Ashwagandha Plant Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects
Ashwagandha is basically an herb that is used as a mood reliever and works best during stress periods by the mechanism which involves lowering the cortisol level and regulating thyroid functions and all imbalances in the body.
The origin of Ashwagandha dates back to ancient India, where people used it to treat diseases.It caters to illness in a certain part of the body without affecting the other organs or systems; this is the sole reason why Ashwagandha is used as a traditional multipurpose herb. Ashwagandha is called “Rasayana” in Ayurveda. The main function of Ashwagandha is to defend the body from external stimuli like toxins, eliminate them and restore positive and fresh energy within the body. This medicinal herb has numerous properties like anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety, dues to which it is considered a very valuable herb.
It is even beneficial for people with low iron levels in their body as it regulates the level of iron in the body. It consists of different chemicals and alkaloids that act as anti-tumoral, so it can be used in tumor therapy. It is enriched with antioxidants; these are the substances that protect the body from external damage caused by free radicals.
Many doctors use it as a stress-relieving agent and recommend their patients to use this medicinal herb too. It is not just a stress-relieving agent, but it also protects the brain from degenerative diseases.
Benefits of Ashwagandha Plant:
Ashwagandha is an Ayurveda plant that is best known for its therapeutic properties as reducing anxiety and relieving stress, boosting metabolism, improving the brain’s function and activity. These benefits are discussed as below:
Stabilizes The Thyroid Function:
One of the best functions of the Ashwagandha plant is that it stabilizes the thyroid hormones. It works in both conditions of hyperthyroidism as well as hypothyroidism. Even though a very small amount of research has been conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha, the results show that it can stabilize thyroid function in the body.
Reduces Anxiety and Acts As Stress Reliever:
The past couple of years has seen a massive rise in anxiety and stress all over the world as we continue to fight uncertainty every day after COVID.
Due to this, people usually move towards over-the-counter medication and other solutions to reduce the level of stress and anxiety in their everyday lives; however, there is now a more natural solution available to you – Ashwagandha.
The sole reason why many people use Ashwagandha is due to its stress-relieving and anti-anxiety properties. Its mechanism is it lowers the cortisol level that keeps the person calm throughout the time.
In a recent study in Indian Journal, it was published that the Ashwagandha plant improvises the person’s effect towards stress by keeping the person calm in high to under pressure situations.
Antioxidant and Detoxifying Agent:
With the number of artificial flavors and oxidants that we consume on a daily basis, it is important to have something in your daily routine that offsets the effects of our usual lifestyle.
For this, Ashwagandha can be a very good option since it has antioxidant properties that prevent the body from infections, and it also acts as a detoxifying agent that clears free radicals from the body and prevents certain illnesses. Ashwagandha also acts as an anti-tumor agent.
Improves Brain Function And Enhances Memory:
There are many reasons why people explore options that can help in improving their brain function or enhance their memory. From excelling in their lives and careers to adding more to their personality, different people have different reasons for exploring this particular domain.
It is theorized that Ashwagandha improves memory by increasing the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that enhances memory. The herb contains withanolides which are the active ingredients of Ashwagandha. These withanolides ultimately increase the production of acetylcholine.
Supports Immune System Health
Due to the food intake patterns that people have developed in the 21st century, the immune system of many have started to get compromised. With the rise in fast-food and multiple forms of medication, the immune system of an average individual is now less effective than it used to be in the past. This is why it is important to work on improving it as a whole.
Ashwagandha is one of the most effective herbs for boosting the immune system. It has been shown to increase Th1 and Th2 cells, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the effects of stress.
With the rise in chronic inflammation, many people are turning to Ashwagandha for their health. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body by preventing ACTH from being released into the brain. This then reduces cortisol levels and allows for more of an anti-inflammatory response.
Helps in Treating Insomnia
Do you feel difficulty in sleeping? In a recent research report, it was mentioned that more than 50 to 70 million people living in the US experience some form of sleep disorder. Though some of them could be associated with a predisposed medical condition, a wide majority of people are insomniac due to their fast-paced lives.
Ashwagandha has long been used in India and other Asian countries to promote calmness and relaxation. Its use has been growing in the last few years, with studies showing that it is effective for treating insomnia.
Helps With Depression
The global statistics associated with depression have grown to alarming levels in recent times. As these statistics continue to grow, researchers have been trying to find the root causes associated with them and ways with which they can solve them.
Researchers have long been exploring the link between depression and anxiety, but these studies have yet to find a definite cause. However, in one recent study, researchers found that Ashwagandha can help alleviate symptoms of depression & anxiety. As the world of mental health is continuously being researched for more answers, it is important to keep exploring new avenues for solutions.
