In Ayurvedic medicine it has been known for thousands of years, in Poland relatively recently. Ashwagandha is a plant with excellent health-promoting properties. Wondering if and how it can benefit you? Find out exactly what ashwagandha is, what ailments it helps with, and how to take it. We describe everything below.
Ashwagandha – what is it?
Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, vitania, winter cherry, sleepyhead, is a plant found primarily in Southeast Asia, but also in Mediterranean countries, Australia and Africa. It has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is classified as an adaptogenic plant, which means that it helps our body return to balance, for example, in stressful situations. However, its positive effects on the body are much broader, as we will discuss in a moment. Ashwagandha is rich in alkaloids, vitanolides, flavonoids, saponins and coumarins, among others.
Properties of ashwagandha
We have no doubt that ashwagandha is one of the plants with the widest range of medicinal properties. What exactly does it affect? Why is it worth taking? Here are the properties of the winter cherry:
- supports the nervous system – improves concentration and learning ability (great for example, during a college exam session);
- strengthens the immune system – it contains chemical compounds that help fight infection;
- improves the quality of sleep;
- restores mental balance – reduces the amount of cortisol secreted in the body, reduces tension and has an antidepressant effect;
- lowers the level of bad cholesterol in the blood, while raising the level of good cholesterol;
- increases the body’s efficiency (hence its popularity among cyclists or other physically active people);
- normalizes blood sugar levels;
- supports male fertility – sperm are more active and mobile;
- acts as an antioxidant – fights harmful free radicals, prevents earlier aging;
- protects the liver from the negative effects of heavy metals.
How to use ashwagandha?
We can take ashwagandha in the form of powder or tablets (capsules), always according to the manufacturer’s recommendations – after a meal. Importantly, if we want to observe positive effects, regular supplementation lasting eight weeks is necessary. Then wait a month and repeat it.
When can you not take ashwagandha? Contraindications
Although Indian ginseng has positive effects on the human body, but as with everything – some people can not take it. It is best to consult a doctor beforehand, but such people include:
- people with a diseased thyroid gland;
- people with stomach ulcers;
- people taking sleeping pills, antidepressants and antiepileptic drugs;
- people taking medications for high blood pressure and diabetes – these medications can then act too intensively, so you need to check blood pressure and sugar levels more often;
- pregnant women, nursing mothers and children – because of the risk of discoloration, itching and burning.
main photo: unsplash.com/Bankim Desai