Why Ayurvedic Ashwagandha Root is Such an Incredible Herb we all Need More of
Before the advent of modern medicine, communities around the world relied on natural medicine derived from plants. These communities had deep knowledge about the medicinal plants and the benefits they had to the body.
However, the wave of westernisation and modern medicine led to the dismissal of these natural remedies in preference for processed drugs.
Lifestyle diseases and health problems not experienced by our ancestors have led to a new wave of interest in traditional herbal medicine. A lot of research into various herbal remedies is currently ongoing in an effort to provide natural solutions to health and wellbeing.
Herbal medicine provides natural components to the body. The ingredients in these natural remedies interact with the body’s natural healing process without the nasty side effects of synthetic drugs. Apart from healing, they boost the body’s immunity and remove toxins from the body. They are also cheap and readily available in most instances.
An Ayurvedic Superfood
Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera) is a medicinal shrub that found in India, Africa, and the Middle East. The shrub also called the Indian ginseng is a very important shrub in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. The root provides numerous benefits to the human body. Today the root is sold in various forms as a supplement, powder and in liquid extracts.
Some of the elements found in the root include amino acids, antioxidants, flavonoids, alkaloids, neurotransmitters, tannins, and lignans. These elements provide a set of benefits to the health and well being of the body.
Some of the uses of the Ashwagandha root include treating wounds, to improve libido, for fertility problems, to reduce inflammation, backache, asthma and as a stress reliever.
The root provides protection for the heart, the nervous system, and the immune system.
Here are some of the healing properties and health benefits provided by Ashwagandha root
Stress and anxiety relief
Stress and anxiety have become commonplace in the modern world. With increasing responsibilities, costs of living and expectations, we find ourselves stressed often or experiencing anxiety. If stress and anxiety become a regular part of our lives, our productivity is likely to decline fast. Stress and anxiety medications are likely to leave you with nasty side effects and you may want to use a natural remedy.
The Ashwagandha root is the answer. Ashwagandha root contains chemicals that calm the brain thus reducing anxiety. When coupled with activities such as deep breathing exercises, the root works effectively at providing stress and anxiety relief. The root works by reducing the amount of cortisol released by the body. Cortisol is the hormone produced when we feel anxious and stressed. The root also helps in the restoration of cells damaged by chronic stress. By reducing the amount of cortisol hormone in the body, the root effectively eliminates the possibility of developing stress-related hypertension, reduces blood sugar and helps in insulin regulation, and increases the body's ability to fight infection.
Technology, work, anxiety, and stress have led to the development of sleep disorders. While many sleeping pills tend to work, their long-term use may lead to addictions and dependence. Insomnia and sleep disorders cause frustration to the individual and upset the normal functioning of the body. Natural supplements such as the Ashwagandha come in handy when trying to deal with insomnia. Due to its safety for use, the root helps you overcome insomnia and other sleep-related disorders without experiencing the side effects associated with the synthetic medication. Ashwagandha helps the body in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Unlike sleeping pills, which deals with the symptoms of insomnia by acting as a sedative, Ashwagandha deals directly with the root problem through regulating the metabolism, repairing and replacing damaged brain cells and reducing stress. By restoring the normal functioning of the body, the root helps reestablish disrupted sleep patterns and thus deal with insomnia.
Adrenal fatigue support
Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which the endocrine system becomes overworked due to mental, physical and emotional stress. Some symptoms of adrenal fatigue include tiredness even after sleep, anxiety, weight gain, poor concentration, memory loss, and anxiety. People with thyroid problems have a higher possibility of suffering from adrenal fatigue. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen herb meaning it supplements adrenal fatigue thus helps in reducing it. The herb lowers the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone and regulates the functioning of the adrenal glands. Once cortisol levels are low, the adrenal glands are able to work normally without struggling to produce hormones to reduce stress levels. It is important to maintain the normal functioning of the adrenal glands since adrenal glands may affect the production of other hormones responsible for fertility.
Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by a long period of muscular and connective tissue pain. The condition has symptoms that vary from one individual to the next. Some of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia are memory problems, fatigue, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, tender points, cramping in the lower abdomen, sleep problems (such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome), headaches and fibro fog. Other patients experience numbness, stiffness in the morning, and reduced cognitive functions. The condition is more common in women than in men. Some possible causes of fibromyalgia include genetics, allergies, hormonal imbalances, poor digestion, spinal misalignments, stress, neurotransmitter deficiencies and candida overgrowth.
Ashwagandha root deals with fibromyalgia by reducing the stress levels, anxiety and creating hormonal balance in the body. The anti-inflammatory and stress relieving properties in Ashwagandha root are important in the management of fibromyalgia.
When unchecked, stress and anxiety are likely to develop into depression. When you start displaying signs of depression, it is important to take charge of the situation as soon as you can. Ashwagandha root helps in building the body’s ability to deal with stress and anxiety. This way, it becomes easier to manage symptoms of depression. By regulating the body’s metabolism, Ashwagandha root triggers hormonal balance in the body thus improving its ability to deal with stress and depression. Ashwagandha also acts as a mood stabilizer thus helps in regulating feelings of depression and improving the state of the depressed individual.
