For centuries, people have been using herbs and ancient healing methods to treat various body ailments. Even the Indian Ayurvedic system promotes the use of such herbs in curing and preventing diseases. One such herb is Ashwagandha. It relieves stress, increases the energy and strength of the body.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit word- Ashwa means horse, and Gandha means smell. It is because of the horse-like odour of its roots, and also, the herb gives strength like a horse.
According to Ayurveda, it is given as a Rasayana or tonic. Ashwagandha Rasayana benefits the body by promoting a youthful state of physical and mental health. Ashwagandha has a large number of phytochemicals. When it is consumed, it can activate different pathways of the body leading to a positive impact on overall health. The herb increases lifespan and rejuvenates the body.
As per Ayurvedic healing traditions, every part of the Ashwagandha herb has a positive impact on health. Be it roots, berries, flowers, or leaves. It can bring body, soul and mind to harmony.
The Ashwagandha uses are:
1) The Ashwagandha roots are dried and used in powdered form. As per several studies, Ashwagandha powder benefits in the following conditions
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Nervous breakdown
- Stress disorders
- Fertility issues
2) Ashwagandha leaves are rich in Iron. It can be used to prepare herbal tea. Ashwagandha tea benefits in relieving painful swellings and fever. It serves as an energy tonic. Ashwagandha leaf juice benefits anaemia. It also helps women to regain lost energy and combat fatigue due to heavy periods.
3) The flowers of Ashwagandha shrubs are astringent and diuretic. The seeds of Ashwagandha fruit benefit in treating infections due to parasitic worms and removing white spots from the cornea.
4) Health tonic, Aswagandharishtam benefits in hysteria, anxiety, syncope and memory loss.
5) Ashwagandha is mixed with other herbs to produce a semi-solid substance known as lehyam. Ashwagandha lehyam benefits in weight gain, muscle build-up and is an excellent supplement to the diet.
Ashwagandha Scientific Name
Ashwagandha’s scientific name is Withania somnifera, popularly known as Indian ginseng or Indian winter cherry, is a super herb with many health benefits. It is mainly grown as an evergreen shrub in India, the middle east and parts of Africa.
As per a study, The Ashwagandha nutrition comprises of
- Alkaloids (anahygrine, isopelletierine, cuseohygrine, anaferine, etc.),
- Anti-stress agents (Sitoindosides and Acylsterylglucosides)
- Steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferins)
- 5-dehydroxy withanolide-R
The Ashwagandha plant benefits the body, and it
- Helps in longevity
- Sharpens the memory and intellect
- Gives lustrous complexion
- Increases strength and stamina
- Provides anti-stress and antioxidant effects
- Boost immunity
- Improves quality of sleep
- Cures Asthma
- Manages hypothyroidism by boosting production of thyroid hormones
- Helps type 2 diabetes people by promoting insulin production and breakdown of sugar
- Prevents various types of cancer
- Supports sexual health
As per a study, Ashwagandha helps in managing various types of cancer, including breast, lung, brain, colon and ovarian cancer. It prevents the growth of new cancer cells and promotes the death of cancerous cells by apoptosis. Apoptosis is programmed cell death by the body.
Here are 12 incredible Ashwagandha health benefits
Ashwagandha Benefits for Weight Loss
The Ashwagandha benefits for weight loss in the following ways, it
- Boost metabolism thus burns up the stored body fat
- Manages stress that can lead to food cravings
- Regulates cortisol and adrenal levels that increases the body’s energy which helps in intense workouts
- Helps to build muscle mass that is essential for healthy weight loss
- Provides good quality of sleep that prevent mid-night cravings and weight gain
How to use Ashwagandha for weight loss: Ashwagandha capsules benefit in weight loss. Take 1-2 capsules daily with milk or take as per doctor’s advice.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Hair
Stress is one of the major causes of hair loss. As Ashwagandha reduces stress, it prevents hair fall. Ashwagandha benefits hair in many ways, it
- Stop postpartum hair loss
- Stimulate melanin production and also restrain loss of melanin from the hair
- Encourage healthy hair growth
- Strengths to hair
- Reduces scalp irritation
- Stimulate sebum production
- Helps with dandruff, psoriasis and itching
How to use Ashwagandha on hair: You can directly apply a paste of Ashwagandha powder and warm water to your hair. You can massage the scalp and stimulate blood circulation on hair follicles by applying Ashwagandha oil. You can also add refreshing Ashwagandha tea to your routine.
