Experts are in the process of discovering the efficacy of ashwagandha against COVID-19 because of its capacity to boost the human immune system. Here is all you need to know about the herb.
Four AYUSH formulations have been chosen for COVID-19 clinical trials and Ashwagandha is one of them. This herb has been used for years to manage stress and anxiety, besides being a great immune booster and being an adaptogen, it can make you resilient towards stress and greatly increase your overall energy levels.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Botanically, the herb is a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, known as Withania somnifera root, it is also called the Indian ginseng. The leaves and roots of this herb have been used because of their therapeutic properties; it also has what are known as anolides (a group of natural steroids) which can be used for health purposes in general.
The name “Ashwagandha” means the ‘smell of horse’, and this comes from the smell of their roots, that apparently smells like a horse which is why popular belief is that you will gain the strength of a horse if you use it.
7 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is so popular because it has the ability to maintain your body in equilibrium during physical or mental stress. On the other hand, the herb’s benefits go way beyond regulating your stress levels, it also has many positive impacts on your health in general, such as balancing hormones, controlling blood sugar (making you feel full, helping you on your weight loss journey), and so much more. Checkout some of its other benefits below:
1 – Boosts Brainpower
This special herb has been found to protect your brain from cellular degeneration, a condition that may lead to disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This happens because of the high amounts of antioxidant compounds found in the herb.
Also, the natural steroids found within this herb can improve your cognitive function and, as shown in animal model studies, reverse behavioral deficits and plaque build-up.
Moreover, a pilot study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements showed the herb can help your memory, increase attention span, and seep up the brain’s data processing ability.
2 – Beats stress and anxiety
This herb can be used as a non-drug solution to some mental health conditions.
A study published at PLOS One Journal showed that it is as good as synthetic medication used to treat stress and anxiety and doesn’t have any side effects. It was a 12-week study and during this time participants experienced a 55% decrease in anxiety while using Ashwagandha.
Besides, it increased their vitality, fatigue, concentration and so much more. Usually, drugs used to treat these disorders have lots of side effects such as loss of sexual desire, insomnia, drowsiness, increased appetite, among others. Ashwagandha apparently has none of the side-effects and all of the benefits.
3 – Blood sugar levels
Flavonoids found in the herb are good at helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Studies have also suggested that this herb can be used to prevent a glucose spike in your blood and insulin resistance which will lower the risk of diabetes.
4 – Boots immune function
Ashwagandha can produce antibodies and improve the organism’s ability to immune response. By suppressing pro-inflammatory elements such as cytokines it can boost your defense mechanism, properties that can be used to treat several inflammatory diseases, making Ashwagandha a potential treatment for COVID-19 yet to be tested and formally approved in clinical trials by the Ministry of AYUSH, but promising nonetheless.
5 – Naturally Accelerates Your Weight Loss Goals
If you have chronic stress and are overweight, Ashwagandha brings the benefit of weight loss, shedding those extra kilos and improving your body mass index (BMI), as shown in research published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
6 – Improves the function of your thyroid gland
As it is an adaptogen plant, it can be used to treat people with an underactive thyroid gland. An 8-week study suggested it could help people with subclinical hypothyroidism, because the patients who received 600mg of herb root extract every day, experienced an increase of their TSH and T4 hormones levels.
7 – Revs up your sex life
As Ashwagandha is a natural aphrodisiac herb, a study published in BioMed Research International suggests that it could improve the sexual performance of women in three parameters: arousal, orgasm, and lubrification. It is also helpful in increasing sperm count and testosterone levels of men.
In this herb, you will find a lot of healthy friendly compounds, such as antioxidants and flavonoids. Besides, it also has amino acids (such as tryptophan), alkaloids, neurotransmitters, and it goes on.
Once, there was a study published in the International Journal of Home Science that shown that 1 kilogram of dehydrated herb root powder has: 2.5 calories; 0.032-gram fiber; 0.04-gram protein; 0.06-milligram vitamin C; 0.05-gram carbs; 0.02-milligram calcium; 0.03-milligram iron, and 0.08 microgram carotene.
The Right Dosage
There is no recommended dosage for Ashwagandha, but keep in mind that nothing in excess can be good for your health.
A study found that it’s safe taking capsules in gradually escalating doses from 750 milligrams per day to 1,250 milligrams per day but always consult an Ayurveda professional. You can find the herb in the forms of powders, capsules, and tinctures.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha
Only the consumption of a high dosage has been found to have significant side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. If you ever feel this while taking it, stop immediately. It is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, because some evidence suggests that it may lead to miscarriage.
Also, if you are on medication for issues such as thyroid, diabetes, and blood pressure, consult your doctor before taking the herb.
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