The use of natural remedies isn’t new, but with growing concerns about harmful chemicals, many people seek natural alternatives to nourish and heal the body. Many herbs and spices go beyond seasonings and have become great home remedies to heal the body and mind. One of these plants that have become a part of natural remedies is ashwagandha. What is it and how is it beneficial? Read on to find out!
What is Ashwagandha and where does it come from?
The ashwagandha plant is an evergreen shrub that grows in regions across Asia and Africa. The root and berries of this plant are often used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India. It is used as a tonic, sometimes referred to as Indian ginseng to improve both physical and mental health. Ashwagandha should not be confused with Physalis alkekengi (as both are known to be called winter cherries) or ginseng.
What are its uses and how is it beneficial for you?
Ashwagandha is often used as medicine to improve physical and mental health, as well as a variety of conditions. The popular uses of ashwagandha are to relieve stress and anxiety and to help people suffering from insomnia, often ingested. Ashwagandha contains chemicals that help calm down the brain, reduce inflammation and swelling, lower blood pressure spikes, and supports in strengthening the immune system.
Like with anything used for medicinal purposes, always consult with a doctor about the usage and dosage. Here are some other benefits of using ashwagandha.
Improves Focus and Memory
Studies have shown that ashwagandha improved the study participants’ reaction times during cognition and psychomotor tests. A separate study also concluded that it can improve attention spans and general memory.
Supports Heart Health
Studies have shown that ashwagandha can increase maximum levels of VO2 - the maximum amount of oxygen needed during physically exerting activities. VO2 levels are used to measure cardiorespiratory endurance - how well the heart and lungs are able to deliver oxygen to the muscles during physical activity.
Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat
Studies show that ashwagandha is used to help reduce blood glucose levels and triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the blood.
Increases Muscle and Strength
A study found that ashwagandha increased speed and strength, while another study observed an increase in muscle power, alongside a lower body fat percentage and reduced cholesterol levels.
Improves reproductive health, especially for women
A clinical study shows that ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction, while another study has shown that it helps men improve sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels.