Ayurveda, Health

Ashwagandha (withania somnifera) – benefits, side effects and dosage

ashwagandha

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) is considered as one of the most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. The name Ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “smell of the horse” and is said to impart to the male of our species the sexual stamina of a stallion 😀

Ayurvedic and Unani medicine describe it as “Indian ginseng” even though botanically, ginseng and Ashwagandha are unrelated.

Why Use Ashwagandha?

Do you suffer from any of these common symptoms?

  • Stress
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy

The use of Aswagandha can help alleviate these symptoms and support an energetic and rejuvenating sense of wellbeing.

Top benefits of Ashwagandha

1. For Sexual Wellness

sexual wellness

The name Ashwagandha refers to the virility of a stallion, and in this sense it is considered to be one of the premier sexual restoratives used by the branch of Ayurveda that is concerned with the treatment of infertility, called vajikarana rasayana tantra.

It is more often thought of as a herb for men used in the treatment on ED (erectile dysfunction). Several researches have validated this angle of perspective and shown that it in helpful in improving the blood circulation throughout the body and enhances sperm quality and motility naturally [1]

2. Increases stamina and endurance

It is great for athletes i.e runner or swimmer or any type of athletes out there doing any types of exercise the herb promotes recovery as well as stamina and endurance.

3. For managing stress

stress

Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension, which can lead to under performance and adverse clinical conditions. Adaptogens are herbs that help in combating stress. Ashwagandha is a safe and effective adaptogen. One of the study shows that a total of 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress were enrolled into the study after performing relevant clinical examinations and laboratory tests. They were randomized with either a placebo medicine or each capsule contained 300 mg of high-concentration full-spectrum extract from the root of the Ashwagandha plant. The results were surprising. The treatment group that was given the high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in stress after day 60.

4. Builds muscle

It can enhance weight gain when supplemented with exercise. In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is described as a medhya rasayana, meaning that it rejuvenates the brain and nervous system.

5. Treatment of arthritis

For those who suffer from this disease know the need to find relief is a constant battle. There are many causes for arthritis – it is not a single disease. When you have joint pain due to arthritis, it is a good idea to look for natural solutions to ease the pain. Ayurveda considers this to be a vata disorder, Ashwagandha is a wonderful choice for treatment of arthritis.

6. Helpful in diabetes

Several animal studies have confirmed its ability to reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those with diabetes [2]

7. Has Anti-Cancer Properties

anti cancer

Animal studies suggest that it may be beneficial for treating several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain and ovarian cancer.

In one the study mice with ovarian tumors treated with Ashwagandha had a 70–80% reduction in tumor growth. The treatment also prevented metastasis, the spread of cancer to other organs [3]

Are there any side effects?

It is generally considered well tolerated in small to medium doses. However there are some precautions to be considered:

1. Do not use this herb if you are pregnant. It is likely unsafe during pregnancy. There is some evidence that Ashwagandha might cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the use of this herb during breast-feeding. In this regard it is better to stay on the safe side.

2. If you have diabetes do not take Ashwagandha with your prescribed medicines. It is known to lower blood sugar levels and when used with your already continued medication will make your sugar levels go even low. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.

3. As above if you have hypertension do not take Ashwagandha with your prescribed medicines. It is known to lower blood pressure levels and can interfere with your medications.

4. Stop taking Ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. It may slow down the central nervous system and makes a person calm. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect.

How much do I take?

The big question here is how much dosage should I take. There is much confusion around what should be the dosage of Ashwagandha. One interesting effect of Ashwagandha is that a small percentage of people (including me) will experience stimulatory effects after taking it. As a general rule I would suggest to start out with low dosage of 300-400mg of Ashwagandha extract. High dosage may make you very active and cause sleeplessness. I remember when I used to take 1 gram of Ashwagandha extract during my initial days I would wake up at  3 A.M and feel very active! So start with low dosage and you can take upto 1 gram of extract once you are tolerated to the low levels.

Where to buy?

You can purchase Ashwagandha powder, extracts, tea bags, oils, or capsules from your local pharmacy, supermarket, or an online retailer. I have found the following products are real authentic if you wish to buy:

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