One of the easiest methods is to incorporate the Ashwagandha powder with shampoo for direct application on the scalp.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Skin
The roots of Ashwagandha have antibacterial properties. Ashwagandha powder benefits for skin are, it
- Protects the skin from infections, acne and breakouts
- Heals blackheads and whiteheads
- Reduces scars and nourishes dry, flaky skin
- Prevent clogging of pores
- Improves skin tone
- Boost formation of collagen, which improves skin elasticity
- Reduces signs of ageing
- Soothes and calms inflamed skin
- Prevent stretch marks during pregnancy
- Treats skin conditions like Vitiligo where skin colour is lost in blotches
- Treats cuts and bruises
- Ashwagandha oil benefits sensitive skin and is ideal for baby care
How to use Ashwagandha on skin: To get Ashwagandha Benefits for Skin, mix two spoons of Ashwagandha powder with one spoon of dried ginger and lemon peel. Boil it with one cup of water. Cool it down and apply to the skin.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Height
You might be wondering, does Ashwagandha increase in height? The answer is yes. The extracts of Ashwagandha root benefit growth hormones of the body. It can be added to the daily routine to increase the levels of growth hormones.
They not only increase height but help in muscle build-up, bone formation, and increase bone density. It also enhances the body’s strength and helps in overall growth of the body.
How to use Ashwagandha for height gain
- Ashwagandharishta syrup benefits in effectively increasing the height. It is an ayurvedic liquid with a mixture of herbs and Ashwagandha as the main ingredient.
- Ashwagandha powder benefits height gain. It is easily absorbed by the body. Take one tablespoon of Ashwagandha powder twice a day with water or milk after dinner.
- You can also consume 1-2 tablets daily with water after meals.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Stress
Ayurvedic medicine has been using adaptogenic herbs for centuries to heal the body. As per a study, Adaptogenic herbs can deal with mental and physical stress. Ashwagandha has a positive impact on the hormonal system, heart, lungs and central nervous system of the body. It also lowers cortisol hormone levels and prevents stress.
Ashwagandha root benefits by producing a chemical, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It has a calming effect on the body which reduces anxiety and stress. As per a study, it has an anti-stress effect on the brain and body.
Ashwagandha can build resistance to stress and as per a study, it can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha also promotes good sleep that also helps in reducing mental stress.
How to use Ashwagandha for stress management: For everyday stress, ayurvedic oil massage to the body is useful. Ashwagandha oil benefits the body by relaxing and relieving it from stress, exhaustion and body ache. You can also take 500-600 mg of Ashwagandha powder per day for a month or as per the advice of a consulting doctor.
Ashwagandha Sleep Benefits
Ashwagandha extracts benefits in inducing sleep without any kind of drowsiness. As per a study, people who take Ashwagandha feel more alert when they wake up.
The Ashwagandha leaves benefit in inducing sleep because of a compound, triethylene glycol present in the leaves. As per a study, It can cure insomnia and improve the quality of sleep.
How to use Ashwagandha for sleep: Take a cup of milk and simmer it. Then add ½ teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger powder, and a pinch of nutmeg powder. Simmer it for five minutes and then add one teaspoon of coconut oil to it.
You can also add honey or maple syrup for better taste. It is also known as “moon milk.” It is best to consume before bedtime for a sound sleep.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Weight Gain
Ashwagandha benefits from weight gain. It doesn't directly cause weight gain, but it works on the reason behind low body weight. It helps in relieving stress, improving digestion and the immune system. As per a study, Ashwagandha improves body mass and strength.
One of the best ayurvedic bodybuilding supplements is Ashwagandha lehyam. It is a mixture of many herbs with Ashwagandha as the main ingredient. It treats weak muscles and low body weight.
Ashwagandha lehyam benefits in putting on weight by increasing strength and energy levels. It strengthens the joints, nerves, tendons and muscles.
A half teaspoon twice a day after meals will increase the stamina to do more exercise. It also goes well with other dietary supplements.
