Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub found in parts of Asia and Africa and traditionally used as an adaptogen for addressing physical and mental stress.
Research suggests that the bioactive compounds within ashwagandha may reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, support a healthy immune system, and potentially help manage brain health. However, more research is needed to validate its reputation as an adaptogen or its other benefits.
The History and Culture of Ashwagandha
For centuries, Ashwagandha has been used as part of the Ayurvedic medical system in India. This plant is highly revered for its potential to promote health and longevity and reduce suffering.
The species name, somnifera, speaks to its use as a sedative. The Sanskrit term ‘ashwagandha’ literally translates to ‘smells like a horse’. Thus, it’s understandable why this plant is often referred to by the same moniker.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine and is known for its stress-relieving properties.
Some potential benefits of ashwagandha include:
Reducing stress and anxiety
Lowering blood sugar and fat levels
Increasing muscle and strength
Improving sexual function in Women
Boosting fertility and testosterone levels in men
Sharpening focus and memory
Supporting heart health
Better athletic performance
Improved sleep quality
Easing pain and inflammation
Preventing arthritis, asthma, hypertension, and rheumatism.
However, it is important to note that further research is needed to establish ashwagandha’s claimed benefits, especially over the long term.
What is the recommended dosage of Ashwagandha?
When it comes to ashwagandha, the recommended dosage can depend on a person’s situation. Most studies suggest that taking 250-500 milligrams of ashwagandha daily for at least a month can lead to beneficial results.
Meanwhile, some professionals advise consuming 300-500 milligrams per day of an extract with between 5% and 10% withanolides. Finally, 1,000–1,500 milligrams per day of extract is considered a full dose. It is always advised to speak with a healthcare provider before beginning any new supplement regimen.
Ashwagandha interactions with other supplements or medications
Several medicines used to treat common conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and low thyroid hormone could be affected if ashwagandha is added to the prescription list.
In addition, sedatives, blood thinners, thyroid supplements, immune system suppressants, and medications for anxiety, high blood pressure, and diabetes may all interact with ashwagandha.
Given these potential interactions between medications and ashwagandha, it is important for patients who choose to use this supplement to notify their physician to ensure proper monitoring for reactions.
How to Take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha can be taken in various forms such as capsules, tablets, powders, or teas. The best time to take it depends on the type of ashwagandha you’re taking and your personal preference. For example, ashwagandha tea can be consumed in the morning, while 1 to 2 ashwagandha tablets or capsules can be taken twice a day after meals.
Additionally, 1/2 tsp of ashwagandha powder can be mixed with milk before bed to help with sleep. It is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
How long does it take for Ashwagandha to work?
When taking ashwagandha, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t act instantaneously. While the majority of studies suggest that it takes 4-12 weeks for the effects of ashwagandha to be felt, some people may experience a result sooner than this. Of course, individual differences and the quality of the product all come into play when determining how long it will take to feel results.
Can it be taken during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
Due to a limited amount of research in the area, it is hard for qualified medical professionals to make recommendations regarding ashwagandha’s safety and efficacy during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Therefore, consulting a healthcare provider beforehand is the wisest option. It is prudent for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers not to begin taking any supplements until they have had a discussion with their respective doctor.
What are the side effects of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is considered safe for most people when used in recommended dosages. However, it may cause several side effects in some individuals. Some common side effects of ashwagandha include digestive upset, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
It may also induce abortions, cause liver damage, lower blood sugar levels too much, and aggravate hypothyroidism. People with autoimmune disorders, allergies, prostate cancer, autoimmune conditions, and liver problems should avoid using this remedy. It is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Ashwagandha is known for its potential to help relieve stress, and many studies have been done on the subject. Research shows that taking it may provide benefits, including lowering blood sugar and fat levels, enhancing muscle strength and sexual function in women, increasing testosterone levels in men, enhancing concentration and memory, supporting heart health, and improving fertility.
However, despite these potential advantages, more evidence is needed before supplementation can be definitively associated with any particular effect. Ashwagandha is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses. However, be sure to discuss your individual health needs before taking any new supplements with your healthcare provider.