As a culinary ingredient, ashwagandha is not commonly used. As a result, you might not be very familiar with it. However, it has drawn a lot of attention for its advantageous effects on health when consumed as an herbal supplement: Ashwagandha promotes stress reduction and can help your body get back into balance. In this article, we cover all the details you need to know about this useful herb. From its inception and growth to its benefits and applications. So that you can decide if Ashwagandha is right for you.
What is Ashwagandha?
The ashwagandha plant, also known as Withania somnifera, is a diminutive evergreen. It is diminutive and squat, with bell-shaped flowers, velvety leaves, and orange berries that resemble small tomatoes. Ashwagandha root has been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for at least 1,500 years. In Sanskrit, “ashwa” means “horse” and “gandha” means “smell.” Ashwagandha has long been used to support vigor and a healthy libido. That’s why its name roughly translates to “the smell and toughness of a horse.” When the herb was ground, it was said to smell like a horse and to have the strength of one.
This species name, somnifera, means “sleep-inducing” in Latin. The term “Somnifera” refers to an herb used in ayurvedic medicine as a somniferous or sleep-inducing agent. Ashwagandha is known as “asgandh” in Hindi, another allusion to its potent aroma, which is reminiscent of horse sweat.
Where Does Ashwagandha Come From?
Ashwagandha has been used in traditional medical practices like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, homeopathy, and other types of folk medicine. It predates the 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic medical system. The three phases of Ayurvedic texts, according to experts, contain comprehensive information about ashwagandha. Despite this, the origin of the plant is a mystery. “Ashwagandha originated in Asia or India. Dr. Gopakumar S, a professor at the Government Ayurveda College in Kannur, Kerala, southern India, claims that the majority of Ayurvedic texts discuss either the Sindu or Indian geography (the Indus River).
Experts in Ayurveda claim that the herb is first mentioned in the Charaka Samhita. It is a basic medical text written by Charaka, an Ayurvedic physician who practiced from 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. “Ashwagandha attributes as an ingredient in various therapeutic drugs for treatment of skin, respiratory, rheumatoid, pediatric, and debilitating conditions in the book,” claims Dr. Jithesh MK, a physician at Arya Vaidya Sala. In Unani medicine, which has origins in ancient Greece, Withania somnifera is referred to as asgandh. “This plant was grown in Greece and the Middle East and is noted in many old Unani books to treat aging, stress, and improve fertility,” claims Dr. Syed MM Ameen, an Unani physician based in Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Ashwagandha is adaptogenic
Ashwagandha aids the body’s numerous systems in maintaining balance because it is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are herbs that meet three criteria outlined by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarez.
According to Lazarez, adaptogens need to:
- Be unharmful
- You can reduce and manage stress by helping the body adapt.
- Increase the general health
The History of Ashwagandha in Ayurveda
In the Indian system of traditional medicine known as Ayurveda, ashwagandha is referred to as a Rasayana. It is a term for a plant that promotes vigor, vitality, and happiness. Rasayanas are typically administered to children and the elderly as tonics to support overall well-being. The root of Ashwagandha is frequently dried, ground, and then given as a powder that has been combined with ghee, honey, and milk because it frequently has a bitter taste. This hot beverage is frequently consumed before bed. Green Herbs Ashwagandha is an ingredient in Golden Milk that promotes relaxation. Our Golden Milk, an Ayurvedic beverage that supports both the body and the mind, can help you taste your way to tranquility.
The formula is based on the conventional recipe, which has been used for centuries. Dates, cardamom, vanilla, turmeric, and ashwagandha make up its delicious blend. Any warm beverage, such as your cup of coffee or dairy or soy milk, maybe flavored with this powder. Ashwagandha is one of the most well-liked herbs for the Vata constitution, which is associated with air and space. Additionally, the herb is traditionally used as a tonic to support normal hormonal function, memory, and vitality.
It aids in the maintenance of Vata’s energy balance. Additionally, it aids in raising sleep quality. The Ayurvedic mind-body type known as Sadhaka Pitta, which affects the body and emotions, is affected by ashwagandha. According to Divya Alter, chef and owner of the Ayurvedic restaurant Divya’s Kitchen, if you have a high Pitta (fiery) constitution, taking Ashwagandha alone in tablet or powder form will be too heating; you may experience hot flashes and irritation in your stomach or liver.
Facts about Ashwagandha
The following are some facts you should know about the ashwagandha plant:
- Such a Bush
Ashwagandha is an evergreen bush that produces red berries. Because they are members of the same Solanaceae family, also known as the nightshade family, these berries resemble tomatillos or husk cherries. As a result, if you are allergic to peppers, tomatoes, or eggplants, you might also be allergic to ashwagandha.
