7 Healthy Benefits of Ashwagandha - Uses and Side Effects

What is Ashwagandha? 

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera), also known as Indian Winter Cherry and Indian Ginseng, is a shrub that has small yellow-green flowers and orange-red fruit which is cultivated in India and North America whose roots and berries have been used for thousands of years for various health issues and to increase longevity.

Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, which by definition are substances found in certain herbs that help the body adapt to certain psychological conditions or situations such as physical or emotional stress.

In addition, it has been said to contain anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, antioxidant, brain enhancer, immuno-stimulant, and rejuvenating properties.

It is a popular dietary supplement in the U.S. and is readily available in capsule, tablet, and powdered forms.

ashwagandha plant

 

Ashwagandha has a history of being used in helping to support several conditions like:

  • Arthritis
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia and other sleeping disorders
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Nervous system ailments
  • Female reproductive issues
  • Male impotence
  • Infertility in men

What Are The Health Benefit Of Ashwagandha?

 Ashwagandha roots and capsules.

1. Improved Heart and Cardiovascular Health

It produces anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects that are helpful for cardiovascular health.

It strengthens the heart muscles and can also control cholesterol and triglycerides. It also has a deoxidizing effect which helps keep arteries clear from fatty acids and makes for a healthier heart as well as less chance of a stroke and other ailments that are caused by clogging of the arteries. [1]

2. Alleviates Arthritis Symptoms

It also contains an all-natural steroid that eases the pain and inflammation of joints. 

A test was done with patients divided into two groups. One group took ashwagandha and the other, a placebo. Within a three-month period, the group consuming ashwagandha had lowered pain, stiffness and other disability symptoms. [2]

3. Helps Control Diabetes

It has shown results in controlling diabetes by helping to lower blood sugar levels.

Research using Ashwagandha to help treat diabetics showed positive results. Experiments showed that blood sugar levels during fasting and post-lunch decreased significantly when Ashwagandha was taken for a period of four weeks. [3]

4. Reduced Stress

It has been used as a remedy for stress and anxiety.

It is said that it helps increase the ability to adjust to stressful conditions. It encourages the body in preparing and maintaining our response to stressful circumstances. Ashwagandha is found to work by minimizing the excessive build-up of stress in the body. It also boosts the body’s capacity to maintain resistance to various types of stress.

Ashwagandha can help calm the central nervous system, causing sensations of tranquility and relaxation – making sleep easier to achieve.  Ashwagandha’s effects on mental health and depression were studied at the Institute of Medical Sciences at Banaras Hindu University in India. The study supported the benefits of Ashwagandha in relation to anxiety and depression. [4]

5. Better Brain Health

It helps in reducing/delaying the process of brain cell degeneration.

It can also lessen the risk of memory loss, thus making our mind more powerful, enthusiastic and capable of grasping things quickly. It boosts the creation of neurotransmitters that provides calming and relaxing feeling in the brain. It promotes improved cognitive function and a good memory. It works in calming the mind, thus encouraging quality sleep. [5]

6. Menopausal Support

It assists the endocrine system by encouraging correct hormone balance.

A study involving 51 menopausal women supplementing with ashwagandha noted a significant reduction in symptoms such as hot flashes, anxiety, and mood. [6]

7. Anti-Aging

Different tests have been executed using a randomized double-blind process of testing.

Experts in New Delhi did a study on the process of aging of over a hundred men, between 50-59 years old in a period of 12 months. Results show that those that took ashwagandha had lessened symptoms of aging. These men got a little less gray hair, a decreased cholesterol level, improved red blood count, and libido boost. [7]

Does Ashwagandha Have Any Side Effects?

This herb is well-tolerated, has no substantial negative effects and the consistent use of this herbal health supplement is deemed safe.

Some individuals have reported slight sleepiness after using it, although the effects of this symptom tend to decrease after a certain period of time, while with most individuals there have been no issues at all. The individuals who may have felt some sleepiness can try it out after meals and if they find that the problem continues; they could try to take it before going to bed only.

One of the Ashwagandha side effects is the fact that this herb can be hard on a person with a sensitive stomach. Thus, taking the powdered leaf or root forms of this herb can cause a sense of fullness, gas or stomach ache. People that have weak digestion should avoid Ashwagandha powder and use capsules instead and take them with food.

Ashwagandha is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or people who have autoimmune disorders. And if you are taking medications you should always consult with your doctor before taking ashwagandha or any herbal/dietary supplements.

How To Use Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha can be taken in powdered form, dried root, capsules or tablets - with the capsule form being the most recommended. 

Mortar and Pestle Herbs use organic non-GMO Ashwagandha. Our Ashwagandha is not chemically processed, has no additives or fillers and comes in vegan capsules. Our formula also includes BioPerine black pepper extract which enhances the absorption of Ashwagandha. The recommended dose is 1 capsule twice daily with meals.

Ashwagandha roots and capsules with Norsis Mortar and Pestle herbs label.

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