Ashwagandha
Everything You Wanted To Know About Ashwagandha - The 2021 Guide
Author

Fact Checked By Jill Armijo, PTA, CHC

For thousands of years, India has used natural remedies and earth elements as medicine. 

A medical system called Ayurveda, or the ‘knowledge of life (1).’

This alternative medicine focuses on balancing the body’s energies by healing our movements, metabolic systems, and overall body structure.

Ashwagandha is a popular herb used in Ayurveda medicine for its incredible health benefits such as:

  • Reducing levels of stress and anxiety
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Lowering cortisol and blood sugar levels
  • Minimizing inflammation and joint pain

In this article, we break down everything you wanted to know about ashwagandha, including the proven and believed healing benefits of the herb and if the health supplement may be a good fit for you!

What is Ashwagandha, and Where Does it Come From?

The Ashwagandha herb is from the berries and root of an evergreen shrub found in India, the Middle East, and Africa. 

The root is ground up into a powder or extract and combined with food, drinks, made into gummies or supplement pills (2) (3).

Common names for Ashwagandha and the Indian evergreen shrub include (4):

  • Indian Ginseng
  • Withania Somnifera
  • Winter Cherry
  • Poison Gooseberry
  • Ashwagandha

Like other natural herb plants, this shrub is not to be confused with alkekengi or American ginseng.

An Adaptogen

Ashwagandha is categorized as an adaptogen, meaning it’s a non-toxic plant proven to help the body manage its:

  • Physical Pain - by minimizing joint inflammation, acting as an aid for pain in the body
  • Chemical Imbalances - providing stress relief, a mood booster, and increasing energy
  • Biological Stressors  - boosting the immune system, balancing hormones, and regulating blood sugar

The Chemicals found in Ashwagandha and How they Help

The primary chemicals found in the Ashwagandha plant are withanolides, steroidal lactones, alkaloids, saponins, flavonoids, and salts. 

Let’s see how those play a part in the health benefits (5).

Withanolide & Steroidal Lactones are naturally occurring steroids known to:

  • Increase thyroid hormones
  • Aid in joint pain
  • Reduce tumor growth in the body
  • Minimize cortisol levels

Alkaloids are typically in the human body, food and drinks, and natural and alternative medicines. 

This chemical is known to help:

  • Minimize cancerous cells
  • Be an anti-inflammatory and reduce swelling in the muscles and joints
  • Act as a pain reliever
  • Boost behavior and reduce levels of stress
  • A local anesthetic
  • Fight bacteria, fungal, and viruses in the body

Saponins are known for (6) (7):

  • Decreasing fat in the blood - lowering cholesterol
  • Reducing your blood glucose(sugar) levels is beneficial, especially to those with diabetes.
  • Minimizing cancer risks

This chemical has been used in many cases, like developing vaccines, producing makeup, and combining drugs.

Flavonoids are a plant-based metabolic aid proven to act as an antioxidant in the human body and help your body send strong signals through the cells. 

Flavonoid helps your body (8):

  • Fight off stress signals
  • Protect against toxins and similar stressors on the body
  • Reduce inflammation and fight against germs and toxins
  • Increase hormone levels and fertility
  • Improve body performance
  • Boost your energy

What Should I Take Ashwagandha for?

There are many ways to use and benefit from Ashwagandha; here are the more common benefits and reasons for taking the supplement (9).

Boosting Your Mental Health

The stress-reducing component of Ashwagandha is excellent for boosting your mood, improving overall health, increasing positivity, and minimizing anxiety. 

The supplement also helps with combatting depression and improving mental clarity to feel better and more yourself.

Reducing Fatigue and Improving Brain Function

Along with less stress and an increase in positivity, this supplement acts as an energy boost to combat mental or physical fatigue. 

Whether you need a pick-me-up in the morning or feeling overly tired, this is a perfect option for reducing tiredness and fatigue levels. 

It’s even known for helping people with insomnia. It is an aid that helps with brain function and improves brain health and mental agility, and increases physical performance!

Combating Inflammation in the Body

The healing powers of Ashwagandha provide a natural aid in minimizing swelling in the body and acts as a pain reliever. 

These factors are great for relieving joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic back pain, and improving overall joint and muscle health. It can even enhance an underactive thyroid.

Improving Heart, Blood, & Immune System Health

If we have high-stress levels, our stress hormone cortisol will increase, resulting in potential anxiety, sleep loss, high blood sugar, mental fog, and fatigue. 

The steroid chemicals found in the Ashwagandha are perfect for lowering cortisol levels and reducing stress. 

In turn, this helps lower blood pressure, reduce fat and sugar levels in the blood(which is excellent for diabetics), and improve cholesterol. 

The antioxidants also help enhance the immune system and minimize the risk of heart disease and other cancers.

Hormone & Physical Enhancer

Along with a boost in energy and mental clarity, Ashwagahnda has also improved hormone levels resulting in an increased sex drive, a hormonal balance, and increased fertility and sperm count in men. 

The energy boost and antioxidants can enhance physical performance and muscle gain as well.

Is Ashwagandha Right for You?

Although Ashwagandha is well-known and used for thousands of years, there are a few potential side effects and health risks that you should consider before taking. 

Remember to consult your doctor with any questions regarding Ashwagandha supplements and mixing medications.

Potential side effects when taking Ashwagandha include:

  • Headaches
  • Potential nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea
  • Excessive sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Studies have not shown the long-term effects; however, it is recommended not to take the supplement over three months at a time.

Do not combine Ashwagandha supplements with:

Immunosuppressants

  • Ashwagandha works to increase immunity and would counteract with an immune system suppressant.

Sedatives (Benzodiazepines)

  • Ashwagandha can cause sleepiness and is dangerous to combine with other sedative-like medications.

Consult your doctor before taking Ashwagandha if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have an auto-immune disease
  • Have recently had or are going to have surgery in the next few weeks
  • Have a thyroid disorder

Try Our Ashwagandha Supplement at Clinical Effects

At Clinical Effects, we provide Organic Ashwagandha in the form of veggie capsules. 

We’ve combined the ashwagandha root with black pepper fruit to improve your body’s absorption of the herb supplement (10).

Our supplement is organic and all-natural with 4.8-star reviews. Here’s what people are saying:

Ashagandha

“Great stuff. Highly recommended. Helps me sleep and lifts my mood.”

“I asked my doctor for a natural way to boost my mood and get me out of my head and he told me about this. 

He said I should try it and that if I liked it we could go from there. I’m pretty healthy, I just have too much stress and anxiety. But this helps. A lot. 

I’ve been taking it for a while now with zero negative side effects. Much better than chemical drugs! No thanks!”

Author

Fact Checked By Jill Armijo, PTA, CHC

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