What is Ashwagandha? Does Ashwagandha Powder Increase Height?

Ashwagandha Powder, What Does Ashwagandha Powder Do? How Is Ashwagandha Grown? When to Drink Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (aka Somnifera dunal) is an herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine that has a balancing effect on the body. It has been used for more than 2500 years. It is the most widely used and most researched adaptogen herb. Ashwagandha is valued for its thyroid-regulating, neuroprotective, anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties, which are just a few of its many benefits .

In India, it is known as the “stallion power” as it is traditionally used to boost the immune system after illness. It is also referred to as “Indian ginseng” for its ability to increase stamina and work as a natural stress reliever. In fact, the herb’s ability to work as a stress reliever is what makes it so popular. Like all adaptogenic herbs, it helps the body maintain balance even in times of emotional or physical stress. This powerful herb has shown effective results for lowering cortisol levels and balancing thyroid hormones. It has also been used in mood disorders and prevention of degenerative diseases.

What is Ashwagandha? 

The ashwagandha plant is botanically known as Withania somnifera root. It is a member of the Solanaceae family. Ashwagandha root is also commonly called Indian ginseng, winter cherry, and somnifera root. The root and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant are most commonly used for their medicinal properties and the presence of a group of steroidal withanolides. These withanolides include withaferin A, withanolide D and withanone.

The literal meaning of the word ashwagandha is “horse scent” because the fresh roots of the plant are said to smell like a horse. It is believed that when you consume ashwagandha you will regain a horse’s strength and vitality. In Latin, somnifera can be translated as “waking”. {one*}

A lot of research has been done on the benefits of Ashwagandha. These:

  • improve thyroid function
  • Treating adrenal fatigue
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • reduce stress
  • Increasing strength and endurance
  • prevent and treat cancer
  • Reducing brain cell degeneration
  • balancing blood sugar
  • lowering cholesterol 
  • It is to increase immunity . 

Ashwagandha is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine because it serves many purposes and benefits many body systems, including the immune, neurological, endocrine and reproductive systems. Often the oil of Ashwagandha (sometimes called ashwagandha essential oil) is used. The primary goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to help people stay healthy without the need for pain, prescription drugs, or complicated surgery. As part of this 5,000-year-old system, ashwagandha herb is used as a home remedy to alleviate a number of health problems and help the body stay in balance.

A study has proven that Ayurvedic herbs are the most productive source for the development of medicines, and many of the Ayurvedic herbs, such as ashwagandha root, can be beneficial in relieving a number of health problems. {2*} In  Ayurvedic medicine , this herb is described as “rasayana”. This means that it is used to improve physical and mental health, protect the body against diseases and harmful environmental factors, and slow the aging process. Ashwagandha has been used as a medicine in India for centuries. More recently, scientists have discovered that it has antioxidant properties.  {3*}

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Ashwagandha Benefits and Use 

Ashwagandha is a beneficial herb that helps with thyroid diseases, anxiety problems and weight loss. Ashwagandha benefits and uses include:

Improves Low Thyroid Function 

One of the most effective aspects of adaptogen herbs is  that they help people with thyroid  problems.  Ashwagandha has been observed to have beneficial effects on people diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease or low thyroid function  . A 2017 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine evaluated the benefits of Ashwagandha in helping patients with hypothyroidism. {4*} 

Researchers have observed that ashwagandha extract significantly improves thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4) levels. It was concluded that the herb may be beneficial for normalizing thyroid levels in patients with hypothyroidism. Another study also found that Ashwagandha  has thyroid-enhancing properties . Research suggests that because Ashwagandha increases thyroid function, it may not be suitable for people with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism . {5*} 

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Relieves Adrenal Fatigue

Research shows that Ashwagandha can help support adrenal function and overcome adrenal fatigue. The adrenals are endocrine glands responsible for releasing hormones, particularly cortisol and adrenaline, in response to stress. If your adrenals become overloaded due to excessive emotional, physical, or mental stress, this causes a condition called adrenal fatigue. When your adrenals are depleted, they can disrupt other hormones in your body, including progesterone, which can lead to infertility and  low levels of DHEA, a hormone that ensures longevity and strength.   

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Fights Stress and Anxiety

One of the most well-known ashwagandha benefits is that it reduces anxiety symptoms. In one study Ashwagandha was proven to be comparable to the common pharmaceutical drugs lorazepam and imipramine without adverse effects {6*} Many benefits have been observed. Unlike Ashwagandha, antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications can cause drowsiness, insomnia, loss of sexual desire and increased appetite.  

