Of late, Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng has garnered immense popularity, especially amongst people suffering from depression or anxiety.
With the world fast moving towards two diametrically opposite aspects of life – evolving technology and natural healthcare, the use and consumption of ashwagandha have risen manifolds.
What Exactly Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a shrub that mainly grows in India, Africa and the Middle East. Its roots, as well as fruits that are orange-red in color, have been used for medicinal purpose for hundreds of years. Ashwagandha – which means the smell of the horse is to define the smell of its root.
Did You Know?
Till present day, most studies have proven health benefits of Ashwagandha on animals.
Consumption of Ashwagandha should be avoided by pregnant women as it can lead to early delivery.
Ashwagandha may be beneficial for cancers, Alzheimer’s, anxiety and depression but more research is needed on this.
It is considered one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda healthcare.
In Ayurveda Ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana, which denotes that it helps maintain youth and agility – both mental and physical.
Today, Ashwagandha is sold as a supplement even in the United States.
Ashwagandha roots have been known to treat arthritis, constipation, insomnia, skin conditions, stress, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, nervous breakdown, fevers, snake bites and memory loss. All the parts of Ashwagandha including their leaves, seeds and fruits are used to treat a host of diseases and ailments.
Read further to know more about the various health benefits of consuming Ashwagandha on a regular basis along with the various cons of doing the same.
5 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
While a lot of research has been done on Ashwagandha, they have majorly been on animals and the good news is that the results are extremely promising though a lot more research still needs to be conducted about the health benefits of Ashwagandha.
Here are 5 diseases research shows that can be cured with the regular use of Ashwagandha.
1. Helps During Anxiety Episodes
Ashwagandha induces a calming effect during anxiety episodes in human beings. Studies also show that Ashwagandha possesses the ability to reduce anxiety levels .
2. Treats Arthritis
Ashwagandha is considered to be a pain reliever which when acts on the nervous system, prevents the pain signals from entering into the brain. Also, Ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory properties due to which, it is found to be effective in treating arthritis.
3. Improves And Maintains Heart Health
Ashwagandha offers various health benefits to heart health which include lowering blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, curing chest pain and keeping you away from various heart diseases. Research clearly says that the use of Ashwagandha improves and maintains heart health .
Ashwagandha has also been described to promote health and longevity along with the treatment of heart ailments. coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypercholesterolemia, anginal pain.
It can also be considered as a useful drug for coronary artery disease, hypertension and ischemic cardiomyopathy. Ashwagandha is also helpful in improving muscle strength and endurance .
4. Treatment of Alzheimer’s
Research has brought forth Ashwagandha’s ability to slow or prevent loss of brain functions of people suffering from brain ailments like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s . As is widely known, these diseases are progressive and degenerative in nature which takes away the patient’s ability to move, talk and perform their daily chores.
They also lead to memory loss and functions. With the gradual or rapid progression of these diseases, the brain and its connective paths become weak and battered, which can be rejuvenated with the help of Ashwagandha.
5. Treating The Deadly C – Cancer
According to a few pieces of research, Ashwagandha might be useful for stopping certain cancer cells in the human body . Research on animals shows that Ashwagandha has the ability to decrease lung tumour by enhancing immune cells. Also, because Ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory properties, it is known for its effect on reducing cancer cells in the body. The herb has shown promising results in killing cancers such as breast, lung, kidney and prostate .
9 Potential Side Effects of Ashwagandha
1. May Cause Allergies
Some people might experience allergies due to Ashwagandha including skin rashes, itchiness, inflammation, chest pain, and difficulty in breathing.
2. Can Cause Sudden Bleeding
Ashwagandha can cause bleeding and that is why people with bleeding disorders or about to undergo a surgery must steer clear of this herb.
3. Might Lower Blood Sugar Level To An Extreme
Excessive use of Ashwagandha may cause your blood sugar level to go down way too much than you would like it to be .
4. May Cause Gastrointestinal Problems
Known as a gastrointestinal irritant, Ashwagandha should be avoided by people with stomach ulcers. Constipation is another side effect known to be caused by Ashwagandha . This herb may also cause diarrhoea.
5. May Cause Drowsiness in Some People
As we have already spoken about, Ashwagandha has sedative properties which induce relaxation in humans. This can lead to drowsiness if Ashwagandha is taken in excessive quantities. It has also been established that Ashwagandha if combines with other sedatives can induce excessive sleepiness .
6. Can Cause Your Mouth To Dry Up
Excessive use of Ashwagandha can cause dry mouth in certain people. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you encounter this condition.
7. Can Cause Damage To Liver
Though it needs more verification, few resources say that excessive use of Ashwagandha can lead to liver damage.
8. Might Raise Body Temperature
Ashwagandha can raise your body temperature thus causing fever. Though this condition normalizes within a few days, it is advisable to consult a doctor if fever persists.
9. May Prove Harmful During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Ashwagandha can harm the fetus or even go to an extent of early delivery, a miscarriage or an abortion during pregnancy.
Though there is little information on Ashwagandha’s ill effects during breastfeeding, it is better to stay safe than being sorry. So avoid its use during breastfeeding.
How To Use Ashwagandha?
Needless to say that the dosage and method of consumption of Ashwagandha will depend on the condition you are trying to treat.
Ashwagandha may be taken in powdered form, capsules or as a liquid extract. It is easily available at health stores. Its dosage ranges from 450 milligrams to 2 grams. So here was all that you needed to know about Ashwagandha.
Like everything else in this world, Ashwagandha also has its pros and cons and it is up to you and your doctor to decide how to use it judiciously depending on the medical condition you are targeting to treat through this rasayana.
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