- It comes from India
Indian plants include ashwagandha. However, it is also present in some Middle Eastern countries, some African countries, and some Mediterranean countries. Other names for it include Indian ginseng and winter cherry.
- It is a Classic Natural Treatment
Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurveda for more than 3000 years. That is a significant amount of time, don’t you think? According to claims, it has reportedly been used to treat a wide range of health conditions and issues, including stress, insomnia, arthritis, snake bites, constipation, other gastrointestinal problems, fever, memory loss, and infertility. It goes by several names, such as diuretic, aphrodisiac, and Rasayana, a treatment that increases vigor and health. It is still used as a treatment in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India to relieve stress.
What “Ashwagandha” Means
When you see the name, you probably first wonder how to say “ashwagandha.” It’s not as difficult as you might have thought, though. It serves a purpose even though it sounds odd. In Sanskrit, it means “horse odor.” This is caused by the strange, repulsive smell of horses that emanates from the roots of ashwagandha. The fact that this plant is known to give customers strength and energy akin to horses is another reason why it is associated with horses. However, only the roots, fruits, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine, even though the entire plant can be used medicinally. Depending on the type of remedy that needs to be made, different plant parts are used. For instance, ashwagandha can only be used in its root form to make tea.
When taken temporarily, ashwagandha is safe
It is regarded as safe for use because it is a plant. When taking it as a supplement as opposed to the plant in its natural state, you should use caution. The reason for this is that not all companies that sell ashwagandha supplements are created equal. Because of this, you ought to pick a product produced by a reputable business. It has undergone independent testing and is accompanied by an analysis certificate. Additionally, you need to be aware of any possible interactions with dietary supplements and additional prescription drugs. Therefore, you should speak with your doctor, who will also advise on the recommended dosage.
Ashwagandha aids the body in adjusting to any health issue to achieve balance throughout many systems as it is an adaptogen. In particular, it asserts to support the cardiovascular, nervous, and endocrine systems while reducing the body’s reaction to stress. By increasing the number and activity of the t-cells that fight infections. It also strengthens and improves the immune system’s functionality.
Traditional Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Let’s look more closely at its historical health benefits:
Stress and Worry
The stress hormone cortisol is released by the adrenals. The body has evolved to activate a “fight or flight” response in response to an impending threat. It helps in freeing up resources for a fierce defense against an intruder or flight from harm. Cortisol naturally rises in the morning to aid the body in mobilizing its energies for the demands of the day for the body to sleep and perform restorative processes at night. The cortisol response to stress is frequently triggered by the stress of modern human culture. Ongoing deadlines, financial restrictions, and a constant stream of bad news can affect the nervous system’s ability to function.
Ashwagandha has been shown to assist in keeping cortisol levels normal. Additionally, it stabilizes the body’s cycle of stress response. every bodily system, including the brain, muscles, joints, immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. Since stress is a common occurrence, it benefits from assisting the body’s capacity to adapt. Healthy cortisol production naturally supports the adrenal glands, allowing the body to focus on reproductive health.
A herbal supplement that only contains Ashwagandha has been created for us. because it can aid in the body’s healthy response to stress. The ability of Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root to assist those with chronic pressure to find balance and adopt tranquility is why customers adore it. Just one liquid capsule needs to be taken twice daily.
The nervous system, which is crucial for overall health and well-being, affects every breath we take. It affects every emotion we feel, every decision we make, and every skill we possess. It has been demonstrated that ashwagandha supports the structure and function of the nervous system. And also, it is considered a neuro-supportive and nootropic herb. Nootropic herbs support the maintenance of regular cognitive function. Ashwagandha promotes healthy nervous system function by promoting antioxidants and the brain’s natural pathways for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is a neurotransmitter that is in charge of maintaining calmness and maintaining muscle tone.
Because it helps to regulate the natural cortisol rhythm. It also supports a calm and stable mood, ashwagandha has traditionally been used as a supplement for people suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Fit Reproductive System
Contrary to reproduction, the functions of the adrenal glands are crucial to our survival, making them the “stars” of the endocrine system. The HPA axis and the stress reaction are consequently inextricably linked. It is connected to sperm production. Additionally manages male fertility, hormonal harmony, and female fertility. The same precursors used to make reproductive hormones are also used by the body to produce cortisol when under stress. The body will produce cortisol instead of testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone.
By keeping cortisol levels within a healthy range, ashwagandha can assist. The body can release those resources for use in producing reproductive hormones.
The metabolism appears to be cumulatively anabolic when using ashwagandha. It promotes weight gain during the period of natural growth. It has been demonstrated that adding ashwagandha to children’s milk helps them maintain a healthy weight as well as normal levels of total plasma proteins and hemoglobin. Additionally, it supports typical lean body weight and muscle-to-fat ratios, according to research. Besides maintaining blood glucose and lipid levels that are already within normal, healthy ranges. Additionally, ashwagandha might encourage good fat oxidation.
