Ashwagandha is a shrub found natively in Asia and Africa and has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Recently, it has gained some popularity in teas and moon milk flavors. But the pending question is whether it has any health benefits that come along with the fancy name.
Traditional Use of Ashwagandha
The herb is often used for rejuvenation treatments like building stamina, immunity, or endurance. It is seen as an anti-stress and brain-nourishing drug that can be used traditionally for the treatment of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or dementia. It can also combine with other treatments to treat issues with the liver and urinary system.
According to Forbes Health, there are seven main benefits that science has listed for Ashwagandha.
The first benefit is that it can relieve stress or anxiety. A study conducted points to the fact that doses of Ashwagandha can give better sleep quality as well, which in return can aid anxiety or stress.
Another benefit Forbes Health points out is that it can lower blood glucose levels and triglycerides.
A study found that Ashwagandha may increase speed and strength of people consuming it. Another study found that muscle power increased along with the improvement of sleep. The study showed a significant gain in muscle strength and size with a reduction in body fat percentage as well.
In a study conducted on women, Ashwagandha improved arousal, lubrication, orgasms, and overall satisfaction sexually from a self-report of participants. The distress surrounding the participants regarding sexual health was also lowered after taking Ashwagandha. Along with women, men’s sexual wellness was improved with ashwagandha as well. A study showed that administration of it to infertile men improved sperm quality and increased testosterone levels.
Cognitive function improvement is yet another benefit of ashwagandha use. It’s been suggested that motor responses and memory can both be improved through the use of ashwagandha. Another study found that it improved attention spans immensely and immediate and general memory.
Finally, ashwagandha has been shown in two studies to increase your VO2 max levels, which are the maximum amount of oxygen taken during physical movement. This all connects to your heart and lungs in delivering oxygen to muscles. These studies need more research but are pointing to the fact that ashwagandha has a lot of benefits to consider.
Side Effects or Risks
The FDA does not regulate the manufacturers of ashwagandha, which means they are not under the same standards that pharmaceutical companies and food producers are. Be sure to keep this in mind during purchase and use.
There have not been enough long-term studies to examine a lot of long-lasting side effects of taking ashwagandha. Most people can handle smaller doses of ashwagandha just fine with no side effects. However, large consumption can lead to digestive issues such as nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting due to irritation of the intestinal mucosa.
It is always a good idea to discuss your health with your doctor to see if Ashwagandha could have any side effects paired with medications you are already taking or if it could weaken the medication’s use. It could also pose a risk if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have thyroid issues. It may also be a smart idea to get allergy tested for Ashwagandha if you are allergic to grass or nightshades.
Ways to Incorporate Ashwagandha
The obvious ways to incorporate ashwagandha into your diet include capsules, tablets, gummies, and powders, but you can also consume it in the form of herbal tea. Some professionals suggest implementing it through tea as a way to introduce it gently to your diet and allow it to contribute to your hydration! However, adding the raw form may be more difficult for your body to implement, especially if you add a high dosage.
Too high of a dosage of ashwagandha has the potential to completely lose its therapeutic benefits and even render carcinogenic if used improperly. Mixing the powder into your granola, overnight oats, or smoothies can be beneficial as long as you do not overdo the dosage. Talk to a professional before implementing the raw form into your diet.
Do your research before purchasing any form of ashwagandha to ensure that it actually has what you are looking for in terms of benefits and ingredients. Consult a healthcare professional before introducing it to your diet!