Many people may not place the word “Ashwagandha” with the shrub, but as soon as you see the round orange fruit that turns into lanterns and that many people call “Chinese lantern plant”, you’ll know what it is. This herbal plant is made into Ashwagandha powder and has many health benefits. This powdered supplement is good for everything from helping to make your skin look younger, to making you sleep better, and generally feeling healthier and mentally alert.
Ashwagandha powder contains a large number of antioxidants, iron, and amino acids. Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in traditional Ayurvedic healing. It’s classified under “rayasana” or “rejuvenation” in this practive.
The word Ashwagandha actually means “smell of horse”. This is because it was traditionally believed that the person who consumed it would gain the power and strength of a horse.
Ashwagandha grows as small shrub, and starts by growing yellow flowers. The flowers turn into little orange lanterns. Inside these are the berries. Many people clip the stalks of lanterns and dry them to preserve them. They make the perfect ornamental arrangement in your home.
Ashwagandha can be mistaken for the Physalis Alkekengi plant, which also produces lanterns and berries. If you’re growing plants in your garden, be aware of what it is before you consume it.
The extract that is taken from the Ashwagandha plant to make the Ashwagandha powder is actually extracted from either the berries of the plant, or taken from the roots of the plant. The plant’s Latin name is “Withania Somnifera”. It’s also called Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, and is native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East, though it can grow well in North America too.
Since Ashwagandha has an unpleasant flavour, It’s best to take Ashwagandha in the form of a powder or tablet. If you choose to take it as a powder, there are ways to make it easier to consume.
Here are 7 health benefits to taking Ashwagandha powder :
1. To minimize the effects of stress on the body.
The natural compounds in this herbal supplement can aid people who are battling stress. When people are fighting off stress in their lives, it can trigger higher levels of cortisol in the brain. While this can be helpful in fight or flight situations, the human body simply isn’t designed to cope with office stress or conflict on a continuous basis. This leaves your brain continually pumping out cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Over time, cortisol can affect every system and organ in your body, leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other major diseases. Ashwagandha can help to relieve mental stress, and decrease the levels of cortisol in your brain. Ashwagandha is a component of tranquilizers and anti-depressant drugs. Not only does it help to decrease cortisol but it can also help you to overcome depression too.
2. Essential component of your first aid kit.
In traditional medicine people used the leaves of the Ashwagandha plant to help heal small cuts, wounds, and scrapes. It was also used to heal joint pain, any type of skin sores, and reduce swelling.
Since powdered Ashwagandha is the easiest form to use, you can mix a bit of the powder with water and directly apply it to your skin. This works to heal up cuts and wounds faster than if you simply left them alone.
3. Provides energy for tired people.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is called “balya”, which means “giving strength”.
If you find you run out of energy before you run out of working hours in the day, taking Ashwagandha powder can help get you through the day. Since one of the compounds it contains is iron, it will help to improve your energy, and increase your stamina and endurance, all without resorting to drinking more cups of coffee which aren’t good for your circulatory system over time, and can also affect your sleep.
4. Prevents degenerative mental conditions such as dementia and Alzheimers.
Little is unknown why some people get degenerative mental conditions while most don’t, but what we do know is that there are ways to prevent it. From ensuring we lead active lives into our twilight years, and ensuring we have a healthy diet, Ashwagandha is an exotic herb that also promises an effective treatment for preventing these conditions.
Ashwagandha has been proven to have an ability to promote the growth of new nerve cells. It can also protect the brain’s cells from the harmful effects of the environment, such as pollution, or when people have worked in bad conditions with asbestos, or toxic chemicals.
5. Assists women by balancing hormones.
Women can suffer hormonal imbalances at any time in life. Besides suffering from bad cramps, bloating, headaches, and nausea once a month, many women also suffer from PCOS—Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome that leads to benign cysts growing on the ovaries. This condition occurs when estrogen and progesterone levels fall out of balance.
Ashwagandha works on the endocrine system by encouraging a natural hormonal balance. It will help to reduce the symptoms of cramps and excessive bleeding in women, and hot flashes and mood swings in women who are going through menopause.
6. Effective insomnia treatment.
People who suffer with insomnia often try dozens of remedies, only to find they don’t work too well, or they’re temporary. But often many suffer from a lack of sleep and they don’t won’t want to resort to harmful sleeping pills. There is the additional concern that many clinics simply won’t prescribe harmful sleeping pills to their patients either.
Ashwagandha has rejuvenating properties that make it a safe and effective treatment for insomnia. Ashwagandha powder can help calm the nervous system, and since it naturally eases stress, this will assist in helping you to calm your mind at bedtime and get to sleep. You can even mix it with warm milk and honey, which are two other ingredients known to help make people sleepy.
