THE'ashwagandha (withania somniferia or winter cherry) is still not a very well-known plant in North America, but because of its incredible list of benefits, it deserves to be recognized. Originally from India, it is of vital importance in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used since ancient times for its many virtues. Its growing popularity is surely no accident.
The fruits and leaves of this small bush can be eaten, but it is above all the roots that are used for their therapeutic power. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means the strength of the horse, it restores the strength and vigor of the stallion to those who are recovering from an illness.e.
What makes her so interesting is above all her unusual makeup. On the one hand, ashwagandha contains very powerful natural antioxidants, flavonoids. It also contains phenolic acids (gallic, palmitic, oleic, vanillic, coumaric, linoleic, benzoic, and syringic acids) as well as fatty acids. On the other hand, this Indian herb also contains alkaloids, catechin, steroidal lactones (including withaferin A), and kaempferol.
All of this together makes ashwagandha one of the most powerful plants in the world. Here you will learn about all the effects of this plant.
Important herb of Ayurveda
If Ayurveda is an unknown and mysterious word to you, it is in fact a form of alternative medicine based on the principles of natural healing. Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in this form of medicine. It is classified as an adaptogenic herb, meaning it can help the body deal with stress.s.
1. Chronic stress: ashwagandha and reduced cortisol levels
The chronic stress hormone, cortisol, is released in response to stress and when blood sugar levels are too low. In some cases, this can unfortunately lead to chronically elevated cortisol levels. And chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to high blood sugar and fat storage in the infamous love handles in the abdomen..
Ashwagandha has been shown in a study of adults with chronic stress to significantly lower cortisol levels, with cortisol levels falling much more significantly in the group taking ashwagandha than in the group. control.
2. Reduction of stress, anxiety and insomnia
Ashwagandha is best known for its effects on reducing stress and anxiety. This root has been shown in studies in rats to block the stress pathway in their brain. As studies show in adults, it is known to significantly reduce stress and anxiety disorders, as well as resulting insomnia.
Indeed, in Indian medicine, this herb is one of the most used therapies to fight insomnia.
3. Reduction of inflammation
Another of the main reasons this herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine is its anti-inflammatory effect. This is because the plant helps prevent and fight joint diseases, such as arthritis. Consumption of this plant helps reduce inflammatory pain.
These anti-inflammatory properties are just as interesting in the context of cardiovascular problems.
Studies show that ashwagandha increases the activity of immune cells that fight infection and therefore help you stay healthy. It has also been shown to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
4. Ashwagandha and brain functions
Some studies tend to show the positive effect of ashwagandha on problems with memory and brain function caused by injury or illness. It promotes antioxidant activity which protects nerve cells from free radicals.
In another study, healthy men who consumed 500 mg of ashwagandha extract per day reported significant improvements in their reaction time and work performance. Another 8-week study of 50 adults once again found that taking 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily significantly improved performance, attention and memory.
5. Its effects on male fertility and sexuality
Ashwagandha supplements can have powerful effects on testosterone levels and sexual and reproductive health.
On the one hand, the adaptogenic properties of this plant play a good role, since they reduce the effect of stress on the body which is often the cause of sexual disorders or dysfunctions. The plant also appears to increase testosterone levels and improve the quality and quality of sperm in men who consume it.
Important, however, not to consume in too large doses. Indeed, in case of excess, its consumption may have the opposite effect from that sought, and therefore affect the libido.
Ashwagandha offers others benefits . It is known in Ayurveda to provide energy, to reduce symptoms of depression, to improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides, to lower blood pressure, and to help regulate blood pressure levels. blood sugar, especially in type 2 diabetics. It's a simple and natural way to improve our quality of life!
Side effects and contraindications:
Although ashwagandha is known to be safe for most people in recommended dosage and is well known to scientists, it is important to consider that for some people this natural product should not be consumed.
People struggling withhyperthyroidism or other thyroid disease should be avoided, as should people onantidepressant treatments, thepregnant or breastfeeding women.
Some people should seek the advice of a healthcare practitioner before consuming ashwagandha, especially people with anautoimmune disease. Among others, those struggling withrheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and those with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Consuming ashwagandha can, in some cases, cause certain side effects. Relatively safe, they are still to be taken into consideration. In high doses, this Indian plant can cause various intestinal disorders, or even generate a hypnotic effect. Must therefore always take care to start consuming ashwagandha in small doses, and increase them over the weeks. Be aware that the dosage is individual, and each person reacts to it differently. If you experience too many symptoms, you can either reduce your dose or stop it altogether.
We take one dose in the morning and another at noon, and if necessary, you can take one before the evening meal, if you want to promote restful sleep. But do not take it before bedtime, where it could interfere with your sleep.
In conclusion, it is at the recommended dosage that the benefits of ashwagandha are truly felt. It is a powerful plant, which should be used and consumed sparingly. Don't hesitate to seek the advice of a healthcare professional or naturopath to find the best ashwagandha dosage for yourself and enjoy the benefits of the plant without experiencing any side effects!
- Biswajit Auddy, PhP; Jayaram Hazra, PhD; Achintya Mitra, MD, Bruce Abedon, PhD, Shibnath Ghosal, PhD., 2008. A Standardize Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. JANA, Vol. 11, n. 1, p. 50-56.