Top 9 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha and Side Effects

Ashwagandha is one of the most popularly used herbs in Ayurveda. For centuries Aswagandha was in use in the traditional form of alternative medicine. Ashwagandha has many benefits as it helps in relieving stress, increasing energy, and staying focused.

Ashwagandha is a very popularly used herb in Ayurveda. For centuries it was put to use for the betterment of mankind. In Sanskrit Ashwagandha means “smell of a horse’. This name is so kept as it indicates the smell of the herb and its ability to increase strength. Ashwagandha’s botanical name is Withania somnifera and is also referred to as ‘Indian Ginseng” or “white cherry.”

The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub that bears yellow flowers that come from India and Southeast Asia. Ashwagandha powder and extracts are used for treating various ailments. Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub and its root and orange-red fruit of ashwagandha have medicinal value.

Nutritional Values of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha berries

The nutritional value per 100 gms of dehydrated ashwagandha is as follows:

Nutritional Value of Ashwagandha per 100gm
Nutrients (in 100gm of Ashwagandha) Its amount
Moisture 7.45%
Ash 4.41 gram
Protein(g) 0.3 gram
Fat 0.3 gram
Crude Fiber 32.3 gram
Energy 245kcal
Carbohydrate 49.9gram
Iron 3.3(mg)
Calcium 23mg
Total Carotene 75.7μg
Vitamin C 3.7

The antioxidant content of dehydrated medicinal herb powder per 100 grams is as follows:
Polyphenols (mg) 19.80.
Free radical scavenging activity (DPPH)% 67.16.

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Glycemic Index Of Ashwagandha

Value-added Indian flatbreads with ashwagandha and its glycemic response in normal healthy humans. The Glycemic Index (GI) of Ashwagandha is the depiction of carbohydrate quality, on the other hand, Glycemic Load (GL) depicts the carbohydrate quantity of the food and its insulin demand. Food with low GI and GL shows to work positively in improving the glucose tolerance of normal healthy people. The root of Ashwangdha is dried, and the powder or extract from the plant has a low GL and GI.

2 percent, 496, 6 percent, and 8 percent ashwagandha roots were used to create value-added Indian flatbreads like Chapati, Paratha, and Thepla. The results came as the 2% root powder products that are more liked by semi-trained panels. Further tests revealed that the GI and the GL values in the thepla came as  37.27 and 11.35 respectively. In comparison to the regular thepla, the GI was found to be low, while the GL was found to be medium. Therefore if the glycemic index of functional food is at target, the ashwagandha powder can be used to manage diabetes. Also, the food with ashwagandha powder has a much lower GI and GL than the food without ashwagandha comparatively.

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Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha roots

Ashwagandha has stood the test of time as it has a wide array of uses. It is a very popular herb in Ayurveda where it is used for alternative treatment. Ashwagandha is the most trusted herb from ancient civilizations and to date, it is of prime importance in the modern-day Ayurveda. It is now available in the form of extracts and roots and is widely used for the following reason:

Ashwagandha For Anxiety, Stress, and Depression

It is a big benefit with ashwagandha. In our present life situation irrespective of age, demography, class, or gender we all suffer from stress, anxiety and in some cases people are depression. Scientific studies have proved it helps deal with anxiety and stress and is thus classified as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body to cope and manage stress and anxiety, or panic attacks. Ashwagandha extracts or ashwagandha capsules because of how it deals with receptors in the brain and mediators of stress help in keeping a check on them.

It also works on the heat shock proteins, also decreases cortisol levels and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase, Ashwagandha benefit is that reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis system in the body that works to regulate the stress levels in the body which might be why it helps deal with anxiety and panic attacks. In tests conducted on 60 people who consumed 240 grams of Ashwagandha powder for 60 days had reduced anxiety and stress levels as compared to one who was not consuming and were receiving placebo treatment. Ashwagandha also helps to deal with anxiety and stress symptoms.

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 It also Helps with Workout Recovery

As per much research done it is a proven fact that ashwagandha has several health benefits for the athletes. It has a long association with lowering inflammation, beneficial to everyone. This means ashwagandha is extra beneficial to athletes. Inflammation causes muscle soreness. It is also a good source of hydration and increases the overall strength of the body. According to studies, men and women who consumed 120 mg to 1250 mg of ashwagandha per day had enhanced performance and strength, as well as higher oxygen levels during the performance.

Ashwagandha works to increase the maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max). VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that a person uses during intense activity. It shows the health condition of the lungs and heart. It is vital to have optimal VO2 max as it shows the fitness level of the athletes and non-athletes. Low VO2 is an indication of the risk of heart disease. Ashwagandha helps to increase muscle strength. For people doing resistance training, Ashwagandha capsules or powder can be a game-changer. It helps to increase their muscle strength and muscle size.

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Ashwagandha is Good for Heart Health

Ashwagandha benefits

Ashwagandha also helps in boosting heart health, lowering high blood pressure, lowering high cholesterol, easing chest pains, and preventing heart disease. It also benefits heart health. It is beneficial in maintaining overall cardiovascular health.

