Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae family, and refers to a plant that grows wild in India and North Africa. Ashwagandha, which usually grows to a height of 60 to 70 cm and features pale yellow or green flowers, is said to mean the smell of horses in ancient Sanskrit. It is named because of its unique odor from the root, and is also called Indian winter cherry in English. In addition, it strengthens the ability to adapt to changes in the external environment, and it can be said that it has outstanding advantages as an adaptogen plant that resists diseases.
Because of these excellent health benefits, ashwagandha has been used as a tonic since ancient times, and it has been widely used as a medicine to help recovery after suffering a disease, and as a medicine to treat various infectious diseases. It has been recognized for its excellent value as it has been recorded as a tonic to promote longevity and vitality in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian traditional medicine, along with the nickname of Indian ginseng. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main effects of ashwagandha and the side effects to be aware of when ingesting it.
Ashwagandha Key Benefits
1. Stress Relief
The first effect of ashwagandha is that it helps to improve and relieve stress. Under the influence of certain compounds such as alkaloids, saponins, and choline contained in ashwagandha, it causes anxiety, depression, and chronic stress, which has a beneficial effect on reducing the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.
In a study using ashwagandha extract, results of improving stress through reduction of cortisol have been published. Ashwagandha’s anti-anxiety and depression-reducing effects are said to help prevent and improve depression, insomnia, and anxiety disorders.
2. Improving immunity
Excessive mental stress affects the body’s immune system by causing damage to the body’s tissues and increased free radicals, and increases the possibility of various diseases. It is said that physiologically active substances such as glycowitanolide contained in ashwagandha help to regulate immunity and help increase the production of white blood cells, cells of the immune system that protect the body from foreign substances. In addition, ashwagandha has a strong advantage as an adaptogen plant that strengthens the overall resistance from risk factors that induce stress, so it can be said to help improve immunity. In addition, since ashwagandha has been shown to have significant results in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells through several animal experiments, it is receiving a lot of attention for its potential to prevent cancer, and it is known that related research is being actively conducted.
3. Inhibits inflammation
It is said that it can help control and suppress the level of inflammation, which is produced in excess under the influence of the physiologically active substances contained in ashwagandha and acts as a cause of various diseases. In particular, it is said to be involved in reducing C-reactive protein, helping to minimize inflammatory changes occurring in the body. Based on this anti-inflammatory action, it is known that it can help improve the symptoms of arthritis, which is caused by inflammation caused by various factors in the joint.
4. Vascular health
Ashwagandha is said to help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, bad cholesterol that penetrates into the walls of blood vessels and causes an inflammatory reaction. In addition, oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals not only disrupts the balance of oxidation in the body, but also acts as a risk factor for various cardiovascular diseases. there is said to be. In addition, it is known that the risk of heart disease increases when the aforementioned C-reactive protein is increased.
5. Improve your strength
Ashwagandha can help increase body composition and stamina, so if you consume it regularly, you can see the effect of improving muscle mass. It is reported to have a good effect in recovering from chronic fatigue as it not only improves muscle mass, but also helps improve endurance. Ashwagandha is also known to improve male fertility and sperm quality by improving testosterone levels and reproductive health. It can be said that ashwagandha has been widely used as a tonic since ancient times due to this effect.
Other effects and side effects to be aware of when ingesting
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, it is known to have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity enhancement and blood sugar control. In addition, it is known that ashwagandha improves memory and concentration as well as chronic liver disease.
Although ashwagandha has many outstanding benefits, there are also side effects to be aware of. Because it is known to contract the uterus, it should be avoided during pregnancy. In addition, depending on the constitution, problems such as diarrhea and abdominal pain may occur, and since it can irritate the stomach, it is recommended not to take it if you have a chronic disease such as a stomach ulcer. In addition, taking medications such as high blood pressure medications, immunosuppressants, thyroid medications, and diabetes-related medications can cause problems, so it is recommended to consult with your doctor before taking it.