Ashwagandha is an herb with a very old, storied tradition of use in India. However, it is far from irrelevant in the modern era. This herb has been touted for a range of potential benefits, and is therefore a natural remedy worth knowing and considering.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an herb that is classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it is purported to help those who take it cope with stress on a physiological level. This adaptogenic herb is the most extensively used and researched adaptogenic herb on the market.
This herb is used to treat a range of different symptoms and mild conditions that have to do with bodily discomfort, stress, and disease. Per one doctor cited by forbes.com, the various potential positive effects of ashwagandha are all interrelated.
Ashwagandha has been made into a variety of consumable forms including teas, tinctures, and perhaps most commonly, oral supplements. While many people do claim to have benefitted from taking ashwagandha, and while there is some science to support these benefits, more scientific study is needed in order to firmly establish ashwagandha’s efficacy.
The Background on Ashwagandha
The ashwagandha herb has a long history of use in the Indian medicinal tradition known as Ayurveda, and has also long been used in Africa and the middle east. Its most established traditional use was as a rasayana in India, meaning that it was used to help relieve bodily tension and physical discomfort.
The general motif that sums up ashwagandha’s benefits is its ability to help the body return to homeostasis. Homeostasis is the state of physiological equilibrium that a healthy human body is usually in.
The name “ashwagandha” is from the Sanskrit language, and it literally means “horse smell.” This is because the natural form of this herb purportedly resembles that of a horse, and because it’s said to grant the strength of a horse to those who take it.
The Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an herb that remains popular because it provides legitimate benefits to many people who take it. However, as we stated earlier, there is not an overwhelming scientific consensus on ashwagandha’s efficacy. Always speak to your doctor before trying any new supplements, including natural herbal supplements such as ashwagandha.
Reducing stress and anxiety is probably the most touted, and most studied, benefit of ashwagandha. A number of scientific studies have shown ashwagandha to reduce stress and anxiety in individuals afflicted with those conditions. Not only that, but its effects were shown to be comparable to those of certain prescription medications. Ashwagandha is certainly worth considering for those who struggle with anxiety.
Lowering blood sugar and fat might be possible with ashwagandha. Some studies have shown ashwagandha to be helpful in reducing both blood glucose levels, and blood triglyceride levels. This makes sense, given that lower blood sugar levels are strongly associated with a reduction in stress, and vice versa. These are both positive effects, since excess blood glucose and blood triglycerides (a generally negative type of fat) can have adverse health effects.
Treating insomnia is a potential benefit of oral ashwagandha supplements. Ashwagandha is said to help increase both the quantity and quality of sleep in some people.
Improved cognition is a potential benefit of ashwagandha. Some small scientific studies have shown ashwagandha to be associated with improved reaction times in tests of cognition and reaction speed. It’s thought to help in these areas by improving attention spans and memory.
If you are looking for a natural remedy for stress, anxiety, sleep troubles, or other physiological markers associated with stress, then ashwagandha might be what you’re looking for. Ashwagandha is not a replacement for medical treatment where medical attention is deemed necessary. Talk to your doctor before trying ashwagandha supplements.