Improves Depression

Ashwagandha not only benefits people dealing with anxiety and chronic stress, but it can also help people experiencing symptoms of depression . The herb increases resistance to stress, and research has shown that it improves people’s quality of life. In one study, the effectiveness of ashwagandha was compared with the antidepressant drug imipramine. Researchers  have found that Ashwagandha exhibits antidepressant effects. It has been observed that ashwagandha can be used as a depression and mood stabilizer in clinics. {7*}

Balances Blood Sugar

Ashwagandha has been evaluated for its anti-diabetic effects, which is possible due to the presence of phenolic compounds, including flavonoids. Studies have shown that flavonoids have hypoglycemic activities, and one study concluded that both ashwagandha root and leaf extract helped to normalize blood sugar levels.  {8*}

Other studies have found that when ashwagandha is given with fructose, it inhibits the fructose-induced increase in glucose, insulin resistance, and inflammation. {9*} These data suggest that  ashwagandha extract may be helpful in improving insulin sensitivity and inflammatory markers in humans.  

Helps Fight Cancer

Studies show that Ashwagandha has promising anti-tumor effects, may help prevent the growth of tumor cells and cancer cells. {10*} It has been observed that Ashwagandha extract  helps to prevent the proliferation of breast, lung, stomach and colon cancer cells , which are among the leading cancer types in the world . Ashwagandha is believed to help prevent the growth of cancer cells, mostly due to its immune-boosting and antioxidant abilities .  

 In addition to the anti-cancer ashwagandha benefits observed in multiple studies , researchers also suggest that the herb may help reduce the side effects of anti-cancer agents that can reduce immunity and quality of life  According to a published study, ashwagandha acts as an immunomodulator that can increase the lifespan of cancer patients, especially those at low immune risk. {11*} Another study found that ashwagandha supplementation produced an increase in white blood cells in the body. It shows that the immune system is better able to protect the body from diseases and harmful invaders when using this herb. {12*} 

Reduces Brain Cell Degeneration and Improves Memory

Emotional, physical and chemical stress can have damaging effects on the brain and nervous system. Recent research has shown that Ashwagandha also protects the brain from cell degeneration that can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. One of the main reasons why Ashwagandha is so effective is because it contains powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals that cause aging.

Withaferin A and withanolide D are the two main withanolides used to improve cognitive function in ashwagandha. Withanolides are naturally occurring steroids commonly found in plants of the nightshade family. These steroids have been shown in studies to help promote cell growth, reverse behavioral deficiencies and plaque formation, and reduce amyloid beta burden, which plays an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. {13*} One study suggests that Ashwagandha effectively improves both immediate and general memory in people with mild cognitive impairment. {14*}

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Boosts Immune Function

Because ashwagandha works as an adaptogen that can reduce the body’s stress hormones, it can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. {15*} In addition, ashwagandha has an anti-inflammatory effect by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This adaptogenic herb can be a useful tool in the treatment of various inflammatory disorders by regulating the immune system.

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Increases Strength and Stamina

Studies show that Ashwagandha can increase endurance during physical activity by sharpening brain function and reducing bodily pain. Thanks to its calming, energizing effects on the brain and its ability to reduce stress hormones, it has been observed in studies that it helps to increase concentration, motivation and endurance. Studies have found that ashwagandha extracts improve heart and lung muscle endurance and significantly improve quality of life scores on treatment. {16*} 

Helps Increase Muscle Strength

A study published in nutrition showed that  ashwagandha  supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength. The researchers found that there was a significant increase in muscle strength during the exercises. People who took ashwagandha also showed significant muscle gains in the arms and chest, greater reductions in exercise-induced muscle damage, increased testosterone levels, and a noticeable reduction in body fat percentage. {17*} Clinical trials examining general joint pain and joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis have shown that the herb gives extremely positive results because it inhibits pain {18*} and does not cause any proven side effects. {19*}

Helps Improve Sexual Function and Fertility 

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha has been used as a natural aphrodisiac that may help improve sexual dysfunction. It is also used to increase testosterone levels and improve male fertility In one study, researchers found that the group that took ashwagandha showed significantly higher improvements in sexual function scores, particularly arousal and orgasm, compared to placebo. {20*} In another study, individuals treated with ashwagandha had a 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume and 57% increase in sperm motility. {21*} Another study showed that ashwagandha supplementation can improve testosterone levels in individuals screened for infertility. {22*}  

Nutrition 

1000 mg of ashwagandha root powder contains: 

  • 2.5 calories 
  • 0.04 gram protein 
  • 0.032 gram lift 
  • 0.05 grams of carbohydrates 
  • 0.03 milligrams of iron 
  • 0.02 milligrams of calcium 
  • 0.08 micrograms of carotene 
  • 0.06 milligrams of vitamin C. 

Ashwagandha contains many beneficial elements, including flavonoids and antioxidants such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which are known as the mother of all antioxidants. It also contains alkaloids, amino acids, neurotransmitters, sterols, tannins, lignans and triterpenes. These valuable compounds allow the plant’s pharmacological activities and are responsible for many ashwagandha benefits.

