Ashwagandha Benefits | Ashwagandha Side Effects and More

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Ashwagandha is an extract derived from the Ashwagandha roots. It is an ayurvedic herbal extract that is used for treatments like general debility and stress-related psychological diseases.

Botanical Name: WithaniaSomnifera.

Ashwagandha or ‘WithaniaSomnifera’ An exotic India herb has an outstanding stress relieving potentiality that is as good as powerful drugs that are used for the treatment of anxiety and depression. It is one of the Geriatric Medicines used in Ayurveda.

Ashwagandha extract is used by Ayurvedic doctors to treat several medical conditions such as depression, menstrual problems, asthma, tuberculosis, physical weakness, and fatigue. It acts as a protective shield for the nervous system. The antioxidant property can treat disease conditions related to the process of aging.

The meaning of word Ashwagandha is ‘smell of horse’. The two important reasons it is named so is–

Firstly, the roots of Ashwagandha produce the smell of horse.

Secondly, the reason is – it has affirmed that consuming Ashwagandha in any form may promote or improve vitality, strength and similar energy levels to that of a horse. Ashwagandha is available in the market as a single herb formulation or in combination with other herbs.

However, it has a very long history of use which is very effective in treating or alleviating certain diseases.

Ashwagandha Uses

Builds Muscle Mass

Absolute growth-enhancing, anabolic properties of Ashwagandha, an important herb to heal deficiency states, or an increase in vatadosha, indicated for exhaustion, weight loss, and poor immunity. Ashwagandha plays an effective role in strengthening the muscles. When consumed on a regular basis, both species of Ashwagandha enhances a healthy weight gain along with regular exercise, it helps to build and build up muscle mass. Ashwagandha capsules when given to clients for 30 days resulted in;

  • Increase in muscle mass activity
  • Boosts muscle force in the upper extremity, lower extremity and trunk region.
  • The improvement observed in hand grip strength.
  • A reduction in body fat percentage and increase in muscle mass was observed.

This positively indicates that Ashwagandha improves muscle activity and strength. The exercise intensity and tolerance also get improved. Therefore, aged people who have less muscle strength can consume Ashwagandha.

Rejuvenates the brain and nervous system

In Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is defined as a MedhyaRasayana, signifying that it rejuvenates the brain and nervous system. Partly this is due to Ashwagandha effect over the nervous system, developing the activities of the rest and restorative systems, to preserve and build up the body’s energy by decreasing nervous irritability.

Chronic insomnia

Ashwagandha is extraordinarily effective and a gentle sedative used for the treatment of chronic insomnia, this can be consumed with milk and taken before bed. Ashwagandha is regularly used for problems like poor memory, lack of concentration and for the treatment of the attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), consumed in combinations with herbs such as Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) and Reishi (Ganodermalucidum).

Inflammatory joint disease

One more benefit of Ashwagandha is in the harm of inflammatory joint disease, wherein Ayurveda is considered to be a vata disorder. Considering this, it’s perfect to use Ashwagandha for pain and immovability, but cannot be used when there is active inflammation identified by redness, heat, and swelling. Ashwagandha is also used for breathing disorders like asthma and bronchitis.

Ashwagandha for Sexual Wellness

Ashwagandha is described as the virility of a stallion. According to this, Ashwagandha is considered to be one of the foremost sexual restoratives used by the branch of Ayurveda that is concerned with the treatment of infertility, called VajikaranaRasayana Tantra.

Ashwagandha is often thought as – herb for men. It is used in the treatment of male sexual dysfunction. Clinical research on human subjects has validated this context, and there was a study that examined the semen profiles and reproductive hormones in both normal and infertile men, it was proved that Ashwagandha improves sperm count and motility while significantly increased serum testosterone levels. For problems with male sexual function, Ashwagandha can be mixed with herbs such as Kapikacchu (Mucunapruriens) and Gokshura (TribulusTerrestris).

Ashwagandha can likewise be an important herb for women as well, used in the blend with herbs such as Shatavari (Asparagus racemosusin the treatment of infertility, postpartum depression, to enhance breast milk production and threatened miscarriage. Unlike Ginseng, with which it is often compared, Ashwagandha can be safely used for both genders, as well as in children, consuming with other herbs in a formulation to modify its medicinal properties.

Ashwagandha is to support the health

 Another essential use for Ashwagandha is to assist the health of patients for those experiencing conventional cancer treatments, to safeguard against injury and infection, enhance recovery and build up immune status. In the same way, HIV/AIDS patients, herbal combinations that contain Ashwagandha have been found to promote a significant decrease in viral loads and an increase in CD4+ counts. Ashwagandha is often used in combination with herbs such as Licorice root (Glycyrrhizaglabra) to help wean patients off of corticosteroids.

Ashwagandha Dosage

One of the most prevalent confusion while using medicinal herbs is figuring out the correct dose and this is one of the most common causes with Ashwagandha – both WithaniaSomnifera and Convolvulus arvensis. In general, this confusion occurs because the majority of people are used to the pharmaceutical drugs.

Herbal medicines naturally have a very large therapeutic window. Meaning both low and high doses can be effective, but for different purposes. Generally speaking, most herbs and exclusively nourishing herbs such as Ashwagandha are absolutely safe, and also have a large therapeutic window.

Herbal medicines have three basic dosage levels: high, medium, and low.

A high dose is given for acute conditions, whereas a medium dose used for chronic conditions, and a low dose for some kind of subtle, energetic effect, sometimes that opposes the original action of the herb. Not all herbs are effective when given very low doses, and this is commonly the case for nourishing, building herbs such as Ashwagandha.

