by Ashley Peat | 🕒5 min read
All hail to the magical and miraculous herb gifted by nature to mankind. Ashwagandha is the widely used herb in Indian Ayurveda for its astounding health benefits. Out of its many benefits, Ayurvedic Medicine has used it to make people look better, sleep better and feel better.
Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit term that refers to, “smell of a horse”. Why so? Due to the association of horse-like strength and virility. It is believed that a person who consumes this herb gets the power and vitality of a horse in both exercise, and the bedroom!
If you too are stressed and need something to take the edge off, boost your mood and vigor, there’s hope for you. There are certain forms of the herb recommended to avoid due to the presence of toxic compounds. It is important to know the herb extract you’re consuming is free of all the toxic agents. This complete guide answers all of your questions and doubts regarding the right strain of Ashwagandha.
What exactly is Ashwagandha?
A small shrub with yellow flowers and a red fruit. Looks like any sweet berry from the garden and works like a miracle. The most beneficial part is its roots which has the greatest content of withanolides and essential nutrients. You may also hear of it called Withania Somnifera, Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry.
THE GREEN CHEMISTRY – WHAT’S KSM-66®? ASHWAGANDHA
The most potent form of Ashwagandha, KSM-66® is a standardised, branded, "full spectrum" extract from the roots only, with no components from the leaf. This extract has a market leading 5% Withanolides. This is because the maximum benefits are found in the root extract in all of the Ayurveda Textbooks and Clinical Studies. KSM66® is the most widely studied strain of Ashwagandha with more than 10 studies to date. Furthermore, the extracts containing the components from the leaves have far less efficacy and safety.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ASHWAGANDHA – IS IT RECOMMENDED FOR YOU?
Ashwagandha is a one of a kind with its dual capacity to relax an anxious mind and reduce symptoms of stress. In addition to that, multiple studies have shown it is a great strength booster and so may have an application in your workout arsenal.
1. The ultimate way to destroy Cortisol – Goodbye Stress!
The mighty herb is rich in Anti - Cortisol agents, and that’s where most of the magic lies. Ashwagandha is proven to treat people battling stress and relieves anxiety. It balances the cortisol levels and is even used as a natural antidepressant to overcome depression and relieve physical and mental stress. The balancing of cortisol helps with diabetes, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation and improve blood pressure.
2. The power of an Adaptogen – No more sleeplessness!
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, i.e. it has the power to deal with the chemical as well as physical effects of stress. Since its inception, it has been used in treating insomnia and physical pain exhibited due to stress.
3. Healing abilities and pain relief – Turn woes to strength!
Not only for internal healing, Ashwagandha is also widely used to heal wounds. It relieves pain in joints, and reduce swelling.
4. Ashwagandha As Nootropic Supplement
The reason why we came to first hear of Ashwagandha was of course because of its benefits as a "Nootropic" (Brain Booster). A miraculous ability of Ashwagandha is boosting the growth of nerve cells and protecting the brain cells from environmental harm. It may prevent seizures and studies show it may help in the treatment of several complex mental diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other Dementias.
It may provide mood boosting properties as it has a GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) like reaction in the body.
As a nootropic, Ashwagandha is evidenced to boost mental focus. The scientific literature also suggest that the herb can help to improve the formation of memories and a supportive for healthy brain function.
Ashwagandha is both a powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, free radicals you may have heard of are compounds created during the process of cellular oxidation. Free radicals lead to the damage of cells in your brain and body, causing decline. Antioxidants can prevent that damage, potentially resulting in greater longevity.
5. Ashwagandha Supplement for Cancer Patients
The wonder herb has been used to reduce immunosuppression and eases the pain caused by chemotherapy. Due to the anti-depressant properties, it greatly reduces the stress and fatigue caused in patients. However, it is important to note that there isn’t any evidence for its ability to actually treat cancer. It can be used as a supplement alongside other medicinal treatments.
6. Guys’ Best Friend - Health Benefits of Ashwagandha for Men
Several studies proved Ashwagandha to be man’s best friend and you’ll now discover why. Along with Cortisol, Ashwagandha has similar effects on other hormones that affect male virility and the thyroid – the organ that regulates hormones. Several studies suggested that one who consumes Ashwagandha experiences a significant enhancement in luteinizing hormone, the hormone that stimulates testosterone production. Ashwagandha’s benefits for men do not end here. The root powder can help infertile men, treat erectile dysfunction, stabilize energy levels and improves muscle development. Hence Ashwagandha can serve as the best source to reach ideal body weight, a healthy prostate, vigor, sharper brain and sexual functionality and a robust erectile response!
7. Health Benefits of Ashwagandha for Women – Mood Swings, not a problem!
Women go through a number of physical changes that affect their inner strength and power. The condition brings stress, mood swings, and several hormonal imbalances. Ashwagandha helps in stabilizing mood, reducing fatigue, increasing blood flow and reducing tension. It also reduces menopausal symptoms like anxiety and hot flashes. According to the research held in 2012, the benefits of Ashwagandha for women include improved sex drive, satisfaction, and desire. So, if you’re thinking about buying Ashwagandha, don't forget to pick one up for your other half too!
The Shopping Guide – How to buy the right Ashwagandha Supplement?
Identifying the right supplement might be overwhelming at first but with our help the process can be much easier and you can avoid buying an Ashwagandha that does not work. The key is in understanding the Withanolide content.
The reason behind the great benefits of Ashwagandha is its active ingredient, Withanolides. It’s a group of flavonoids that accelerates several positive bodily responses to sexuality and stress reduction. Several components together, like Sominone, Withanolide A, Withanolide IV and Withanone etc. make up the mighty Ashwagandha potent enough to fight stress and complex diseases. However, the effects totally depend on the dosage of the supplement. You want to find one with 500 - 600mg of "full spectrum" extract. You also want to find one that is certified organic so it has no pollutants or heavy metals.
These components are concentrated on specified parts of the plant. Therefore, it is important to know where your supplement comes from. No matter if you buy powdered Ashwagandha or capsules, it must meet the criteria to fit your needs and provide the benefits you’re in search of.
- For max Withanolide content, ensure that your Ashwagandha powder is extracted from the roots alone with no components from the leaves. KSM-66® is, therefore, the most potent and recommended form of Ashwagandha as its the highest withanolide content (5%), full spectrum, and is available Organic.
- Beware of Withaferin A! It is important to note that not all withanolides are beneficial. Withaferin A is cytotoxic. KSM-66 is recommended as it has the lowest amount of Withaferin A of any Ashwagandha.
- Reach out to the high credible outlets only. Not all suppliers of Ashwagandha are genuine. Ensure that its KSM66®.
- Lastly, do not forget to read the dosage and description manual thoroughly.
If you are buying loose ashwagandha you need to examine the texture and the smell. Ashwagandha has a unique smell and a bitter taste which you will get used to.
Check the powder for its light or medium brown shade with soft and fine texture. Its particles are small which make it fluffier.
Stacks and Supplements to look out for – Dosage, Active Amount and How to take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is purely rejuvenating and safe to be utilised as a supplement for the whole family including children.
The most cost-effective dose of Ashwagandha is 300 to 600 mg.
Try being creative by mixing the extract with buttermilk, or honey. To add some excitement, try using the extract in green tea, shakes, smoothies and even desserts.
The rejuvenating herb is safe for long duration consumption. You can also cycle it, 6 - 8 weeks on, with 2 weeks off if you stop feeling the benefits as strongly as when you first started it.