Ashwagandha is one of the most important plants in theAyurvedawhich is a traditional form of alternative medicine based on the Indian principles of natural healing.
What is ashwagandha?
“Ashwagandha” means “horse smell” in Sanskrit. Indeed, it refers to both the scent of the plant as well as its potential ability to increase strength. Moreover, its botanical name is Withania somnifera. Note that it is also known by several other names, including “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry”.
Ashwagandha is a small shrub with yellow flowers, native to India and Southeast Asia. In fact, extracts or powder from the root or leaves of the plant are used to treat a variety of problems.
In which case to use it?
Ashwagandha contains chemicals that may help calm the brain, reduce edema, lower blood pressure and alter the immune system.
In case of stress:
As’adaptogen, it is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress. Generally speaking, it is a substance that helps the body deal with stress.
Ashwagandha appears to help control stress mediators, including heat shock proteins (Hsp70), the cortisol and the c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1) activated by stress.
It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a system in your body that regulates the stress response.
Several studies have shown that supplementing with ashwagandha can help relieve the stress and theanxiety.
Its impact on mental health:
There is some evidence to suggest that it may help reduce the symptoms of mental disordersof which the depressionin some populations.
In one study, researchers looked at the effects of the herb in 66 people with schizophrenia who suffered from depression and anxiety. In comparison, they found that participants who took 1,000 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for 12 weeks had a greater reduction in depression and anxiety compared to those who took a placebo. What’s more, results from another study suggest that taking ashwagandha may help improve overall symptoms and perceived stress in people with schizophrenia. Finally, limited research from 2013 also suggests that ashwagandha may help improve bipolar disorder.
Its effect on sleep:
Many people use it to promote a sleep repairer. Indeed, some data suggests that it can help with problems withinsomnia.
For example, a study in 50 adults between the ages of 65 and 80 found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily for 12 weeks significantly improved sleep quality and mental alertness (compared to to a placebo).
Its role in sports performance:
Research has shown that ashwagandha may have beneficial effects on athletic performance and may be an attractive supplement for athletes.
A research analysis included 12 studies of men and women who took doses of ashwagandha between 120 mg and 1,250 mg per day. The results suggest that the herb may improve physical performance, including strength and oxygen utilization during exercise.
Additionally, ashwagandha can help increase muscle strength. Indeed, in one study, male participants who took 600 mg of ashwagandha daily and participated in resistance training for 8 weeks experienced significantly greater gains in muscle strength and size compared to a placebo group.
Adverse effects & precautions for use:
- No change in the concentration of the following drugs: carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, valproic acid, procainamide, N-acetyl procainamide, theophylline, gentamicin, tobramycin, paracetamol, salicylic acid
- Possible interference with the digoxinthe ashwagandha alkaloids having a structural analogy with this molecule
- Avoid in case of hyperthyroidism
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Elodie, Naturopath & Paleo coach.