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Ashwagandha Health Benefits and Side Effects

Ashwagandha Health Benefits and Side Effects

Ashwagandha is an evergreen ayurvedic shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. Ashwagandha benefits for health are famous as traditional remedies and ayurvedic health solutions. The scientific name of ashwagandha is Withania somnifera. Withanolides is the active component in ashwagandha which has several anti-inflammatory and hormone-balancing properties. Ashwagandha plant benefits are also popular for medicinal and healing purposes. It is an orange-red fruit used for ages to treat several ailments. The herb is also famously known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, as it is known for its natural healing capability. The name “ashwagandha” indicates the smell of the herb’s root where ashwa means “like a horse.” Thus, Ashwagandha’s literal meaning is horse-like power and the aroma of its roots. 

Ashwagandha benefits include boosting energy as a general tonic and reducing stress and anxiety. It does so by regulating the cortisol levels in the body. Some also claim that ashwagandha benefits even treats certain cancers, alzheimer’s disease, and anxiety disorders. To be confident about the health benefits of ashwagandha we need more promising human research. Ashwagandha benefits mental health and is also famous for improving brain function, lowering cholesterol levels, hypertension, and may also deal with symptoms of depression. The best part about ashwagandha is that it is suitable for all age groups. However, people should carefully consider the dosage and form of ashwagandha they choose. This is why it is vital to know both the benefits and side effects of the herb to make an informed choice. 

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a powerful herb in Ayurveda, the world’s oldest medical system and one of the most popular Indian healthcare systems. In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is regarded as Rasayana. Meaning, it helps maintain youth, both on mental and physical levels. Some scientific evidence also suggests that ashwagandha benefits for neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects are true. Inflammation can cause many health conditions; hence, reducing inflammation in the body can protect it against various diseases. Leaves, seeds, and fruits of ashwagandha are all used for different treatment purposes. Most studies that have tried to gather the health benefits of ashwagandha successfully noticed health improvements in animals. However, more human studies are needed to be sure of ashwagandha health benefits for humans. Let us now dive into the health benefits of ashwagandha in detail- 

1. Ashwagandha Benefits Include Lowering Cortisol Levels and Manages Stress and Anxiety in The Body

Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone released by adrenal glands. The release occurs when stress and anxiety shoot up or when blood sugar levels sink in the body. The rise in cortisol levels may affect blood sugar levels and even stimulate the production of unhealthy fats. Studies show that Ashwagandha may reduce cortisol levels significantly. A comparison study took place between severely stressed people and a control group. It concluded that regular intake of ashwagandha in stressed people resulted in a 30% low in their stress levels. 

Ashwagandha is a star performer among Ayurvedic herbs for reducing stress and anxiety. A few human studies have shown that Ashwagandha can reduce the frequent occurrence of stress and anxiety disorders among adults. Experts conducted a comparative test among people dealing with chronic stress to test this. One group of adults consumed Ashwagandha daily, and the other took only a placebo. The results showed that people consuming Ashwagandha had around a 69% reduction in their overall stress levels, decreased anxiety, and even insomnia symptoms. On the other hand, the placebo group experienced only an 11% reduction in their stress levels. Thus, similar studies have made it clear that Ashwagandha health benefits are true, and it is a terrific herbal remedy to treat anxiety and stress.

2. Another Ashwagandha Benefit Includes Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Many studies have shown that Ashwagandha can significantly deal with issues related to insulin sensitivity in the body. This is how it can lower blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes and reduce its risk in others. A small human study conducted among adults having type 2 diabetes concluded that consuming ashwagandha for 30 days continuously helped people with high blood sugar levels. Hence, experts say that Ashwagandha might help in neutralizing blood sugar levels in humans. 

3. Ashwagandha Benefits Cover Arthritis Treatment as Well

Ashwagandha may relieve joint pain and prevent pain signals from traveling along with the nervous system. As the anti-inflammatory properties are prominent ashwagandha benefits, it may soothe the pain arising out of conditions like arthritis. Some studies have shown ashwagandha as an effective treatment of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. For example, one small human study with 125 people dealing with joint pain found that the herb has potential healing properties for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Ashwagandha Benefits Assimilate Improving Cognitive Functions

Ashwagandha can make the blood’s antioxidant levels rise, protecting the nerve cells from the harmful free radicals. A study for this purpose was conducted where a group of men took 500 mg of Ashwagandha continuously for several days. After a few days, the study found that both reaction time and task performance improved in these men as compared to some other placebo groups. Thus, Ashwagandha is a natural and herbal way to enhance memory, sharpen concentration and improve the reaction time of the cognitive system of the brain. 

5. Ashwagandha Benefits Can Significantly Help With High Cholesterol and Inflammation Problems

As already mentioned above, the capability of Ashwagandha to eliminate harmful effects of free radicals from the body explains how it deals with inflammation so efficiently. Ashwagandha is a natural remedy to heal the C-reactive protein (CRP) effects, which are mainly responsible for heart-related inflammation. In addition to this, Ashwagandha benefits also include reducing cholesterol and glyceride levels in the body. Some tests on rats resulted in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 53% and 45%, respectively. But, experts observed less dramatic results in similar studies, including humans. On average, such evidence shows that cholesterol and triglycerides in humans may reduce nearly by 17% and 11%, respectively, with the help of ashwagandha health benefits. 

