Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Adaptogens are compounds that show support and benefits for numerous parts of the body.
These herbs and plant compounds are becoming increasingly popular because of the health benefits they provide. So, if you don’t know about ashwagandha by now, you need to.
The Benefits of Ashwagandha
When it comes to the celebrities of the adaptogen world, ashwagandha is the herb to beat. Among wellness experts, this herb is beneficial for your health in more ways than one. However, it has received some negativity in the past because it may be linked to certain triggers and side effects.
As with most health compounds in life, there is always there is always a little bad to go with the good.
The benefits of ashwagandha keep it in celebrity status because they far outweigh any of the side effects. The benefits of this herb can be traced back over 2500 years as it has been successfully used in medicine to bring benefits to multiple areas in the body.
1. Immune System Booster
Ashwagandha has most commonly been used to boost immunity. Your immune system contains two different types of white blood cells, and it is important that these stay in balance. When one outnumbers the other, your entire immune system is out of whack, potentially causing inflammation as well as autoimmune conditions.
Ashwagandha not only helps to boost your immune system after you have been ill, but it helps to keep the balance among your white blood cells.
2. Supports Thyroid Health
This herb has been shown to work wonders for an underactive thyroid. After taking supplements, patients with thyroid disorders reported much healthier thyroid hormone levels and function.
Hypothyroidism can affect bone strength and heart health, but when taking an ashwagandha supplement, patients report normalized hormone levels within weeks. It is important to remember that while this herb can help those with an underactive thyroid, it can be dangerous for individuals with elevated thyroid hormone levels.
3. Cognitive Function Improvement
Studies are still ongoing as to the benefits of ashwagandha and cognitive health, but so far this herb has been found to possess neuro-protective properties. Ashwagandha has the ability to protect neuronal and glial cells from oxidative damage, which in turn protects against cognitive decline.
Additional studies have also found that the herb might stimulate neural growth and regeneration and reverse the signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Blood Sugar Control
Stress and the hormone cortisol can do real damage to your body if not controlled. Cortisol uses up your glucose energy stores when triggered as a part of the natural “flight or fight” response to stress, causing sweating and more. Cortisol also forces your brain to cease insulin production, which results in your body being flooded with blood sugar.
With time, these excessive blood sugar levels can cause insulin resistance to develop and type-2 diabetes. Ashwagandha has anti-stress capabilities and the ability to lower cortisol levels, which can help protect against dangerous blood sugar levels. Studies have even found that the herb helps to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics.
5. Anxiety Relief
Anxiety causes stress and triggers the same cortisol response as a real physical threat. Because of the cortisol-lowering effects of ashwagandha, this herb can be used to help with symptoms of anxiety. While many medications are available to treat anxiety conditions, there are a number of people that like trying natural remedies first.
Supplementing ashwagandha, such as our high-quality ZenWell ashwagandha supplement, in your diet may help to lower stress and can help you control your anxiety more effectively without medication. This should always be discussed with your doctor first though.
Is Ashwagandha Safe to Use?
As a member of the nightshade family, ashwagandha is safe to use, with the exception of those that have food sensitivities to that plant family. They are high in lectin which is a common culprit of food sensitivities and can cause headaches, bloating, and other digestive issues.
There is no standard recommended dose to take, but studies have generally used doses between 100 and 500 mg. Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha are highly individualized, so the effects will vary per person. It is always advised to start small and see how you feel before increasing the dosage of your supplement. Once you feel that you are getting the desired results, you can stick with a dosage for life.
In addition to adding ashwagandha to your diet, you should also employ additional stress-relieving techniques. Mediation, mindfulness, deep breathing, and yoga are all great ways to bring relaxation into your life and will support the work the ashwagandha is doing from within.
You may not be familiar with ashwagandha, but this is an herb you definitely want to work on getting to know. As with all things, there can be negative side effects, but this is not going to be the case with everyone. The benefits of ashwagandha outweigh those effects and you can enjoy great health and longevity by spicing up your life with this popular and powerful adaptogenic herb.
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