When it comes to Ayurveda and the power of herbal medicine, there are few substances more impressive than Ashwagandha. As a holistic powerhouse, the many benefits of Ashwagandha and its potential uses make quite the list.
Ayurveda is an ancient form of holistic medicine and healing that uses herbs, among other practices, to maintain the delicate balance between the mind and body. Ashwagandha is one such herb, utilized in Ayurveda for anything from stress relief to increasing fertility and more.
Here, we'll discuss all the ways that Ashwagandha may be useful to you, and how best to incorporate it into your routine.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is a short shrub plant that grows in the drier regions of India. While it sprouts small reddish orange fruit, it is the root powder that's mainly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurveda is a form of holistic medicine practiced in India for over three millennia. The main principles of Ayurveda focus on prevention of disease by promoting good health versus treating illnesses after they've been contracted.
As an adaptogen--an herb used in traditional medicine to help reduce physical and mental stress--ashwagandha is great for mind and body wellness. Therefore, it's used for a number of different purposes.
Probably one of the most well known and well researched benefits to ashwagandha is its potential for stress reduction. Human trials show significant decreases in cortisol levels with ashwagandha, as well as an overall decrease in self-assessed stress levels.
Cortisol is a hormone released by the body that can trigger certain physiological responses to stress, including increased blood pressure and weight fluctuations. The reduction of this hormone in studies utilizing ashwagandha is a good indicator of the ancient supplement's regulation of stress levels.
Reducing Blood Sugar
Several studies have been performed on the effects of ashwagandha on blood sugar levels in both mice and human participants. Many find a significant lowering of blood sugar with continued use. Deeper investigation confirms a correlation between ashwagandha and increased insulin production.
Similar studies also find that the supplement may reduce cholesterol levels.
Another bodily compound shown to be affected by ashwagandha is testosterone, the male sex hormone responsible for reproductive development.
Some trials on infertile men have shown an increase in testosterone levels with ashwagandha dosing as well as improvement in sperm count and motility.
Along with its renown for stress reduction, another of ashwagandha's most touted potential benefits is its success as an anti-inflammatory in clinical trials.
How To Take Ashwagandha
Before taking any supplement, it's best to consult with your healthcare provider on what is best for you. Many supplements can have unwelcome interactions with other prescribed medications or certain adverse side effects. Ashwagandha has been known to reduce and amplify the effects of immunosuppressants and benzodiazepines, respectively.
How Much Ashwagandha To Take
Effective dosing for stress relief is generally between 200-300 milligrams a day, with best results observed with continuous use of a month or more.
As people seek out more natural and holistic ways to stay healthy, it's important to take note of the big players in the sphere of traditional medicine. Ashwagandha is a multi-functional adaptogen that's been used for millennia in Ayurveda for it's whole-body benefits.