a significant impact on athletic performance, improving heart and lung capacity and increasing energy levels. Yet, not only is this beneficial for exercise purposes, but it's also beneficial for people who struggle with their energy levels or those with fatigue-related conditions. In fact, this supplement works precisely on fatigue, allowing for physical and psychological recovery in a shorter time.
3. Stabilizes blood sugar
Try googling: 'Ashwagandha properties' and you will find some nice ones. Ashwagandha has been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing it when it is too high or increasing it if it is too low. This is an example of the adaptogenic effect of this root. Considering what research tells us about the impact on blood sugar levels in diseases like depression and dementia, this herb can have a profound impact on mental health as well as being a great support for pancreatic health. and to reduce the level of general inflammation which, as we know, is largely determined by sugars.
4. Fights neurodegenerative diseases
Ashwagandha's active ingredients, called withanamids, have shown protective effects against B-amyloid-induced plaques in Alzheimer's disease. This is thought to be due to the natural antioxidants found in Ashwagandha, which scavenge free radicals to prevent cell damage. Studies also show promising results of Ashwagandha's protective effects against Parkinson's disease. Obviously the effect is not curative, but adjuvant, to be combined with correct medical therapy.
5. Immune boosting and anti-inflammatory
Ashwagandha has also demonstrated excellent beneficial effects on our immune system. In particular, it has been shown to stimulate anti-inflammatory immune cells, with a great effect on contrast and disease prevention. Such effects are produced and felt particularly in the case of painful conditions such as arthritis. Furthermore, being a root very rich in iron, it also contributes to the increase in red blood cells.
Then, there is a generalized beneficial effect, which we have already mentioned, and which concerns the general benefit to the nervous system, especially in the case of anxious or stressed subjects and for those who have trouble falling asleep or wake up during the night. In fact, it works on cortisol and blood sugar, and partially also on the thyroid.
In this way it also produces very significant indirect effects. For example, it regulates metabolic alterations, offering important support to those who need to lose weight. Furthermore, having effects on the hormonal balance, it can have a positive influence on male and female fertility, but also on menopause and the menstrual cycle in general. As regards menopause in particular, it produces a positive effect on sudden changes in temperature and on the feeling of irritability.
Ashwagandha: side effects and method of administration
Although it is a natural 100%-based supplement, there are indications for the correct intake of Ashwagandha. For example, it is not recommended for pregnant women to take it in large quantities and without medical supervision, as there have been some cases of spontaneous termination of pregnancy in conjunction with its intake.
Also pay attention to the interaction with some substances. Ashwagandha extracts, in fact, tend to produce unfavorable reactions when taken together with sedatives, anxiolytics and alcohol-based drinks. Avoiding drinking is generally good advice whenever you take active ingredients that promote relaxation, as the effects of intoxication and drowsiness are aggravated.
Finally, it is a substance absolutely not recommended for those suffering from hyperthyroidism, since one of the effects of Ashwagandha is precisely that of stimulating thyroid functions. This would, therefore, further worsen the disease.
Finally we come to the methods of recruitment. In this case there are not many indications. The product can be found in pills, therefore pre-dosed, or in powder, to be taken in quantities ranging from 3 to 6 grams depending on how refined the product is. It is advisable, for the dosage, to ask your pharmacist or herbalist.
A clarification should also be made on the times: since Ashwagandha produces different effects, it is advisable to choose the administration time based on the specific effect you want to obtain. So before you go to sleep to fight insomnia or close to meals to lose weight. Finally, a small 'culinary' tip: you can take your Ashwagandha by making an infusion or mixing it with yogurt.