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Ashwagandha For Alzheimer’s Treatment

Certain research proves that Ashwagandha has the ability to slow or prevent the loss of brain function in people who have neurodegenerative conditions. It is of immense benefit in Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. The brain and the cells get damaged with the progressing ailment resulting in memory loss and limited functions. Ashwagandha offers protection to brain cells.

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Cancer and Ashwagandha

As per certain research, Ashwagandha helps in stopping the growth of cancer cells.

May Reduce Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions

Ashwagandha is known as a wonder herb because of its ability to help people dealing with depression. On a test, people with schizophrenia, anxiety & depression were relieved after consumption of ashwagandha as compared to placebo. In bipolar disorder cases, it helps in the improvement of cognitive impairment.

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Helps Boost Testosterone and Increase Fertility in Men

Ashwagandha supplements help in improving male infertility and increasing testosterone levels. As per the research done on a group of 40 men when they consumed ashwagandha for 8 weeks experienced a 14.7% increase in testosterone level as compared to the ones who were consuming the placebo. It also works to increase sperm concentration, semen volume, and sperm motility in men who have been diagnosed with low sperm count.

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Ashwagandha Reduces Inflammation

Ashwagandha for diabetes

Ashwagandha consists of compounds called WA that help reduce inflammation in the body.

WA helps to reduce levels of inflammatory proteins like interleukin-10. Thus for arthritis patients, it is a boon and they should consume it on a daily basis to deal with the condition.

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Ashwagandha Helps get Better Sleep

People who consume ashwagandha help to get better sleep. It reduces anxiety levels and thus the sleep quality improves. Also, it works in cases of insomnia.

Ashwagandha Recipes

Ashwagandha for heart

Because of the benefits of ashwagandha, it is recommended to take it on a daily basis.

Here are a few of the recipes that help in removing the bitterness of the ashwagandha. Also, one can easily consume it simply in the form of a capsule or take it with honey and water. As per certain research, it is recommended that 250-600 mg per day help deal with stress. Capsule dose varies from 250 and 1500 mg and as per condition it is consumed but under the supervision of a health expert.

Adding ashwagandha in recipes lowers the GI and GL of the food so it is recommended to use in some recipes.

Ashwagandha Tea with Milk and Cardamom: The most common and easiest way to consume ashwagandha is by making tea from it. Add your favorite spice and drink two cups of tea daily for better results. Boil milk and water then add spices and ashwagandha powder to it. Drink while hot.

Ashwagandha Banana Smoothie: Everyone loves these smoothies. Make ashwagandha banana smoothies by blending banana, ashwagandha, cinnamon powder, honey, nuts, seeds, and milk. Consume it immediately as it will turn bitter if left for a long.

Ashwagandha Turmeric Milk: Boil the milk and add turmeric, ashwagandha, and honey to it. Sip it and experience all the pain and stress going from the body. Add a dash of coconut oil or almond oil for better results.

Ashwagandha Ghee: It is the easiest way to have it in the diet. Take some ghee and infuse it with ashwagandha extract. Apply it on flatbread, or rice, or drink it after dissolving it in a glass of lukewarm water.

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Side Effect of Ashwagandha

Although low to medium doses of ashwagandha is fine but their high doses can have side effects. Some of the common side effects of ashwagandha are as follows:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Digestive upset
  • Drowsiness

One should consume organic ashwagandha only & buy it from organic sellers. Ashwagandha is easily available but before buying check the authenticity of the seller.

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Can Diabetics Eat Ashwagandha?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body is not able to effectively use the insulin that it produces. Insulin is a hormone that the body uses to utilize sugar for energy. There are two categories of diabetes Type 1 and type 2. The body does not produce enough insulin in type 1 diabetes, so the person must control their diet and thus administer insulin to manage their glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is more common in which a person is unable to use insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes can be managed with diet and exercise, and doctors may also recommend medications in some cases. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, Ashwagandha is of immense benefit as it works to reduce blood glucose levels.

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Conclusion

Ashwagandha is a wonder herb and is of immense importance in the ancient Ayurveda treatment. It is a boon if one uses it as a dietary supplement and sees the benefits that it gives. Procure Ashwagandha from organic sellers and always consume it in moderation under the supervision of a health expert.

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FAQs:

Is ashwagandha viagra?

Ashwagandha is an effective herbal supplement that helps to cure erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Viagra gives instant results for a few hours and has multiple side effects. Ashwagandha on the other hand has no such side effects and it cures the disease rather than giving it a quick fix.

Can ashwagandha increase size?

Ashwagandha results in improved body composition and could increase muscle mass and strength.

Can one consume ashwagandha on a daily basis?

Ashwagandha is a herbal supplement and people respond differently to different supplements. Thus before starting the consumption consult a health expert plus start with a small dose and see the result. If you are comfortable go-to medium-dose but never on the large dose as it could give long-term side effects.

Who should not consume ashwagandha?

Pregnant and lactating mothers who suffer from diabetes, high or low blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and thyroid should not consume Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha is available in which forms?

Ashwagandha is available in the form of capsules, powder, and liquid extracts.

Reference

www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/ashwagandha-and-diabetes#alternatives

https://ro.co/health-guide/who-should-not-take-ashwagandha/

https://www.indiatimes.com/health/healthyliving/5-delicious-ashwagandha-recipes-that-masks-it-s-bitter-taste-329758.htmlLast Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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