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July 13, 2023
The preeminent Superhero of natural remedies, Ashwagandha is packing a serious punch!
There’s a reason why this medicinal herb has been used for millennia. Modern day science is now exploring all the purported health benefits of Ashwagandha.
Similar to many supplements there is the right time and dosage needed to reap all the benefits.
This article will first cover when is the best time to take Ashwagandha, then I will go over the benefits of Ashwagandha, uses and types of Ashwagandha, and what to look for when shopping.
Many people ask when they should take Ashwagandha but the answer to this question is highly dependent on why you are taking Ashwagandha to begin with. You can use Ashwagandha during the day, night or both. Recent studies have shown that taking Ashwagandha twice a day may help to promote equilibrium in the adrenal system.
Ashwagandha can be taken before or after meals. Some people take Ashwagandha on an empty stomach however some might experience stomach discomfort. Therefore, you can take Ashwagandha after eating a breakfast, lunch, dinner or a small snack. Overall, you should be consistent in when you are taking Ashwagandha to reap the most benefits.
And, as always consult your doctor before starting any new supplementation.
Yes, you can take Ashwagandha in the morning along with your normal vitamins to incorporate it into your daily supplement routine. Ashwagandha doesn’t immediately work as it can take a weeks before you actually start to feel the positive effects. We recommend taking Ashwagandha extract, tablets or capsules in the morning for the convenience factor. Remember, some people experience stomach discomfort when consuming Ashwagandha on an empty stomach. In this case, you can add Ashwagandha powder to a morning smoothie or other breakfast foods.
Yes, many people take Ashwagandha at night to relax, help promote better sleep and reduce stress. Taking Ashwagandha at night might be preferable for people who experience stomach discomfort.
You also might want to try taking Ashwagandha at night with a delicious beverage called Moon Milk. I will provide you with a simple recipe later in this article, so make sure you read to the end. Simply put, you should take Ashwagandha at night especially if you are using the herb to help improve your sleep.
A perennial shrub in the nightshade family, Withania somnifera better known as Ashwagandha has multiple monikers including poison gooseberry, winter cherry and Indian ginseng. The species name “somnifera” means “sleep inducing” in Latin. The name “Ashwagandha” is a combination of Sanskrit words “ashva” meaning horse and “gandha” meaning smell. Some attribute this to the horse-like smell of the roots while other say it is because of the medicinal qualities that produce horse-like strength and stamina. This medicinal herb is classified as an adaptogen and has been used in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine as Rasayana (tonic) for over 3000 years.
Ashwagandha is native to India, north Africa and the Middle East however people are now cultivating it in temperate climates around the world. Ironically, the plant that helps to reduce stress also flourishes in normally stressful arid conditions with low quality alkaline rich soils. This perennial shrub can grow up to 3 feet and is covered by silverish gray hairs with small half inch, star shaped flowers. The red berry of the Ashwagandha plant is protected by a papery calyx. The berries have some therapeutic benefit but the majority of the medicinal benefits come from the roots of the plant.
Ashwagandha has many proclaimed benefits dating back thousands of years in Ayurveda medicine system from India. Just a few of the benefits that this herbal supplement offer are reducing stress and anxiety, increasing muscle size, improving brain function. There has to be much more scientific study to definitively say all the exact benefits of taking Ashwagandha but so far so good!
Classified as an adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps the body adapt to stress by reducing cortisol levels. Adrenal hormones of cortisol and adrenaline dramatically rise when you experience stress. Ashwagandha helps to regulate imbalanced cortisol levels by nourishing the adrenal glands. The secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) increases cortisol levels in the body, Ashwagandha aids in lowering these stress hormones. Lowering stress hormones is also good for reducing high blood pressure. Ashwagandha has gone through numerous clinical studies verifying the effectiveness in reducing the negative effects of stress.
There have been several studies showing that Ashwagandha might help in controlling blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes type 1 & 2. Ashwagandha helps to make cells less resistant to insulin. This results in improved insulin sensitivity while also increasing glucose utilization by cells. Surprisingly, Ashwagandha has shown promising results in reducing blood sugar levels in both healthy people and people with diabetes. By increasing and protecting insulin producing cells the secretion of insulin increases which can help to manage the potential risk of diabetes.
Stress and anxiety are intertwined therefore Ashwagandha is an awesome solution for treating anxiety. The best time to take Ashwagandha for anxiety is in the morning to help you deal with stress throughout the day. Be advised that it can take weeks before your body starts to feel the positive effects of Ashwagandha for dealing with anxiety. Multiple studies have shown substantive results, some participants reported up to an 88% reduction in their anxiety after taking Ashwagandha for 60 days.
Ashwagandha may be good for your heart by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing cholesterol. In both animal and human studies, the results have confirmed this however the positive results were much more dramatic in animals.
In a 60-day study of chronically stressed adults consumed at least 250 mg of Ashwagandha daily. The results were impressive, reduced cholesterol levels by an average of 17% and triglycerides by and average of 11%. Move over tomatoes (Lycopene) here is new heart healthy supplement to take.
Ashwagandha might help with managing pain from different forms of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis. Ashwagandha roots and leaves have analgesic properties as they contain withaferin A (steroidal lactone) which helps to inhibit production of pain mediators thus reducing pain and inflammation.
Ashwagandha does affect thyroid hormone levels by lowering cortisol as covered above. It stimulates the endocrine system to fight off stress which can help stimulate thyroid hormone production. Make sure you consult your doctor before taking Ashwagandha to treat any thyroid problems. While it might be good to help treat hyperthyroidism it might also negatively effect people who suffer from Hashimoto’s (an auto-immune disease).