It has been studied whether ashwagandha root can promote joint health. According to some studies, healthy men and women can experience sporadic aches and pains, rigidity, bulging, and discomfort due to everyday wear and tear. Studies on humans suggest that it naturally lowers levels of C-reactive protein, which may account for this.
Sleeping well is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the well-known calming and restorative properties of ashwagandha support restful sleep. Ashwagandha is a part of some of our best-selling sleep aids as a result. It includes Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Nightly Restore and Gaia Herbs SleepThru. Jujube, Magnolia, and Passionflower, which are calming, are used in Sleep Thru to promote restful sleep for sporadic insomnia. Ashwagandha is also added to provide adaptogenic support for a healthy stress response. After all, when you’re stressed, it might be hard to fall asleep.
Nightly Adrenal Health Recover contains additional adaptogens like Reishi and Cordyceps mushrooms as well as nutrients for the adrenal glands. It has an impact on the body’s sleep patterns and stress response.
Dosage of ashwagandha
How much ashwagandha to take and how to take it depends on the condition that a person is trying to treat. A standard dosage is not supported by current clinical trials. Different dosages have been used in various studies. Several analyses A reputable source claims that taking 250–600 mg per day can help you feel less stressed. Other studies employed much higher dosages.
The dosages of ashwagandha in capsules typically range from 250 to 1,500 mg. The herb can be purchased as a capsule, powder, or liquid extract. Occasionally, unpleasant side effects from high doses can occur. It is best to speak about safety and dosage with a healthcare provider before starting any new herbal supplements, including ashwagandha.
Exist any unfavorable outcomes?
Most people typically tolerate ashwagandha in small to medium doses. To fully explore any potential side effects, however, more extensive long-term studies are needed. When taken in large doses, ashwagandha can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and digestive upset. Irritation of the intestinal mucosa may be the cause of this.
Is it protected?
Pregnant women shouldn’t take ashwagandha because it can cause early labor and fetal distress. Another potential problem with Ayurvedic herbs is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate manufacturers. This implies that they are not subject to the same standards as companies that produce drugs and food. Herbs may be contaminated with heavy metals or they may not even contain the herb itself. Consumers should research the manufacturer before purchasing any product.
Forecast for Ashwagandha
Can ashwagandha’s rising demand affect its supply in the future? There might be a severe raw material shortage. It might become challenging to find in stores. Dr. Jithesh asserts that as demand rises, so must agriculturally output. Will a rise in demand have an impact on the price of ashwagandha when it enters the market? “When using ashwagandha, we must exercise extreme caution. The various ashwagandha plants are unique. It needs to be grown in a hygienic, controlled, uniform, and organic way to preserve its chemical composition and, consequently, its effectiveness. According to Dr. Kaul, a company using ashwagandha must carry out background checks and research to ensure its quality.
While ashwagandha has not received much attention in recent literature. Numerous healing qualities have been mentioned in ancient medical texts. Laboratories are looking into its capacity to treat some of the scariest diseases in the world, such as cancer. As the benefits of ashwagandha become better known in the post-pandemic world. It only makes sense that more people will use it to get a stronger, more rested, and more active body.
Using ashwagandha in a complementary manner
Even though ashwagandha can be taken by itself, most Ayurvedic medical professionals suggest combining it with other herbs. Synergistic refers to the interaction or cooperative effort of two or more components to produce a combined effect. It is more significant than the sum of its parts.
As a result, Ashwagandha by itself may have benefits. The synergistic approach offers even greater benefits when you take a variety of herbs at once. Consequently, we also include additional herbs like Cordyceps, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, and Schisandra in a significant amount of our ashwagandha products. We advise speaking with a certified herbalist or Ayurvedic practitioner for more details and personalized recommendations.
Ask your doctor about ashwagandha
Ashwagandha and other medicines you’re taking may interact. Therefore, it’s imperative to speak with your doctor before including ashwagandha in your diet. Ashwagandha is a member of the nightshade family. If you are allergic to other nightshade plants like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, or potatoes, you may also be allergic to ashwagandha. However, rather than using the berries of the plant, the majority of ashwagandha supplements use their roots. You might therefore be able to manage it better.
Once more, talk to your doctor before adding Ashwagandha to your regular wellness routine.
Ashwagandha for Health and Well-Being
Ashwagandha has a wide range of potential health benefits, which have been covered in this article. It includes support for the brain and cognitive function, stress management, energy, the immune system, and sleep. Additionally, you won’t be preparing your favorite dishes with this adaptogenic herb. You can take a potent dose of herbal remedies like Golden Milk, Adrenal Health Daily Support, or Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root. Because of all that it can do for your body, ashwagandha is a well-loved herb for wellness and health, and we think you’ll love it too.