Ashwagandha is one of the most valuable herbs in Ayurveda, a type of substitute medicine premised on Indian innate healing concepts. For over 3,000 years, it has been adopted to reduce anxiety, boost energy levels, and maximise concentration. Ashwagandha is Sanskrit for “horse smell,” referring to both its distinct odour and its potential to boost strength. Withania somnifera is its scientific name and is also known by many other names, such as Indian ginseng and winter cherry. The Ashwagandha plant, which is indigenous to India and North Africa, is a small flowering plant with yellow flowers. A wide range of conditions is treated with extracts or powders derived from the plant’s root as well as leaves.
The History of Ashwagandha in Ayurveda
Ashwagandha is a Rasayanas or a shrub that enhances longevity, vitality, and contentment, according to Ayurveda, or Traditional Indian Medicine. Rasayanas are customarily presented as an elixir to small children and the elderly to help general well-being. Because Ashwagandha has a bitter taste, it is often dried and ground before being given as a powder combined with ghee, honey, and milk. This comforting beverage is commonly consumed before going to bed. Ashwagandha is a popular herb for the “Vata” constitution, which is attributed to air and space. Vata energy alignment promotes plump skin and joints, a good body weight, vitality, cognitive performance, and a stable nervous system. Ashwagandha has been used since ages as a natural remedy for memory, vitality, and hormonal function, which helps to maintain a healthy Vata energy alignment. It is also used to improve sleep quality, and the ground dry powder root can be applied directly to the skin to help keep joints healthy and relaxed.
It has a variety of miraculous benefits on the human body, let’s discuss some of them briefly:
1. Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of Ashwagandha is its ability to relieve stress. Cortisol levels in your body rise during stressful situations, causing your heart to beat faster and harder. You breathe fast, and your body produces more glucose to provide a rush of energy. Your brain becomes hyper-focused on potential threats, and your body enters fight or flight mode. When a stressful situation is over, cortisol levels return to normal and the symptoms usually disappear. According to research, Ashwagandha can help normalise cortisol levels, thereby lowering stress levels. Several studies have found that Ashwagandha can greatly reduce participants’ stress and anxiety levels.
2. Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Ashwagandha has been proven to show in numerous studies to reduce blood sugar levels. In one test-tube research, it was discovered that it boosted insulin secretion and enhanced insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. Furthermore, multiple human studies have indicated that it can lower blood sugar levels in both normal and diabetic people. Furthermore, in a 4-week study of people with schizophrenia, those given Ashwagandha had an average decrease in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared to 4.5 mg/dL in those given a placebo. To summarise, there seems to be sufficient proof that Ashwagandha lowers blood sugar levels through its impacts on insulin secretion and sensitivity.
3. Increases Muscle and Strength
Ashwagandha’s effectiveness in increasing strength and muscle size is still being investigated by researchers. Participants in one study reported enhanced speed and strength. Another research concluded that consuming Ashwagandha led to a boost in muscle power, as well as a lesser body fat percentage and lower cholesterol levels. Some participants reported improved sleep, but this survey did not compare Ashwagandha intake to a placebo. Another study with only male participants found that Ashwagandha treatments were effective. Men who received Ashwagandha witnessed a notable increase in muscle strength and size in their arms and chests, and a substantial decrease in body fat percentage and post-workout muscle soreness when compared to the placebo group.
4. Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men
Supplementing with Ashwagandha may have a significant impact on testosterone levels and reproductive health. In one study of 75 infertile men, the Ashwagandha group had higher sperm count and motility. Furthermore, the procedure resulted in a rise in testosterone levels. The herb-taking group also had higher antioxidant levels in their blood, according to the investigators. Another research found that men who took Ashwagandha for stress had elevated antioxidant levels and improved sperm quality. After three months of treatment, 14 per cent of the men’s partners became pregnant.
5. Improves Brain Functions
Ashwagandha could help in the improvement of cognition, memory, and the capacity to execute motor responses after commands. According to animal and test-tube studies, Ashwagandha may help with memory and brain function challenges presented by injury or disease. According to an investigation, it helps promote antioxidant capacity, which safeguards nerve cells from damaging free radicals. In one investigation, rats with epilepsy who were given Ashwagandha experienced an almost total reversal of spatial memory problems. This was most likely due to a decrease in oxidative stress. Although Ashwagandha has typically been used in Ayurveda medications to improve memory, only a limited amount of human investigation has been done in this area.
6. Improves Sexual Function in Women
At least one clinical research revealed that Ashwagandha can help women who are facing sexual dysfunction. Participants self-reported big differences in arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and fulfilment after taking Ashwagandha. It also increased the amount of fruitful sexual experiences and reduced distress related to their sex lives and sexuality.
7. Boosts Immunity
Ayurveda experts have traditionally believed that Ashwagandha is one of the most potent herbal remedies for immune system support in both children and adults. According to one animal study, Ashwagandha improved mice’s immune function by encouraging an upsurge in white blood cells. While more research is needed to confirm Ashwagandha’s position in immune support in human beings, growth in this type of white blood cell might also possibly help humans manage their own health and wellbeing for a longer period of time.
8. Greatly Influence Heart Health
Heart health is one of the most commonly asked health concerns in the twenty-first century, and many individuals are searching for natural ways to help their hearts. According to research, Ashwagandha gives antioxidant support to the heart, which may help defend it from free radicals in the blood. Furthermore, Ashwagandha may have anti-inflammatory properties that help the heart function better. According to the same study, Ashwagandha promoted healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are two major risk factors for stroke, cardiac arrest, as well as other heart issues. While more research is required to confirm these heart health benefits, the initial findings are reassuring.