How to take Ashwagandha for weight gain:
- Ashwagandha powder with ghee benefits weight gain by increasing its nutrient value. To take, boil the two tablespoons of Ashwagandha powder with ghee. Mix till the ghee melts and consume one tablespoon of it daily. You can add cardamom for better taste.
- To experience Ashwagandha powder with milk benefits, mix one tablespoon of powder in a glass of warm milk. You can add honey for better taste. Blend it well and consume it twice a day for effective weight gain results.
- Ashwagandha churna benefits from healthily gaining weight. Take one teaspoon of churna daily with a glass of water for a month.
- Six grams of Ashwagandha lehyam with a glass of milk daily is also effective in weight gain. You can take it one hour before a meal or two hours after a meal.
- A mixture of Ashwagandha and Shatavari benefits the body by providing sufficient nutrients required to gain weight and muscle mass. As per studies, Ashwagandha along with Shatavari helps in digestion, increases hunger and helps in weight gain.
Ashwagandha Brain Benefits
- As per a study, regular consumption of Ashwagandha improves mental health, brain capacity, memory, and thinking power.
- It reduces stress.
- Ashwagandha relieves the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- The herb can regenerate nerve cells in the brain and throughout the body.
- It is used in the treatment of nerve-related diseases like Alzheimer disease and Parkinson’s disease. As per a study, Withania somnifera benefits Alzheimer's patients by producing a protein in the liver that can reverse the disease.
- Ashwagandha also improves nerve-to-nerve communication which also stimulates healing to nervous system damage.
- It also increases brain function and intelligence.
How to take Ashwagandha for Brain: To boost the memory, take 500 mg of Ashwagandha root extract daily with milk or water after meals.
Ashwagandha benefits for Gut Health
As per a study, Ashwagandha can naturally cure stomach ulcers developed due to damage to the inner linings of the stomach. It also reduces the risk of developing a stomach ulcer. Ashwagandha helps in acidity by reducing the levels of acid in the stomach.
How to take Ashwagandha for gut health: You can take one teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder in a glass of milk or water for promoting better digestion.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Heart Health
Ashwagandha helps in maintaining heart health. It helps in treating
- High cholesterol
- Chest pain
- High blood pressure
- Lowers sugar level
As per a study, there are certain components in Ashwagandha that stimulate cells to take in blood glucose. It reduces blood sugar levels and helps people with diabetes.
How to take Ashwagandha for heart health: Take 250-300mg of Ashwagandha churna per day or as directed by the consulting doctor.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
The Ashwagandha benefits for women include
- As per the World Health Organisation, around 40% of pregnant women and 30% of non-pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency or anaemia. Ashwagandharishta benefits such women by treating anaemia.
- Ashwagandha has a calming effect on the body. It de-stress the mind, relieves anxiety and mood swings. It also helps in extreme fatigue and curing sleep disorders.
- Regular consumption of Ashwagandha also helps in balancing the hormones.
- It also helps in regularising the menstrual cycle, relieves period cramps and also improves female fertility health.
- Ashwagandha benefits in menopause and symptoms associated with it.
- The massage of Ashwagandha oil benefits new or expecting mothers in relieving pain and fatigue. It also improves the elasticity of the skin that prevents stretch marks during pregnancy.
Ashwagandha and Shilajit Benefits
Shilajit vs Ashwagandha: Shilajit is a herb, commercially available in powdered form. The nutrients and bioactive compounds present in it benefit people with hypertension, Anaemia, Alzheimer's disease.
On the other hand, Ashwagandha is commercially available as a tablet or powder. As per an ayurvedic study, Ashwagandha has an anti-ageing effect on the body. It boosts the body’s immunity, relieves anxiety and depression.
Together Ashwagandha and shilajit benefits sexual health and improve the energy level of the body.
- As per studies, Ashwagandha and shilajit boost the immune system and protect the body from infections. They also help in the prevention of long-term medical conditions( chronic conditions) like cancer.
- As per the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Ashwagandha and shilajit both increase muscle strength, improve exercise performance and reduce muscle fatigue.
- As per a study, Ashwagandha improves mental health and reduces stress hormones and shilajit improves brain functioning.
