Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used for over 2500 years. It is now the most widely used and extensively studied adaptogenic herb. In India, it was traditionally used to strengthen the immune system after illness. It is also referred to as “Indian Ginseng” for its ability to increase endurance and act as a natural anti-stress agent.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is botanically known as Withania somnifera. It belongs to the Solanaceae family. Ashwagandha is also commonly referred to as Indian ginseng.
The root and leaves of the ashwagandha plant are most commonly used for their medicinal properties, by the presence of withanolides, a group of steroidal lactones, contributes to the health benefits of the herb. The group of withanolides includes substances like withaferin A, withanolide D, and withanone, among others.
Benefits and Uses
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for men and women training in a home? Benefits include supporting the thyroid glands, fighting anxiety disorders and weight loss.
Ashwagandha improves thyroid function
One of the most interesting aspects of adaptogenic herbs is that they help people with thyroid diseases. Ashwagandha has shown potential to be a support of therapy in people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease or hypothyroidism.
These health benefits of Ashwagandha for the thyroid also account for the herb’s benefits for weight loss, as thyroid problems can lead to adverse weight changes.
A 2017 pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine evaluated the benefits of Ashwagandha to help patients with subclinical hypothyroidism. The 50 participants were diagnosed with thyroid disorders but did not show clear symptoms of thyroid deficiency.
Over eight weeks, the treatment group received 600 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract daily, while the control group received starch as a placebo. The researchers found that the extract significantly improved serum thyrotropic hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4) levels compared to the placebo.
They ultimately concluded that ashwagandha may be beneficial in normalizing thyroid levels in hypothyroid patients.
Ashwagandha alleviates adrenal fatigue
Studies show that ashwagandha may be useful in supporting adrenal function and helping with adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals are endocrine glands that are responsible for releasing hormones, particularly cortisol and adrenaline, in response to stress.
If your adrenal glands are overloaded due to excessive emotional, physical, or mental stress, it can lead to a condition known as adrenal exhaustion.
When your adrenals are exhausted, it can also interfere with other hormones’ levels in your body, including progesterone, which can cause infertility, and lower levels of DHEA, a hormone that is associated with longevity.
Ashwagandha counteracts stress and anxiety
One of the ashwagandha’s best-known benefits is its ability to act as a natural remedy for anxiety disorders. In a 2009 study published in PLOS One, ashwagandha proved that its effects were comparable to the popular pharmaceutical drugs lorazepam and imipramine while showing no side effects.
In a 12-week controlled study, 75 participants with anxiety disorders were divided into two groups, one that received naturopathic care and one that received a standardized dose of psychotherapeutic medication. The naturopathic care group received 300 milligrams of Ashwagandha extract twice daily.
When anxiety levels were measured after 12 weeks, the group that received ashwagandha showed a 55 percent decrease in anxiety intensity, and the psychotherapy group’s scores decreased by 30.5 percent.
Significant differences between the two groups were also found in mental health, concentration, social functioning, vitality, fatigue, and overall quality of life, with the ashwagandha group showing more significant clinical benefits.
Ashwagandha helps in counteracting depression states
Ashwagandha not only benefits people who struggle with anxiety and chronic stress, but it can also be helpful for those who experience symptoms of depression. This herb improves resilience to stress, and studies show that in doing so, it improves the self-reported quality of life in tested subjects.
In an experimental study on rats, the effectiveness of ashwagandha was compared to imipramine, a popular antidepressant drug.
How much ashwagandha is a safe dosage?
So how much ashwagandha should be taken daily? Is it safe to take ashwagandha daily?
While there is no official recommended dosage of ashwagandha, the most common recommended dosage is around 300-500 milligrams per day with the possibility of increasing to dose of around 1,000-1,500 milligrams of Ashwagandha extract per day.
Although many sources recommend taking doses as high as 6,000 milligrams per day, it’s best to stick to a moderate dose unless a higher dose is suggested by explicit medical advice.
Ashwagandha, botanically known as Withania somnifera, is an important herb in traditional Ayurvedic medicine because it benefits many body systems, including the immune, neurological, endocrine, and reproductive systems.
It is one of the most commonly used adaptogens due to its multitude of benefits and a low number of side effects. The most important and best-researched health benefits of Ashwagandha include improving thyroid function, increasing energy levels, relieving adrenal fatigue, reducing cortisol levels, and reducing stress and anxiety.