Ashwagandha I What is it? I 8 useful properties
AShwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, has long been used as a medicinal herb in traditional and Ayurvedic medicine. 1 Ashwagandha root and leaf powder has long been used in India to boost energy, relieve stress, and boost immunity. Today, we know that this herb can provide potential health benefits by improving performance and overall well-being. Today, you can find on sale preparations with ashwagandha, which have gained popularity among those who lead a healthy lifestyle. So, let’s take a closer look at the beneficial properties of this plant.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen. This is the name of plants that help to improve well-being in general, increase energy and resistance to stress. Adaptogens regulate the ratio of hormones and neurotransmitters that are involved in the stress response. Cortisol is one of these hormones.
Adaptogens also protect the body from aging, improve concentration, reduce fatigue, improve the health of the male and female reproductive system.
Useful properties of ashwagandha
This ancient plant has many beneficial properties.
1. May Help With Stress
In the two-month study, researchers compared stress levels in two groups of those who took ashwagandha supplements and those who did not. 2 Scientists believe that ashwagandha may block the way stress signals are sent to the brain. The study found significantly lower levels of stress in the group of people who took ashwagandha regularly.
2. Supports Thyroid Health
Studies in people with non-clinical hypothyroidism have shown beneficial effects of ashwagandha on thyroid function. 3 Reduced thyroid function may be associated with metabolic disorders. This is an important finding – treating this condition can help prevent serious health consequences. 3
3. May Promote Weight Loss
Ashwagandha not only helps the body fight stress, it also reduces cortisol production. 1 Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone”. Usually in those who lose weight, its concentration in the blood is increased.
Decreased cortisol levels and support for thyroid function may contribute to weight loss.
4. Reduces body fat
Studies conducted on healthy adults who took ashwagandha regularly showed a reduction in body fat percentage over a 30-day period. 4
These are promising results that could help improve body composition, but more long-term studies in more people are needed to be sure.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
The same study mentioned above showed a reduction in body fat percentage and showed a reduction in total cholesterol and low and very low density lipoproteins, or so-called bad cholesterol. 4 These compounds increase the risk of clogged blood vessels, so lowering your blood levels of low-density lipoprotein will help support circulation and heart health.
Thus, it can be said that taking ashwagandha preparations can serve as a prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
6. Increases strength and improves recovery
Ashwagandha improves strength performance by increasing testosterone levels and improving muscle sensitivity to insulin.
The study, which was conducted over eight weeks on healthy volunteers, showed an improvement in strength performance. In parallel with their strength training, the subjects took ashwagandha. At the end of the experiment, it was noted that the subjects also built up much more muscle mass than the men in the placebo group. 5
This study also showed other promising results among those who took ashwagandha – less muscle damage and higher testosterone levels.
7. May Improve Attention and Memory
Keeping your brain healthy is just as important as exercising your muscles. Studies that have examined the effects of ashwagandha on cognition have shown that it can improve memory and prolong concentration. 6 Such properties of the plant can be very useful when you need to focus on a difficult task or prepare for an important exam.
8. May Help With Some Illnesses
Studies have shown that the active chemicals in this plant can help treat inflammation and cardiovascular disease, which can lead to serious health problems. 1
Of course, in order to confidently talk about the positive effect of ashwagandha in the treatment of certain diseases, more research is needed. Reducing inflammation can lead to positive changes in the course of many diseases. For example, reducing inflammation can help relieve pain caused by arthritis.
Summary: There is strong evidence that ashwagandha can improve both mental and physical health.
Dosage and side effects
In the studies conducted, the dosage ranged from 200 mg to 600 mg per day. There were no negative side effects identified. 2,3,4,5,6
Although studies have not reported negative side effects at low and medium doses, it remains unclear if ashwagandha can be combined with medications. It is possible that very large doses can lead to negative side effects such as stomach upset or liver damage. 2
Current research suggests that the benefits of ashwagandha outweigh the known side effects.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new drug.
Ashwagandha has been used as a medicinal plant in some cultures for many years. Recent clinical studies are promising. However, while research has shown a number of health benefits of ashwagandha, more research is still needed to understand exactly how it works and how to get the most benefit from its use.