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Ashwagandha: This is a herb, initially grown in India, also in the Middle East and some parts of Africa. As the name signifies, ‘Ashwa’ meaning ‘horse’ and ‘gandha’ means ‘smell’. So the herb smells like horse and doesn’t taste good either. But, this herb is well known for its exceptional medicinal properties. It is used in Ayurvedic Medicine from an ancient time. Its botanical name is “Withania Somnifera”. Since it has some fantastic health benefits, various researches have been carried out across the world to prove it’s efficacy. Well yes, this herb has been considered safe and now widely been used as a supplement for various health issues and overall good health.
Scientifically, this herb is an adaptogen, meaning that it adapts the requirement of the body. It balances the body’s homeostasis depending upon the emotional and physiological stresses by strengthening the nervous, endocrine and immune system. The main medicinal compound found in this herb is called ‘Withanolides’. It is found beneficial for both men and women’s health and can be used in case of children too.
The top benefits of Ashwagandha:
1.Ashwagandha helps to boost the overall health, enhances the immune system, increases muscle growth and power. It increases stamina and endurance power.
2. Reduces stress and anxiety: Ashwagandha reduces the level of cortisol and empowers the adrenal health. It can improve the mood by acting as a natural antidepressant. It improves sleep quality by reducing stress and anxiety and calming the mind.
3.Aswagandha benefits the thyroid health. It helps to keep a balance of the different thyroid hormones. As it is an adaptogen, it can benefit in overall balance of thyroid hormones so it helpful in thyroid issues. But studies shows that it is more effective in hypothyroidism than hyperthyroidism.
3. It is highly beneficial for brain health. It can reduce inflammation in the brain, improves neuronal health and memory. It is used successfully to improve conditions like Parkinsonism, Alzheimer’s disease. It can help to improve focus and concentration, so it is used in cases of ADHD too.
4. It can be beneficial in both males and females by improving the reproductive health and endocrine system. So, it has been used successfully in case of males to improve the level of testosterone.
5. Studies suggest that it has anti-cancer properties and prevent the growth of new cancer cells. More shreds of evidence are required in this regard.
6. It can lower the blood sugar level as it improves the insulin secretion and increases insulin sensitivity. It can also lower cholesterol level and so is heart-friendly.
Since it is a natural herb from a green shrub, its root, leaves and different parts of the plant are used in Ayurvedic medicine. But the most widely used is the root powder extract. It is available in capsules and powder form. The ideal dose as a supplement is 500mg once or twice daily depending upon the individual body types and body weight. The best way to take the dose is at a convenient timing after a meal. A healthy diet is advisable along with the herb to get the best possible result. Since it has a robust medicinal compound, it has to be always used under Expert advice.
Though considered safe, like all herbs, overdosing can lead to toxicity.
Some of the side effects are important to note before using this herb.
1.Drug interaction: People using medicines for thyroid, blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases should never carelessly use this herb. Because, using this herb, can interfere with the efficacy of the other medicines used. So, this herb should be used only before advice by the treating Physician.
2.Large doses of Ashwagandha can cause gastrointestinal irritations like vomiting, stomach upset and diarrhoea. People should not use it if one suffers from a stomach ulcer.
3.Pregnancy and breastfeeding women should avoid using this herb as it can cause a harmful effect.
4.It can cause sedation when taken in excess or along with antidepressant pills.
5. It is better to avoid using this herb in individual who are opting for surgery as it can slows down the central nervous system.
Thanks for reading.
Blessings and much love to all 💐
(The intent of this post is mainly informational)