- As per a study, shilajit increases testosterone levels, improves the quality of sperm and sexual vitality in men. In women, it is associated with improving fertility. Ashwagandha improves libido. They both relieve fatigue and enhance sexual desires.
500 gm of Ashwagandha and 250-300 gm of shilajit per day is sufficient to offer the above-mentioned benefits to the body. You can combine them with milk, water or honey. It is best to consult a doctor before consuming them.
Ashwagandha and Gokshura Benefits
When taken together, Ashwagandha and gokshura benefits in the following ways
- Enhances strength and stamina
- Helps in body-building
- Improves the performance of athletes
- Boost libido
- Helps in managing sexual disorders like erectile dysfunctions
Precautions When Using Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha benefits the body in many ways, but the following precautions should be taken to avoid any kind of Ashwagandha side effects.
- Consult a doctor before taking Ashwagandha supplements, especially if you have stomach ulcers.
- Ashwagandha can induce uterine contractions leading to miscarriages or premature deliveries. It should be completely avoided by pregnant women.
- There is no sufficient evidence of Ashwagandha benefits in breastfeeding mothers. It is advised to avoid taking it or consuming it under medical supervision.
- Ashwagandha has a diuretic effect on the body. It is advised for people with kidney problems to take Ashwagandha as per the doctor’s advice.
- If you are on Ashwagandha supplements, it is best to regularly monitor
- Thyroid hormone levels
- Blood sugar level
- Blood pressure
- Ashwagandha should not be taken with
- Immunomodulatory drugs
- Sleeping pills
How to Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is commercially available in the form of a capsule, tablet, powder or churna, tea and tincture. The easiest way to introduce Ashwagandha to the diet is by adding tea. You can add Ashwagandha powder in granola, smoothies or salads. It is advised to not expose the powder to high heat.
There are many benefits of taking Ashwagandha with milk, as both are considered rejuvenators. The combination gives more solid results and helps in reaping all the benefits of Ashwagandha and milk.
You can also consume Ashwagandha in the following ways:
- Ashwagandha tablets or capsules can be consumed with warm milk or water after taking meals, two times a day.
- Ashwagandha powder or churna is prepared from the roots of the shrub. It is consumed by mixing them with milk or honey as per the doctor's advice.
- As Tea: Add one spoon of Ashwagandha powder to two cups of water. Boil and reduce to half of its quantity. Add honey or milk, if required. Take it in the morning for the best results.
- Milkshake: Mix ½ teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder with ghee and roast it. Now add one spoon of the roasted powder with a glass of cold milk, add honey, if required. Blend and drink it.
- As Ladoo: Add two spoons of Ashwagandha powder to one spoon of jaggery powder. Add ghee, black pepper and salt to it. Now, knead them well. Make round shaped ladoo. Refrigerate and eat within 3-4 days.
The recommended dosage for Ashwagandha is
- For Ashwagandha Tablet: One tablet twice a day after meals
- For Ashwagandha Capsule: One capsule twice a day after meals
- For Ashwagandha Powder or Churna: ½ teaspoon twice a day after meals
It is best to consult a doctor before taking Ashwagandha in any form.
Ashwagandha Side Effects
As per a study, Ashwagandha is safe for consumption. If taken in large quantities, it can cause more harm than benefit. The Ashwagandha side effects vary from person to person, including
- Upset stomach
- Premature birth
- Lower sugar level
- Decreases blood pressure
- Disturb thyroid hormone levels
- Irritate the digestive tract
- Liver problems
Ashwagandha should not be consumed in the following conditions
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Immunocompromised people
- Two weeks before or after any surgery
- Auto-immune disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Peptic ulcers
- People with low sugar levels or on anti-diabetic medications
- People on high BP medications
- People allergic to nightshade and certain grasses are maybe allergic to Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is safe for consumption for up to 3 months. To use Ashwagandha for a longer period, Consult a physician to avoid Ashwagandha side effects.
Summing Up on Ashwagandha Benefits
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with many health benefits. Several studies showed that it reduces stress, promotes sleep, increases the strength and energy level of the body. It is also used to cure many health conditions. It is commercially available in tablet, capsule and powder form. Although it is safe to use, in large quantities can cause some side effects. It is best to consult a doctor before taking Ashwagandha.