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Overview of Ashwagandha: Uses, side effects, and other details

Team AckoJan 6, 2023

Ashwagandha is often referred to as Indian ginseng or winter cherry. It is used to treat a variety of ailments, including stress, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia. It is also believed to boost the immune system, aid in digestion, and improve memory and cognitive function. Read on for an overview of Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha: Health Benefits, Side effects & How to use

Contents

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Different forms of Ashwagandha

Ashvagandha is available in three different forms, capsules, powders, and liquid extracts. Each of them has its own benefits.

  • Capsules are convenient and are often the most affordable option. They allow for precise dosing, so you know exactly how much of the herb you are taking.

  • Powders are more versatile, as they can be consumed in a variety of ways, such as blended into drinks or added to food. They are convenient and can be easily added to recipes and consumed on the go.

  • Liquid extracts are the most concentrated and potent form of Ashwagandha, resulting in a more powerful dose of the herb. However, liquid extracts are usually more expensive than capsules or powder.

Ashwagandha Benefits 

Here are some of the benefits of Ashwagandha. 

Helps fight stress and anxiety: The most widely studied benefits of Ashwagandha are its anti-stress and anti-anxiety effects. Studies show that Ashwagandha can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, by up to 24% and reduce symptoms of stress-related disorders.

Enhances cognitive function: Ashwagandha has been shown to enhance cognitive function. It can also counteract the negative cognitive effects caused by stress.

Supports heart health: It is effective in promoting heart health and reducing the odds of heart disease. It can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Boosts immunity: It can strengthen the immune system and help fight off infections. Studies have shown that it can increase white blood cell production and stimulate the body’s natural defence mechanisms.

Enhances sexual health: It has been used for centuries as an aphrodisiac and to improve sexual health. It may increase libido, and improve stamina and potency.

Reduces inflammation: Ashwagandha has potent anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce inflammation and protect against numerous diseases.

Improves sleep quality: It increases GABA production, which helps promote relaxation and calmness. This can have a positive effect on sleep quality. Studies have shown that taking Ashwagandha before bed helps increase sleep duration, reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, and improve sleep quality.

Boosts energy levels: It may help reduce fatigue and improve energy levels. It can also improve endurance and muscular strength.

Dosage of Ashwagandha

The recommended dosage of Ashwagandha depends on a person's age, health condition, and individual needs. Generally, it is recommended to take 300 to 500 mg of Ashwagandha extract daily, or 5 to 10 grams of the root or Ashwagandha powder form. For best results, it is advised to ask a healthcare provider for specific guidelines tailored to your individual needs.

Ashwagandha for females

When it comes to using Ashwagandha, women should be aware of proper dosages and any potential side effects before beginning a regimen. Many experts recommend taking Ashwagandha in either capsule or tincture form for the best results. 

Additionally, it is important to note that some individuals may experience increased anxiety with the use of Ashwagandha, so it is highly recommended to start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time. Overall, with proper usage and taking into account any potential side effects, Ashwagandha may be a beneficial supplement for many women.

Ashwagandha for males

For many men, Ashwagandha is used as a natural remedy for a variety of issues related to sexual health, inflammation, and stress. Dosages vary depending on the individual, but typically start at 500mg of the extract taken twice daily. Also, some men may experience increased anxiety from Ashwagandha, so it is important to start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time to gauge the effects. As always, research should be done and any potential side effects should be noted before starting any new supplement regimen. Remember to consult a professional dietician or a doctor before consuming Ashwagandha.

Side effects of Ashwagandha 

In general, Ashwagandha is considered to be safe for most people and the potential side effects are usually mild. These may include nausea, diarrhoea, and stomach upset. 

  • It is also possible that some people may experience an allergic reaction, such as a rash, itching, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.

  • Other possible side effects include changes in heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.  

  • If you are taking any medications, including over-the-counter drugs, it is important to tell your doctor about them in order to avoid any potential drug interactions.

  • It is also crucial to note that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use Ashwagandha without first consulting with your doctor as it may not be beneficial or could cause problems for the baby.

  • Ashwagandha can affect people differently, so if you experience excessive sweating or difficulty sleeping, you should stop taking it and discuss it with your doctor to know the next steps.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Listed below are some queries and answers regarding Ashwagandha.

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Can I use Ashwagandha every day?

It is generally safe to take Ashwagandha on a daily basis, as long as it is taken in recommended doses. 

When should I consume Ashwagandha?

The best time to consume Ashwagandha is usually in the morning or evening, either in pill form or as a powder, mixed with water or juice. 

How long does it take for Ashwagandha to work?

The answer to this question depends on the specific medical condition being treated and the individual taking the Ashwagandha supplement. In general, it may take a few weeks of regular usage of Ashwagandha before experiencing noticeable effects. 

Is Ashwagandha a steroid?

Ashwagandha is not a steroid. It is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used in Indian medicine for centuries to help with a variety of issues, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia, and more.

Who should not take Ashwagandha?

People with autoimmune diseases, pregnant women, and young children should not take Ashwagandha. 

What happens when you take Ashwagandha daily?

When taken daily, Ashwagandha has been known to help alleviate stress, reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, and boost immunity. It has also been associated with a reduction in physical and mental fatigue, an increase in strength and endurance, a decrease in cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and improved mood.

Can an 18 year old individual take Ashwagandha?

Yes, an 18 year old individual can take Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is a herbal supplement that is generally considered to be safe and non-toxic. 

Does Ashwagandha help hair growth?

Studies have suggested that Ashwagandha may help to promote hair growth. Some research has found that it can help reduce the production of hormones linked to hair loss, as well as increase keratin levels which help strengthen hair. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

References

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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