Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb that assists the body in handling stress, anxiety, fertility issues and other ailments.
Ashwagandha is not formally recognized as a Sanjeevini herb, but many people believe that it is a modern ‘Sanjeevini’ as it has powerful healing and restorative properties.
Ashwa is a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘Horse’
Gandha is another Sanskrit word, meaning ‘Smell’
Some Interesting Facts about Ashwagandha
- Ashwagandha, as the name suggests really smells like Horse! Smell is subjective and for some it maybe an unpleasant odor.
- Ashwagandha is a plant or herb that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to help support the body’s natural physical and mental health.
- The plant is native to India, where it is used to treat a variety of ailments, including stress, fatigue, insomnia, male/female fertility issues,asthma, and joint pain.
- The scientific name for ashwagandha is Withania somnifera, commonly referred to as winter cherry.
- It is a small shrub with yellow flowers and dark green leaves. The herb is harvested and dried before being used in herbal remedies.
The plant is primarily known for its root, which is used for medicinal purposes. The root of the plant is used in many different forms, including powder, capsules, and liquid extracts.
Ashwagandha: Common Questions & Answers
What are the health benefits of ashwagandha and how does it work in the body?
Researches suggest that ashwagandha may have a wide range of benefits, including decreasing stress, improving energy levels, and increasing physical performance.
It may also work to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and improve heart health. Ashwagandha is believed to work by modulating the body’s stress response.
It works to increase the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It also helps to reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.
By decreasing levels of cortisol, ashwagandha helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
It is popularly being used as a libido enhancer too in the recent years.
How does ashwagandha work in the body to promote stress relief and relaxation?
At the molecular level, ashwagandha works to promote stress relief and relaxation by decreasing cortisol, a stress hormone, and increasing serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters associated with feelings of well-being.
It also increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and can reduce anxiety.
Ashwagandha works in the body by modulating the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is the body’s main stress response system, and consists of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands.
When the body is faced with a stressor, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which signals the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
How to consume Ashwagandha for health benefits?
Uncommon way to consume ashwagandha is by adding it to a smoothie, herbal tea or juice. The herb can be blended into a smoothie or juice in order to create a unique flavor.
However, many people can’t tolerate the strong aroma of ashwagandha. So, it should be combined with other aromatic herbal ingredients.
The most common way to consume ashwagandha is in its herbal supplement form. This form is typically derived from dried root powder, and is often combined with other herbs, such as ginseng, turmeric, and shatavari. It is also available in capsule, liquid, and tincture forms.
The dosage often varies between individuals, and it is recommended to start with a lower dosage and increase gradually.
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for women’s reproductive health?
Ashwagandha is thought to help improve overall reproductive health in women by increasing the production of hormones responsible for fertility.
It is also believed to help regulate the menstrual cycle by balancing the hormones that control it. This can help reduce irregular periods and other menstrual issues that can interfere with conception.
Ashwagandha is also thought to improve reproductive health by increasing blood circulation to the reproductive organs. This can help enhance women’s fertility chance by increasing the ability of the vagina & uterus to quickly absorb sperm.
It can also help to improve egg quality, which is important for successful fertilization.
Ashwagandha benefits for men’s fertility issues
One of the main ways ashwagandha may improve male fertility is by increasing sperm count and motility.
One study found that men taking ashwagandha for three months had an average increase in sperm count of 53% and an increase in sperm motility of 57%.
Another study found that men taking ashwagandha had higher levels of testosterone, which is important for healthy sperm production. The Ashwagandha Churna is prescribed in Ayurveda for libido enhancement [Kama Vardhak].
The Churna made with other herbs like Shatavari & Shilajit maybe effective remedy for ‘erectile dysfunction’. (ED means, penis not getting hard enough to perform sexual intercourse)
Ashwagandha may also improve male fertility by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be caused by environmental toxins, such as smoking or exposure to certain chemicals, as well as by emotional stress.
Ashwagandha benefits for athletes and sportsman
Ashwagandha is thought to boost energy levels by increasing the production of the hormones testosterone and reduction of cortisol.
These hormones are important for improving athletic performance, as they help the body to produce more energy, build muscle mass, and increase strength.
This means that athletes may be able to increase their strength, speed, and endurance.
In addition, Ashwagandha has been found to reduce fatigue and improve recovery time, which can be beneficial for athletes who need to train hard.
Is Ashwagandha a miracle cure?
Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Recently, it has gained popularity in the Western world as a natural remedy for a variety of health issues.
However, it’s important to note that while ashwagandha may have many potential health benefits, it’s not a miracle cure and it’s important to have realistic expectations.
Like with any natural remedy, ashwagandha requires consistent use and time to see results. It is not a quick fix for health issues and should not be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.
The Best Ashwagandha Supplement
Himalaya Ashvagandha – General Wellness Tablets is cheap & best authentic Ashwagandha supplement. You can buy 60 tablets bottle from Amazon for less than Rs 200 [Contains Amazon associates link, price subject to change]
John Babu is a Para-Medic graduate who worked in nutrition labs and supplements companies for many years. He also studied Kerala’s Ayurvedic & naturopathy treatments. Being a fitness freak he studies supplements & gadgets closely and writes about them passionately.