Maintains Healthy Blood Pressure
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it can help your body balance its response to stress by regulating the impact of cortisol on the mind and body. Stressful situations often lead to increased blood pressure levels. By naturally reducing stress, Ashwagandha can be effective in maintaining your overall health.
Helps In Treating Asthma
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is a much-used Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to cure various health disorders ranging from inflammation to heart diseases.
One of the many benefits of this herb is that it can be used in the treatment of asthma. So for people who are suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, then consuming Ashwagandha can help you a great deal.
Ideal Dosage of Ashwagandha:
Wondering how much of Ashwagandha you should take? Ideally, it is the root extract of Ashwagandha that people usually prefer. This is why any supplement with this extract should be beneficial for you.
It is usually available in both a powder and capsule form; however, many people who take this regularly usually prefer to take it in a capsule form because of the smell associated with the herb.
The smell itself might be nauseating for some, which is why it is better to start with a capsule rather than a powder form.
Next – let’s talk about the dosage with which you can start. A good way to start with Ashwagandha is with 500mg and then eventually increase up to around 1 to 2 grams every day. Some people prefer to take it in the morning in their tea or a shake so that they can keep the rest of their day stress-free.
However, it is important to continuously monitor yourself for any side effects as you move along so that you can take corrective measures immediately or pause during its course. In addition to this, it is usually not recommended to start off with a high dose as the body might not be ready to handle all the effects of the herb in a short span of time.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha:
Even though this herb is considered to be safe due to it being natural, there are still a few side effects that people can experience from it.
The few common side effects of Ashwagandha are:
It Can Cause Nausea And Vomiting In Some People
The experts say that you won’t be able to take large doses of Ashwagandha because if you take larger doses, they may even trigger unwanted side effects, such as vomiting and diarrhea. However, if you split it into smaller doses, rather than taking one large dose at a time, you will get the most benefits from this plant.
It Can Cause Low Blood Pressure And Heart Rate In Some People
Ashwagandha might lower blood pressure. Other than generic benefits, this can be dangerous in people who already have low blood pressure or are on medication to treat high pressure. Hence, you should talk to your physician before including Ashwagandha in your diet.
It Can Cause Liver Damage In Some People
Relatively more cases of clinically-identifiable liver damage have been documented in patients taking commercial supplements that were supposedly made with Ashwagandha.
The liver injury had emerged 2 to 12 weeks after starting Ashwagandha and tended to show up as cholestasis, or some patients had a mixed pattern which included injury, jaundice, and pruritus.
It Can Cause Weight Loss In Some People
Ashwagandha can cause weight loss in some people because it contains compounds that are known to help the body burn fat and regulate blood sugar levels. Though the idea of weight loss might seem good to some, if done rapidly, it might become a nuisance for others.
It Can Cause Dry Mouth In Some People
The intake of too much Ashwagandha can cause dry mouth in certain individuals. This is because the herb contains a component called tropine, which has a drying effect on the mouth.
This effect may be so strong that it dries out the mouth permanently and may have even caused death to some people in rare cases.
Precautions for Using Ashwagandha
As with any form of medicine or supplement, it is important to understand the list of precautions associated with using it. Here are a few precautions that you should keep in mind whenever going forward with including this herb in your daily intake
Studies have found that Ashwagandha may cause miscarriages in women who are pregnant. The studies were conducted on rats and mice, but the results are still concerning.
Ashwagandha is believed to have many health benefits, but there isn’t enough reliable information to know if it’s safe to use when breastfeeding. So it is usually recommended to avoid it because of its uncertainty while you’re nursing.
The use of Ashwagandha as a supplement should be done with caution because it can cause an overactive immune system and worsen symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Before and After Surgery
Although Ashwagandha might slow down the central nervous system, that doesn’t mean it has any effect on surgery. If you’re going into surgery in a couple of weeks, stop taking Ashwagandha at least 2 weeks beforehand.
In a nutshell, Ashwagandha can be considered an effective herb with a series of benefits associated with it. From its ability to keep you calm and stress-free to helping you maintain your anxiety, sleep disorders, and even depression, this miracle herb can become an important part of your daily routine.
However, as it is true with everything else, one needs to keep an eye on the dosage level that they start off with and the optimum level that their body can support in order to avoid the side effects associated with it.
Lastly, if you currently take any form of medication for any medical condition, it is important to discuss it with your physician before including it in your daily routine so that you can stay safe.