Ashwagandha  Types, Use and Dosage 

The most popular form of the herb is root extract, but leaf extracts are also available. Its extracts are available in capsule and powder forms. The root  and even the leaves are often used to  make ashwagandha tea When purchasing ashwagandha supplements, make sure they are standard for human consumption. Vitanolide content should range from 1-10%, but not all supplements are labeled with this information.  The higher the vitanolide content, the stronger the effects of the supplement.   

You should start an organic ashwagandha supplement with 300-500mg per day containing vitanolides in the 5-10% range. Slowly increase your ashwagandha dose, watching for any adverse effects that may occur. Many supplements recommend between 1000-1500mg per day . Various sources claim that the optimal dose of ashwagandha to be taken can be as high as 6000mg each day. It would be more helpful to do this under the guidance of a healthcare professional. In one study, ashwagandhan gradually increasing from 750 milligrams per day to 1250 milligrams per day was observed to be well tolerated. It has been found to improve sleep quality, lower cholesterol levels, and increase muscle strength. {23*}  

Ashwagandha does not have a pleasant smell, but if you choose to use it in powder form, you can mix it with other foods or drinks to make it more pleasant and create a healing tonic. Drinking Ashwagandha tea is also a way to consume the herb, and you can add honey to the tea to improve its taste. It may take two weeks or more for the benefits of Ashwagandha to be observed. It may take some time to reverse the damage done by chronic stress and increased cortisol levels. There is not enough evidence to say that it is safe to use the herb over a long period of time.   

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Ashwagandha, Maca Root and Ginseng 

Similar features  are as follows: 

  • Ashwagandha, maca root, and ginseng are herbs that have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. 
  • All three plants contain powerful antioxidants . It functions in improving memory, brain function, mood, sexuality, and  regulates blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation and increases energy levels. 
  • All three herbs are  available for therapeutic use, most commonly in extracts, capsules, and powder forms made from the roots of the plants. 

Its different features are as follows: 

  • The flavors of these three herbs are different. Ashwagandha is known for its bitter taste and horse-like odor. Therefore, it is more useful in capsule form or as a powder mixed with other foods. Maca root has an earthy flavor, while Ginseng has a bitter/spicy flavor. 
  • Ginseng is widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. While maca root dates back to ancient Peruvians, ashwagandha is known as an essential nutrient in Ayurveda. 
  • The recommended doses of each herb are different. Effective doses for ginseng vary between 200-900 mg per day. The daily dose for maca root is 1 or 3 tablespoons. The recommended daily dose for Ashwagandha is between 1000-1500 mg per day. 

Risks, Side Effects, and Interactions of Ashwagandhan 

Ashwagandha consists of steroidal lactones or vitanolides, including withanolide A, withaferin A, and withanone. These structures are unique to this plant. They have different medicinal effects and are responsible for the  many benefits of Ashwagandha . Some parts of the plant contain more of these compounds than others. So when choosing an ashwagandha extract you have to be careful where it comes from. Leaf extracts generally contain higher levels of withaferrin A than root extracts. It has been considered safe for human consumption when taken in doses appropriate for therapeutic use. Some possible side effects of Ashwagandha include stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. If you notice any of these ashwagandha side effects, stop taking the herb immediately.   

It should never be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women. There is some evidence that it may cause miscarriage, and there is no safety information available about breastfeeding while taking the herb. People who use diabetes medication, blood pressure medication, immunosuppressant and tranquilizer medications due to thyroid problems should not use ashwagandha  without consulting their doctor. Those with hyperthyroidism may notice an additional increase in thyroid function while taking the herb and should only do so under a doctor’s supervision. It is also possible that ashwagandha may improve symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis .   If you are going to have surgery that requires anesthesia, you should stop taking ashwagandha at least two weeks before, in case the herb slows down your central nervous system even more. 

How to Avoid Negative Ashwagandha Side Effects? 

You should make sure to use it as directed and follow the instructions on how to take Ashwagandha. It is also recommended that you start with a low dose and gradually increase to monitor and assess your tolerance. Check the ingredient label to choose a product that is free of chemicals, additives and fillers. The supplement should contain between 1-10% of the vitanolides, the main phytochemicals found in ashwagandha. If you experience adverse effects from any ashwagandha root or ashwagandha tea, you should reduce your dosage to see if symptoms persist . For serious side effects, discontinue use  and consult your doctor .    

How Safe Is Ashwagandha  ? 

Although there is no officially recommended dose of ashwagandha, it is recommended that you initially take about 300–500 mg per day and increase to about 1000–1500 mg per day  . While many sources recommend taking doses as high as 6000mg per day, they say it’s best to stick to a moderate dose unless under the guidance of a trusted healthcare professional.  

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