The dosage ranges will vary not just when used for different purposes, but also different depending on factors like age and sex. Likewise, a high dose for a child may not be the same as a high dose for an adult. When a dosage is calculated for children, Clark’s Rule is used (a mathematical formula used to calculate the correct dosage of medicine for children aged between 2 to 17). When it comes to adults, Ashwagandha a high dosage of up to 15-30 g of the powdered root can be consumed in cases of nervous stress, severe exhaustion, fatigue, and acute insomnia. However high dosages, are typically given only for a short period, under the correct supervision and while waiting for the client to become stabilized. In such cases, Ashwagandha is best prepared in A2-milk, consumed warm with a little ghee and Jaggery, on an empty stomach.

A medium dosage for an adult – Ashwagandha  2-5 g of the powdered root that is more effective for chronic conditions that tend to undergo alternate increases and decreases, like chronic anxiety or chronic insomnia, or long-term during restorative periods. One more time, it’s the same power of Ashwagandha that promotes balance, but with…/ashwagandha-tablets-organicer doses so that it matches the nature of the signs and symptoms. This is also a perfect dosage range when consumed in long-term to harness the anabolic (brimhana) of Ashwagandha, benefiting with weight gain, or for its nootropic effects. These doses, the powdered root can also be mixed with A2-milk, or mix it with various anupana like water, honey or ghee, depending on the effect anticipated.

One more way to consume Ashwagandha can be as a fluid extract prepared at a 1:1 ratio, or a tincture – prepared at a 1: 3 ratio, with the dosage range between 2.5 ml i.e. 1/2 tsp to 5 ml i.e. 1 tsp. Tinctures made at a 1:5 ratio will have to be dosed between 5-10 ml i.e.1-2 tsp and depending on the patient, this might seem like a lot of alcohol. Capsules can be another option for consuming Ashwagandha but can be impractical at the higher end of the dosage range. Consuming more than 1-2 capsules is quite hard to swallow and not so good for weak digestion. It’s very important to know that encapsulated powdered herbs often have the flowing agents added to them, like silicon dioxide, which is a micro-particle that will cause inflammatory symptoms in gut-sensitive people. Reasoning this, it’s better to avoid capsules in my patients.

Finally, one more option in consuming Ashwagandha is to add it to your soup stock! Just mix a handful of the roots in a big stock pot along with all the other ingredients when making stock. Drinking the broth you made with all these ingredients is an ideal and an easy way to make the most effective use of your nutrition.

Ashwagandha Quality

Like any other herb, the results that you want from Ashwagandha are straightaway connected to the quality of the herb. It is not necessary to be “certified organic” — but it needs to be grown with ethics and harvested in a clean environment, perfectly, by people who aren’t doing it just for the money. Mother Earth has provided us with these herbs out of her love, and it is expected to show the same respect by those who harvest, grow, and use them.

The quality of Ashwagandha is absolutely dependent upon its freshness. If you are going to store it for a long time then it is a better idea to keep your Ashwagandha in its whole root form, and only powder it as required for a few days/months at a time as per your requirements. When it is in their whole form, the roots will retain their potency for at least 2-3 years or even more under perfect storage conditions. One more option in extending the shelf life is to prepare it in alcohol as a fluid extract or a tincture, whose typical shelf life is for several years.

Most people nowadays prefer using the powdered herb, whose shelf life is only 3-6 months. Therefore, when a large amount of herb is bought, store it in an air-tight container and leave it in the freezer. Encapsulated powders can have a longer shelf life, but this purely depends on how old the powder is which is used to fill the capsules. The way things stand in now with the industry, we have no idea while you buy a bottle of capsules and the manufacturer expiry dates on the label because very often they are entirely based on random choice.

Ashwagandha Side Effects & Caution of Ashwagandha Extract

Ashwagandha extract is perhaps safe and well accepted for most people when consumed for a few days. A large amount of Ashwagandha extract dosage can cause following side effects. 

Top Ashwagandha side effects and precautions:

  • Do not consume large doses
  • Avoid Ashwagandha while pregnant and lactating
  • Do not consume Ashwagandha in hypothyroidism
  • Not favourable for auto-immune diseases
  • Could cause stomach upsets or vomiting
  • Could cause low blood pressure in diabetics
  • Could cause effects to nervous system if taken with other anaesthetics
  • Nausea and vomiting (rare)
  • Diarrhoea (common)

Caution –

Avoid the intake of Ashwagandha extract along with sedative medicines (They cause drowsiness and sleepiness that is used to reduce anxiety). As Ashwagandha is also mildly sedative this may result in excessive sedation.

Contraindications –

The only contraindication noted is obesity. Ashwagandha extract will increase body weight significantly, so if you are already obese or overweight, you should not consume it.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding –

Ashwagandha extract should be avoided by pregnant women in consuming it. It can be hazardous in pregnancy because a few instances of miscarriages have been reported with the use of Ashwagandha extract during pregnancy.

In India, Ashwagandha powder is consumed for increasing breast milk and it might be safe in its crude form. However, Ashwagandha extract is not often; rarely used in lactation, so it’s better to AVOID it during lactation.

Drug Interactions –

Ashwagandha extract can interreact with anti-depressant medications. Its interaction with sedative drugs will result in sleepiness, drowsiness, and laziness. It could also cut down the effectiveness of Immunosuppressant drugs, as a result, Ashwagandha increases the immunity.

Ashwagandha is a thyroid stimulant, to such a great extent it will interact with thyroid hormones when consumed during the treatment of thyroid diseases. It could also increase the thyroid hormones.

Note –

Ashwagandha extract is been prepared by various methods. The ancient method of preparation was with water extraction. But nowadays, alcoholic extract is also available and mostly used due to enhanced efficacy.


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