In the normal body processes, toxins are likely to be produced or get into the body through the skin or the mouth. When these toxins are not removed, they accumulate into the body, resulting in diseases, and damage to internal organs especially the liver and the kidneys. Taking Ashwagandha is one of the ways of encouraging your body to detoxify. Ashwagandha controls the levels of cholesterol in the body as well as removal of free radicals. Ashwagandha controls help in binding free radicals in the liver thus preventing them from causing damage to these detoxifying organ. Most synthetic medicines have to be filtered in the liver thus depositing harmful toxins on the organ. This leaves the liver vulnerable to non-alcoholic cirrhosis. However, taking Ashwagandha root reverses the effects of these toxins thus preserving the health of the liver.
Excessive weight is one of the leading causes of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and heart diseases. While there are numerous weight loss supplements available in the market, it is hard to identify those that are made from natural products that do not damage the body cells. Ashwagandha root is a natural weight loss herb that works by reducing stress, increasing metabolism and building muscle strength. Stress results in overeating in a bid to fill up the gap created by insecurity. By helping you deal with stress, you are better placed to avoid unhealthy binge eating.
High cortisol levels from stress result in poor burning of fat and promote its accumulation around the abdominal area. Weight gain also comes from poor metabolism. Ashwagandha root increases the body's metabolism by triggering performance of the thyroid gland and thus the body's ability to burn fat leading to weight loss. Another way Ashwagandha root works to bring about weight loss is by reducing fatigue. Fatigue leads to sluggishness and reduced desire to apply yourself physically. By consuming Ashwagandha root, your body becomes energised. By applying this strength and energy, your body burns days and sheds extra weight. The strength gained from Ashwagandha root also helps in building muscle mass and endurance, therefore, you have the stamina to work out for longer.
Ashwagandha has anti-oxidation properties which when consumed helps in the removal of free radicals from the body. The root also regulates the growth of cells, which is key in preventing some cancers such as lung, breast and stomach and colon cancers. The plant has anti-tumor properties which help counter the growth of tumors. The immune protective properties also enhance the body’s ability to prevent and fight infection. Apart from promoting oxidation, Ashwagandha root helps in restoring natural anti-oxidants in the body, which plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the liver. The anti-oxidation properties are also important in promoting healthy brain function, cognitive abilities and offer protection to the nervous system.
Other health benefits
By reducing the amount of stress in the body the root improves the body's ability to fight and resist infections. The root also contains iron which promotes the production of red blood cells. This improves the circulation of blood and oxygen through the body. Consuming the root increases the stamina and physical endurance during physical exercise. This endurance comes from the relaxed feeling Ashwagandha root creates on the brain which also improves concentration, mental sharpness, and focus.
Ashwagandha root regulates the activity of the thyroid gland thus serves as an effective treatment for disorders of the thyroid gland. The root contains withanolides which are key to the development of the brain's cognitive functions. This enhances learning and memory. The effectiveness in restoring the degenerating brain cells has made Ashwagandha root a defective supplement to help people living with Alzheimers.
Use and dosage
Ashwagandha root is safe for use by people of all ages including children. There are many ways of consuming Ashwagandha which may be found in capsules, powder, in organic teas such as our relaxing and calming sleepy tea, as a dried root, and as a plant. You may plant Ashwagandha in sandy soils in full sunshine. You may incorporate the roots in green teas, smoothies, soups, and salads. Root extracts are the most common forms of the plant available in stores.
Dosages vary from person to person. However, it is recommended to start with small dosages of about 200mg to assess the response of your body. After some time you may increase the dosage. You should not exceed 1000-1500mg at full dosage. When not sure about the dosage to take, it is best to consult with a genuine naturopathic specialist. The supplement should not replace medical advice from your doctor.
Deciding the dosage for herbal supplements may pose challenges to most people. Unlike synthetic medicine, anyone can ground the Ashwagandha root, package and sell it. However, some manufacturers put in the effort to indicate the composition of their supplements. It is crucial to purchase from credible sources to derive value from your money. Reputable sellers are also more likely to provide quality products
Precautions and side effects
The short-term use of the root has produced no side effects. However, studies are still underway to determine the effect of long-term consumption of the herb.
The intake of small to medium doses presents no side effects. However, taking too much of the Ashwagandha root may trigger stomach upsets, diarrhea, and vomiting. Pregnant women are advised against taking the herb as it may lead to miscarriages and early birth.
It should also not be taken together with alcohol, antidepressants, immunosuppressants, and sleep medication. Taking the root with these medications may produce adverse effects as the root supplements play the same roles as these medications.
People on diabetic, hypertensive and thyroid medication should be careful when taking Ashwagandha root. The root may trigger allergies in some people.
People with ulcers, those who are breastfeeding, young children, and those preparing for surgery should exercise caution when taking Ashwagandha root.
Some individual components of the root such as Withaferin A may cause toxicity when taken in large doses. However, they are found in small amounts in the root.
Please be sure to check out our organic sleep aid tea which contains all of the many benefits of this wonderful herb, as well as 10 other exciting ingredients including the ayurvedic Gotu kola.