Ashwagandha is a very powerful and medicinal herb that has many health benefits. It is primarily found in North India and has been used since ancient times. Ashwagandha provides several advantages like reducing stress, boosting immunity, increasing energy levels, improving muscle strength, enhancing fertility and much more.
In this article we will learn about the benefits of ashwagandha, its proper usage, dosage and side effects.
Table of Contents
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is also known as Withania Somnifera as it is found in the dry regions of Africa, Middle East and India. It is a short woody shrub with red berry fruits. The roots are dried and powdered which are used in ayurvedic medicines and supplements. The leaves, roots and berries of ashwagandha are full of medicinal properties and used in various ayurvedic treatments.
Ashwagandha contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antibacterial, cardioprotective and other such properties that make it a very potent and effective herbal remedy.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
- Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety – Many studies have proven that ashwagandha is very effective in reducing stress and anxiety. It helps calm the nervous system and also regulates stress hormones like cortisol.
- Boosts Immunity – The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ashwagandha can strengthen immunity. It protects immune cells from infections by its antioxidant activity.
- Increases Energy and Stamina – Ashwagandha improves energy metabolism which helps us stay more energetic and active. It also reduces fatigue.
- Builds Muscle Strength – Numerous studies have shown that ashwagandha can help in building muscle mass and strength. It boosts protein synthesis and hence stimulates muscle growth.
- Controls Blood Sugar Levels – Ashwagandha may be beneficial for diabetics as it helps lower blood sugar levels. It improves insulin sensitivity in the body.
- Enhances Memory and Focus – There are many brain health benefits of ashwagandha. It improves memory power and cognitive function. It is also helpful for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Lowers Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels – Ashwagandha helps improve heart health by increasing HDL cholesterol and reducing LDL and VLDL cholesterols.
- Maintains Blood Pressure – Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, ashwagandha helps lower blood pressure and heart rate.
- Beneficial for Infertility in Males and Females – Ashwagandha increases testosterone levels and improves male fertility and sperm count/motility. In females too it balances hormones and improves fertility.
- Has Anti-Cancer Properties – The antioxidants like withanoloides in ashwagandha help prevent and stop cancer cell growth. It also has immunomodulating effects.
- Relieves Joint Pain and Arthritis – Being anti-inflammatory in nature, ashwagandha is very effective in reducing joint pain and arthritis. It alleviates pain and stiffness.
- Improves Skin Health – The antioxidant and antimicrobial properties help get rid of skin problems like acne, wrinkles and make the skin youthful.
- Enhances Sleep Quality – The neuroprotective effects help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia.
- Helps Reduce Depression – Many studies have proven that ashwagandha can help reduce depression and mood disorders as it strengthens the nervous system.
- Improves Digestion and Gut Health – It is also beneficial for gastrointestinal problems. It relieves constipation, ulcers and improves absorption of nutrients.
Scientific Studies on Benefits of Ashwagandha
There are scientific studies that prove the many benefits of ashwagandha:
- A study found that ashwagandha can reduce anxiety and stress within 8-12 weeks. It also balances stress hormones.
- Ashwagandha was found to boost immunity by enhancing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in a study. It also increases WBCs count.
- A double-blind placebo controlled study observed the efficacy of ashwagandha in increasing muscle mass and strength. It stimulates protein synthesis.
- Scientists have found that ashwagandha improves various brain functions like memory, focus, reaction time etc.
- A study on 237 male infertility patients saw improved sperm quality and 34% of subjects managed to get their partners pregnant after taking ashwagandha.
- For PCOS related female fertility issues also ashwagandha helps by regulating menstrual cycles.
- Multiple studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of ashwagandha on heart health, lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure etc.
- Ashwagandha has been found to improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients by its neuroprotective effects.
- The antioxidants in ashwagandha like withanoloides help prevent and slow down growth of cancer cells. It also has immunomodulating properties.
Thus the many benefits of ashwagandha are backed by scientific studies and evidence. But it needs to be taken in the right way to get optimal results.
How to Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha can be consumed in various ways:
- Ashwagandha Powder – The dried root powder is the most common form. 1-2 grams can be taken with water or milk.
- Ashwagandha Capsules – Ashwagandha capsules are easily available and can be taken 2 times a day.
- Ashwagandha Leaves – The leaves can also be chewed raw or boiled in tea.
- Ashwagandha Tea – The powder can be added to tea for consumption.
- Ashwagandha Oil – The oil extract can be used topically for massage.