Used for hundreds of years as an aphrodisiac, recent studies are showing Ashwagandha to improve testosterone levels and male reproductive health. Antioxidant properties of Ashwagandha are thought to aid in preventing damage and death of sperm cells resulting in better sperm quality and count. Because of the testosterone boosting benefits of taking Ashwagandha we’re now seeing many natural bodybuilding supplements with this listed as an ingredient. Finally, a natural supplement that can help you pack on some muscle and reduce body fat simultaneously.
Yes, Ashwagandha benefits both men and women. A few differences to note are that Ashwagandha has been shown to improve libido and sexual arousal in women while also improving the chances of achieving orgasm. There are also some menopause related benefits to taking Ashwagandha as it helps to regulate hormone secretions. So, if you’re going through menopause and are experiencing hot flashes, depression, anxiety or sleep problems you might want to give this a try.
Note: Women are advised to avoid taking Ashwagandha if breastfeeding as the effects haven’t been studied in-depth. Avoid taking Ashwagandha during pregnancy as it might increase uterine contractions.
Yes, Ashwagandha is good for weight loss as it counteracts high stress levels. When your body is stressed, it is easier to put on extra weight. Sleeping less plus stress eating usually equates to craving unhealthy foods and bigger waistlines. Being more relaxed and sleeping better will promote better decision making when it comes to eating.
Although Ayurveda has been using Ashwagandha to boost memory for hundreds of years, we are now just getting to science backed results that demonstrate the effectiveness of improving brain function.
Some memory and brain function problems like Parkinson’s are the result of damaged nerve cells leaving people with diminished muscle control, memory and balance of the body. Ashwagandha promotes antioxidant activity, reducing the disastrous effects of free radicals on nerve cells. This study of 20 healthy men who consumed 500mg of Ashwagandha daily, showed significant improvements in reaction time and task performance.
Ashwagandha like other adaptogenic herbs boost the immune system. In traditional Ayurveda this herb was often given to help bolster a weakened immune system. This potent supplement boosts the immune system through all the antioxidant benefits and might increase the white blood cell production and macrophages in the body. Combine this with better sleep and reduced stress, you should feel more energized plus you'll be protected from chronic colds and sicknesses.
Briefly touched on above, Ashwagandha is increasingly present in bodybuilding supplements because of testosterone boosting benefits. One study had 57 young males aged 18-50 supplemented with ashwagandha and perform consistent resistance training for 8 weeks. The results showed significant increases in muscle mass and strength with reduced muscle damage.
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People often lose hair because they are over stressed, ashwagandha can help to reduce this stress and preserve your hair. Ashwagandha has also been used to improve digestion which helps get your body all the nutrients from the food you eat to keep you and your hair healthy. You might see Ashwagandha on the ingredient list of your shampoo or conditioner because it might improve scalp circulation and strengthen your hair.
The compound withaferin found in Ashwagandha helps to hinder growth of new cancer cells while it also aids in encouraging apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancerous cells. Current research is being conducted to determine how potent withaferin is regarding cancer. It’s also believed that withaferin encourages the creation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells causing them to malfunction. More studies must be completed however this wonder herb might help us to treat various cancers.
Always look at the percentages of Withanolides in each serving. Withanolides are steroidal lactones, the biologically active chemical elements of Ashwagandha. The higher the concentration of withanolides in the Ashwagandha supplement the more potent it will be.
Check out our top 7 ashwaganda supplements (hint: our top pick is Ashwa-70)
The dosage of ashwagandha is dependent on the ailment you are attempting to fix or improve. It is already important to do your research and only consume the highest quality supplements available. The most potent ashwagandha to take is a full spectrum extract.
Daily dosage for ashwagandha root powder usually ranges from 1000mg to 6000mg. For ashwagandha extract daily dosage ranges from 500 to 1500mg. Make sure to check the percentages of withanolides to determine the quality. You should aim for a minimum of 6mg of withanolides but most studies will use between 10mg to 30mg withanolides. As always, follow the directions on the labels or listen to your doctor.
It largely depends on your lifestyle and starting health condition as well as the quality of the Ashwagandha you are taking. Highly concentrated full spectrum Ashwagandha extract will have the best results in the shortest amount of time. Typically, you might be able to start seeing benefits from ashwagandha after 2 weeks of regular use. However, the most noticeable results are seen after 4 weeks of daily intake.
You can get more information on this by heading to our article: How Long Does Ashwagandha Take To Work?
Ashwagandha comes in many forms such as extracts, tablets, capsules, oils teas and more. Although prices vary depending on quality, dosage and form you're looking at spending between $15 to $40.
Ashwagandha can be taken in multiple forms such as Ashwagandha powder (Churna) tablet or capsule. You can can also get creative with mixing Ashwagandha powder into your food such as smoothies.
Below are the forms of ashwagandha and how they are typically consumed...
Moon milk is born of Ayuverdic tradition, it is a warm drink comprised of a mixture of milk, spices, Ashwagandha and a sweetener. This concoction is intended to be consumed at night to help you get a good night sleep.
Bring milk to simmer on medium to low heat. Whisk in dry ingredients. Add coconut oil/butter (ghee). Reduce heat let cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat add sweetener. Drink. Sleep
Ashwagandha is a natural herb that is safe for most people to take. Some side effects of taking ashwagandha for some people include nausea, low blood pressure, diarrhea, stomach discomfort and sedation. Always consult your doctor before beginning any new supplementation regimen.
Some precautions when considering taking ashwagandha are as follows:
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