6. Ashwagandha Benefits Muscle Mass and Strength of The Body

According to some research evidence, continuous ashwagandha consumption may help refine the fitness and tone of the body. Ashwagandha soothes the body and improves body composition providing renewal to the body strength. The root extract of ashwagandha has shown effective results in improving muscle strength in men in one study. 

7. Ashwagandha Benefits May Deal With Symptoms of Depression

Though sufficient research evidence is not present to make strong claims, a few experts suggest that Ashwagandha may help ease symptoms of depression. For example, one controlled study revealed that a high dose of Ashwagandha offered cutting down 79% of symptoms of severe depression among people dealing with chronic stress. The placebo group, on the other hand, did not show many efficient results. However, to gather definite proof, more research is needed in this area. 

8. Ashwagandha Health Benefits Might Also Include Anti-Cancer Properties

Some animal studies indicate that prolonged use of ashwagandha might be good to fight against the growing tumor cells in the body. This was observed mainly for lung tumors in one animal testing. However, some results were so promising that experts did recognize the efficiency of ashwagandha to curb the growth and multiplication of cancer cells in the body.

Also See: Buy Ashwagandha Capsules Now

Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Most people can handle the effects of the active compound in Ashwagandha, which is called Withania Somnifera. However, some ashwagandha supplements might react differently in some people’s health. That is why it is vital to understand the potential side effects of ashwagandha and pick the supplement wisely. Let us now discuss some of the health side effects of ashwagandha- 

1. May Disturb Thyroid Treatment

The experts have recently revealed the side effects of ashwagandha for thyroid patients. Though the condition of Hypothyroidism is neutralized with the help of ashwagandha, there are a few cautions attached with the herbal supplement. Ashwagandha helps in normalizing the effects of thyroid hormones. Experts suggest that this is because ashwagandha suppresses the harmful effects of cortisol. However, Withania somnifera may not decrease the thyroid outcome until the required levels. This may lead to weight gain, heart problems, and general weakness. Moreover, most people with thyroid get treatment and medications for this condition. Most thyroid medicines already reduce the thyroid hormone output in people, so ashwagandha can interfere in this treatment.

2. May Lower Blood Pressure Levels

Ashwagandha side effects for people with low blood pressure levels can be dangerous. Although people with high blood pressure problems may welcome herbal supplements to treat high blood pressure naturally, most people take medical treatments for managing blood pressure levels. Thus, ashwagandha can interfere with the medications which people already take for blood pressure management. This is why it is vital to stay aware of ashwagandha’s potential side effects. Also, consult a healthcare professional before adding ashwagandha supplements into the routine. 

3. Ashwagandha Might Irritate The Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract

There have been some studies indicating that the anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory properties of ashwagandha, which reduce stress and anxiety, might also protect against some gastric ulcers. However, in other studies, it was observed that when an excess of ashwagandha gets into the gastrointestinal tract problems like constipation and low appetite are some side effects of ashwagandha which may arise. Some severe side effects of ashwagandha are ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal tract, and diarrhea.

Also See: When Is The Best Time To Take Ashwagandha?

4. May Cause Complications in Pregnancy

Pregnant women should always be aware of the potential side effects of ashwagandha or any other supplement. They must seek their doctor’s advice before making any dietary changes. While it is vital to try new ways to keep pregnancy stress at bay, ashwagandha is not helpful for this type of stress. In fact, ashwagandha contains some herbal compounds which may become one factor for severe incidences such as miscarriage, premature births, and uterine contractions. 

5. May Affect Blood Sugar Levels

The side effects of ashwagandha are under scrutiny. Though it has been claimed that ashwagandha may reduce the problems associated with insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, the research in this area is very limited. Moreover, diabetes is a complicated health condition that does not require skeptical treatments. 

6. May Amplify Autoimmune Diseases

Ashwagandha can boost immunity which is surely a good thing. However, people with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, erythematosus, systemic lupus, etc. may observe worsening symptoms of such health conditions. Hence one prominent side effect of ashwagandha can be the body’s immune system fighting itself while dealing with an autoimmune disease. Thus, it is best for people with autoimmune diseases to avoid ashwagandha supplements.

Also See: Best Immunity Booster Herbs in Ayurveda

Ashwagandha Dosage

The dosage of ashwagandha and the way of using the herb depends upon the condition one is willing to treat with the ayurvedic supplement. Experts are not sure of the standard dosage as no clinical trials suggest any particular prescription amount. This is why different experts recommend different ashwagandha dosages as per the health condition of the patient. Some reliable sources suggest that taking 250–600 mg ashwagandha per day is sufficient to treat stress using. Some studies also suggest that higher doses than this are safe for consumption.

Capsule dosages of ashwagandha often range between 250 and 1,500 mg of ashwagandha. The herb is available in the form of powder famously known as ashwagandha churna, capsules, and liquid extract. In a few cases, taking higher doses of the herbal supplement may cause unpleasant side effects. Thus, it is vital to speak with a healthcare professional regarding the safety and dosage before adding any new herbal supplements to the routine, including ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha is thus a herbal treatment in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb has scientific backing for improving stress, anxiety, and even problems like arthritis in an all-natural way. However, because any supplement can interfere with modern medical treatments, pregnant women and people with preexisting health conditions should speak with their doctor before using ashwagandha.

Also See: Ashwagandha Benefits for Skin

Researchers cannot speak with certainty regarding the ashwagandha health benefits because most studies were conducted on animals. Hence more research is needed in this area, where without any ambiguity, it can be said that ashwagandha health benefits work well for all. Moreover, before adding any ashwagandha supplement into the routine, people should take a previous nod from the doctors.

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