7. Use it for topical skincare treatments.
While orally consuming Ashwagandha powder will help stimulate the production of natural skin oils to aid in healthy skin, you can also use it topically on the skin. Ashwagandha contains many vital compounds, proteins, and amino acids for healthy skin.
To use it for healthy glowing skin, mix a bit of the powder with powdered ginger and lemon juice. Use a cotton swab to clean and apply it to your minor skin injuries.
Ashwagandha and Men’s Health
As everyone ages, they can suffer decreased libido. This can be a particular concern in men who wish to make their partners happy. Ashwagandha has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac, as it works to support sexual health. As men age, they’ll experience a decrease in testosterone production. This condition is called andropause, or informally, male menopause.
Ashwagandha has been used for men’s health for thousands of years. Ashwagandha also works on men’s endocrine systems and can encourage a good hormonal balance. It also provides benefits to the mind and gives strength, all concerns for when a man ages but wants to continue feeling young.
For younger men with fertility issues, Ashwagandha has been tested and found to increase levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone that stimulates the production of this testosterone.
Ashwagandha is also good to help stabilize hormones for men who may be working out or bodybuilding too hard. It can also help to prevent fatigue and stress in men which can cause other health conditions.
Easiest Way to Consume Ashwagandha Without Bad Taste
Ashwagandha isn’t pleasant to take, but some men may find it has a more horrible taste than others experience. The best way to take it is either as a tablet or in a capsule, but if you do buy the powder, it can be combined with other ingredients to make the process simpler.
This method is not only good for men and women who seek its benefits, but also perfect for insomniacs who want to have a better night’s sleep.
- 1/2 cup/100 ml milk
- 1 tsp/5 ml Ashwagandha powder
- 1/2 cup/100 ml water
- 1 tsp/5 ml honey
- Heat the milk and water in a small saucepan on top of your stove. Turn it off right before boiling.
- Mix in the honey until it’s dissolved.
- Let the milk cool until a drop placed on your inner wrist is warm but not burning.
- Mix in the Ashwagandha powder.
- Now it’s ready to drink.
Ashwagandha Recipe When You’re in a Hurry
- You can simply mix a 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters of the powder into a bit of honey and store it in a small container until you’re ready to consume it at work.
- Either consume it right off the spoon, or stir it into your coffee or tea.
Chai Tea Recipe
This recipe is good for when you suffer inflammatory conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or arthritis.
- Make your tea with the usual method.
- Combine 1 tsp/5 ml Ashwagandha powder with a pinch of ginger and pinch of turmeric and mix it into your tea.
What is the Recommended Ashwagandha Dosage?
Even though you’re taking Ashwagandha powder, sourced from the herb, you can’t take it just anytime like you would eat an apple. The best recommended daily dosage is to take one to two teaspoons/10 ml of the powder twice daily with meals.
This is the best method whether you’re taking the Ashwagandha powder for short term or long term usage.
The traditional method is to mix the powder with milk or buttermilk, and add ghee or honey. The modern method is to take one to two capsules or tablets per day. Follow the instructions on the bottle for the recommended daily amount.
No matter which format you’re taking your Ashwagandha in, take it with meals. This will reduce any potential side effects, most of which involve your digestive system.
Are There Any Side Effects to Taking Ashwagandha?
Even though Ashwagandha is naturally sourced, you should still be cautious when taking it. Usually it’s safe to take in the required quantities, so where you may run into issues is if you consume more than the recommended amount.
If you have any concerns, check with an Ayurvedic practitioner, or a naturopathic doctor first. And if you have any serious health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, be sure to consult with your physician first to avoid drug interactions.
Some people report experiencing diarrhea after taking Ashwagandha powder. Other side effects may be nausea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, and slowed pulse. If you experience any of these side effects, try decreasing your dosage. If that doesn’t work, stop taking it.
If you experience any allergic reactions, or any other type of health issues that didn’t occur before, stop taking the Ashwagandha powder and consult a physician.
If you are taking any prescription medications, you may wish to consult your physician first, to ensure that Ashwagandha does not interact with any of your traditional medicines.
You should also avoid mixing the powder with other herbal supplements. If you really want to try other herbal supplements, take your Ashwagandha powder for one month, and try your other supplement the following month. There should be no side effects for stopping your Ashwagandha treatment.
If you’ve tried other supplements and haven’t found anything that works to balance your hormones, relieve your stress, help you sleep at night, or give you energy, try Ashwagandha powder. Some people don’t mind the taste, but if you don’t, you can either take it in pill or tablet form, or mix the powder with a bit of honey and warm milk, or put it into your tea.
Even though Ashwagandha powder has been used for centuries, many people may not be aware of its existence. It’s certainly worth giving a natural herb a try, rather than trying to obtain a prescription medication from your doctor that can be both expensive, and only work for the short term. Soon you’ll have more energy and look healthy, and have your friends and coworkers wondering what your secret is!