Adaptogens are everywhere these days. These powerful herbs are said to help our bodies manage and adapt to stress. And, well, anything that can help us get a handle on stress definitely has our attention. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear that many of you feel the same way.
One of the most popular adaptogens is an herb called ashwagandha—also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng. The root of ashwagandha is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. It can be taken in various forms, including as a capsule, powder, tea, or tincture.
Ashwagandha is said to be able to help us in many different ways, from increasing energy levels to regulating our nervous system, improving sleep and rest, preventing or stopping stress-related hair loss, and even boosting libido.
Benefits of Ashwagandha —
- It May Help Balance Stress in Your Body — Adaptogens can help increase the body’s resistance to many different forms of stress, including physical, chemical, biological, and psychological stress. One reason ashwagandha may help to reduce and balance stress is by reducing cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a the body’s primary stress hormone and plays a huge role in the body’s “fight or flight” response. When cortisol levels are elevated, you may experience symptoms like increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- It May Have Cognitive Benefits — Ashwagandha may help with memory, mental clarity, focus, and other related areas of cognition.
- It May Reduce Inflammation and Pain — Studies show that ashwagandha may decrease inflammation in the body. This is important because inflammation in the body plays a significant role in overall health, especially when the inflammation is chronic.
- Can be used as a Tonic — Ashwagandha (in form of Churna or powder) is beneficial in lower dosage (500 mg) for preventing diseases by boosting immune system functions. It enhances non-specific immunity. It alleviates stress, increases physical stamina, and improves overall health.
- In Heart Diseases — Ashwagandha is considered a heart-protective antioxidant that scavenges free radicals and reduces oxidative stress. It further inhibits lipid peroxidation (degradation of lipids). Furthermore, ashwagandha has energy boosting properties that provides energy to the heart and improves the overall functioning. It also protects the heart by inhibiting the markers of inflammation that may otherwise cause damage to the heart by increasing inflammation.
- It Reduces High Blood Pressure — Ashwagandha reduces high blood pressure levels by inducing a calming effect and by reducing the stress levels.
- Ashwagandha root extract plays a beneficial role in reversing Alzheimer’s disease — It was observed that ashwagandha contains health-promoting compounds that promote cognition, and increase memory. It also promotes growth of brain cells, improves brain health and reverses behavioral deficits. Alkaloids present in ashwagandha increase the clearance of toxic amyloid (protein fragments that get deposited in the brain and affect cognition) and prevent further damage. Thus, ashwagandha root is an amazing food for brain that improves cognition, memory, concentration level and overall quality of life.
- It promotes muscle activity and strength — Ashwagandha capsules when given to subjects for 30 days resulted in increase in muscle mass activity and increased muscle force in upper extremity, lower extremity and trunk region. Improvement was also observed in hand grip strength. A reduction in body fat percentage and increase in muscle mass was observed.
- It is beneficial for the management of diabetes mellitus type-2 — Ashwagandha works by replenishing the glycogen stores in the liver and it suppresses the release of the excess glucose in the blood thus, it helps to control blood sugar levels.
- It reduces the damage caused to the liver — It prevents liver damage by restoring the normal structure of liver cells and by reducing the blood level of liver enzymes. Such a drop is a clear indicator that ashwagandha reduces the damage caused to the liver.
Dosage of Ashwagandha —
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) dosage varies from 250 mg to 6 grams as per health condition and age group. Its maximum dosage is 12 grams per day.
Ashwagandha Churna Dosage —
- Infants (Up To 1 year) — 250 mg
- Children (1 to 3) — 500mg
- Children (4 to 10) — 750 mg
- Children (Above 10) — 1000 mg
- Adults — 3000 mg
- Old Age — 3000 mg
Time — Twice a day with almond milk or coconut milk
When to Take: Any Time, better is – 60 minutes Before Meal or 2 hours after meal.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha —
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is considerably safe for most people, but the rare and mild side effects of Ashwagandha may appear in some individual. These side effects generally occur when Ashwagandha is taken in larger doses (i.e. above 10 grams per day). Large doses of Ashwagandha can result in following side effects.
- Stomach Upset
- Loose Stools
- Male Breast or Gynecomastia – very rare, but it may occur when Ashwagandha powder is used in larger dosage (more than 10 grams per day) for several months (more than 6 months).
Medical Disclaimer. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment
I’m Dr. Malini Bhat MD (Ayu); an Ayurvedic Doctor and a health blogger. Follow me on social media to get daily health tips which you can easily adapt to a healthy lifestyle.