- Ashwagandha Milk – The powder can be mixed in milk or turmeric milk.
These are good ways to incorporate ashwagandha. The powder or capsules should be taken daily for best results.
The dosage of ashwagandha depends on individual needs and health condition. General dosage is:
- Ashwagandha Powder – 1-2 grams or 1 teaspoon daily
- Ashwagandha Capsules – 300mg to 600mg capsules once or twice per day
- Ashwagandha Tea – 1-2 grams powder in tea once daily
For specific health conditions like fertility, doctor’s advice should be taken for accurate dosage.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has minimal side effects when taken in the right dosage. Some people may experience:
- Avoid taking ashwagandha during pregnancy.
- Excessive dosage can cause drowsiness, nausea.
- Those with thyroid issues should consult a doctor before taking it.
- It should be taken under medical supervision if you have any health condition or take any medication.
So always take the right dosage of ashwagandha and see a doctor if any adverse effects are noticed. Most people do not experience any side effects with its use.
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Males and Females
Ashwagandha has many benefits for both men and women. It can improve health and well-being in both.
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Males
- Increases testosterone level
- Improves sperm quality and count
- Boosts libido
- Treats erectile dysfunction
- Alleviates male infertility
- Builds muscle mass
- Reduces fatigue and lethargy
- Strengthens stamina
- Supports heart health
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Females
- Corrects hormonal imbalances
- Relieves menstrual problems
- Stimulates breast milk production
- Improves female fertility
- Treats PCOS, PMS issues
- Reduces mood swings and depression
- Builds bone and muscle strength
- Enhances skin health
- Aids weight loss
In this way, both men and women can derive multiple health benefits from ashwagandha. It is an extremely valuable ayurvedic herb.
FAQs about Ashwagandha
1. How long does it take for ashwagandha to work?
Ashwagandha usually starts showing its effects within 2-3 weeks of regular use. For problems like stress and blood pressure, the difference will be felt within 1 week. But benefits like muscle gain, endurance may take a little longer, like 4-8 weeks. Other benefits will also be visible soon.
2. Should ashwagandha be taken in morning or night?
It is usually advised to take ashwagandha in the morning on an empty stomach. Since it provides energy and stamina, taking it in the morning keeps you active throughout the day. But some people also take it at night for better sleep. You can choose your suitable time of consumption.
3. How to make ashwagandha powder at home?
To make ashwagandha powder, first thoroughly clean and dry the ashwagandha roots and leaves separately. Keep them in the shade to completely dry them out. Once dried, crush them into a fine powder using a mixer grinder. This fresh powder can then be used for consumption.
4. How long does it take for ashwagandha to work?
The benefits of ashwagandha usually become visible within 2-4 weeks if taken regularly. You will soon notice increased energy and stamina. It also reduces stress quickly. Muscle gain may take a little longer, like 4-8 weeks. But overall the advantages manifest quite fast.
5. At what age can ashwagandha be taken?
Ashwagandha provides benefits for people of all age groups, but the dosage differs. For example:
18-35 years – 500-600 mg per day
35-50 years – 600-1000 mg per day
50+ years – 1000-1200 mg per day
So people of any age group can take ashwagandha, just maintain the right dosage as per age.
6. What are the benefits of ashwagandha?
Some key benefits of ashwagandha include:
Reduces stress and anxiety
Increases muscle strength
Controls blood sugar levels
Improves male fertility
Enhances memory and focus
Elevates energy levels
Promotes skin health
Lowers heart disease risk
Induces better sleep
Relieves joint pain
7. How should ashwagandha be taken?
Ashwagandha can be taken with milk or water. Some other beneficial combinations are:
With ginger and tulsi
Mixed in milk
These combinations can help in better absorption of nutrients. So you can take ashwagandha along with any of these.
8. What are the side effects of ashwagandha?
Some possible side effects of ashwagandha include:
But these occur only when taken in very high doses. There are no side effects in the normal recommended dosage. It should also be avoided in pregnancy.
9. When should ashwagandha be taken?
Ashwagandha is usually recommended to be taken in the morning on an empty stomach. This helps provide energy and vitality for the entire day. But it can be taken at any time of the day based on individual needs and convenience.
10. How to use ashwagandha powder?
Ashwagandha powder can be mixed with milk, water, ghee, honey etc. Some other ways to use it are:
In turmeric milk
Added in curry or vegetables
Taken along with bread
These are some ways you can incorporate ashwagandha powder in your daily routine.