I. What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine, has recently become a well-known and widely used natural remedy. In this article we give an overview of the effects, areas of application and side effects of Ashwagandha. We highlight the potential of this powerful herb when used properly. We look at the key ingredients and how they affect the body's immune system , brain and stress levels. In addition, we will deal with the optimal dosage, the type of intake and possible interactions with medication.
a. Botanical Features
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also called winter cherry, is a traditional plant used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is native to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh but is now also grown in other parts of the world. It is used as a medicinal plant and is also available as a dietary supplement.
Ashwagandha has herbaceous, woody stems and roots that taste bitter. The leaves are dark green, stalked and ovate. The flowers are pale yellow and arranged in an umbrella shape. The fruit is a single cluster that is ripe when it turns black.
The name Ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit and means "horse smell" because the dried roots give off a slight horse smell.
There are many different types of Ashwagandha, varying in color, shape, and size. Some of the most well-known types are Ashwagandha White, Ashwagandha Red, Ashwagandha Green, and Ashwagandha Poison.
It is important to note that the effects and side effects of ashwagandha can vary from person to person. Therefore, it is important to consult a competent doctor before taking it.
b. History and Traditional Use
Ashwagandha is a medicinal plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The name ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit and means 'horse smell', referring to the plant's strong-smelling root. In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is used as an adaptogenic agent to combat stress, fatigue and to strengthen the immune system.
Ashwagandha has been used both medicinally and as a food for centuries. In many countries where Ashwagandha is grown, people use the root to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, gas, and more. It is also used as a tonic to increase performance at work and during sports.
Ashwagandha has many uses in Ayurvedic medicine. It can be used as a tonic to increase performance, boost the immune system and reduce stress and fatigue. It can also be used to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and support sexual function.
It is also used as a psychological agent as it is said to help with anxiety, depression, memory problems and stress.
Ashwagandha is a small herb native to the arid plains of India. It has been used for its healing properties for centuries. Ashwagandha contains many beneficial substances that have healing effects on the body. Here are some of the key ingredients in Ashwagandha:
- Alkaloids: Alkaloids are chemical compounds commonly found in plant products. They are considered natural stimulants and may help lower blood pressure or reduce inflammation.
- Active ingredients from the steroid group: These include di- and trihydroxysteroids, which are responsible for controlling growth and aging hormones in the body.
- Flavonoids: Flavonoids are a group of compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Phenols: Phenols are a group of organic compounds that are widely distributed in plants. They are rich in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation.
- Saponins: Saponins are a group of compounds found in many plants. They possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Terpenoids: Terpenoids are a group of phytochemicals found in plants. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
II. Effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years as a tonic and to treat various health conditions. In recent years, research has examined the effects of ashwagandha in numerous clinical studies.
The research results indicate that ashwagandha has the following effects:
- Improving Mental and Cognitive Functions: Ashwagandha can improve cognitive abilities and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Enhanced Immune Function: Ashwagandha may boost immune function and reduce susceptibility to infections, colds, and other illnesses.
- Antioxidant Effects: Ashwagandha contains a number of antioxidants that can reduce oxidation and protect cells from free radicals.
- Improved Condition and Stamina: Ashwagandha can improve physical condition and stamina.
- Lowering Blood Pressure: Ashwagandha can lower blood pressure.
a. Stress Relief and Anxiety Relief
Ashwagandha, also known as Mitawandha or Indian winter cherry, is one of the oldest medicinal plants in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for thousands of years, especially in India and neighboring areas. The roots are used for therapeutic purposes in the form of powder, tablets, capsules and tea. Ashwagandha is commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety and to promote physical and mental health.
Many studies have examined the effects of ashwagandha on stress and anxiety. Some studies have shown that ashwagandha has a stress-reducing effect by reducing stress hormones in the body like cortisol and adrenaline. Ashwagandha has also been shown to reduce stress symptoms such as fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety.
Several studies have shown that taking ashwagandha has an immediate effect on anxiety and stress symptoms. One study showed that a month's treatment with ashwagandha resulted in a significant improvement in stress symptoms in people suffering from stress. Another study showed that taking ashwagandha reduced anxiety responses.
Additionally, several studies have shown that ashwagandha can help improve overall well-being by increasing physical and mental performance. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve focus, attention, and memory, and increase sleep quality.
b. improvement in brain function
Ashwagandha, also known as winter cherry or Withania somnifera, is a plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and offers a range of health benefits. Commonly used as a tonic to increase strength, endurance, and energy , ashwagandha also possesses amazing neurogenic properties that may help improve brain function.
A number of different studies show that ashwagandha has powerful effects on the brain. One study suggests that ashwagandha reduces anxiety and improves memory through a unique connection between neural activity and stress hormones. Another study found that ashwagandha intake resulted in increased activity in the hippocampal region of the brain, leading to improvements in memory and emotional understanding.
In addition, it has been shown that taking ashwagandha can help improve mental flexibility and alertness. One study showed that it significantly improved subjects' reaction time and alertness. Another study found that people who took ashwagandha performed significantly better on tests of mental flexibility and memory than people who didn't take ashwagandha.
c. Support of the immune system
Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic herb used to support the immune system. Ashwagandha roots and leaves are mainly used to make powder, capsules, tablets , and tinctures. Scientific studies have shown that ashwagandha can improve various immune functions, including antibody response, macrophage activity, and natural killer cell activity.
Some of the known immune modulators in Ashwagandha are withanolides, triterpenes, polysaccharides and alkaloids. These substances stimulate immune production and can improve immune system function.
It has been shown that using ashwagandha in combination with other nutrients and medicinal plants can further improve immune function.
A clinical study showed that the use of ashwagandha extract resulted in increased numbers of T-cells, T-helper cells and natural killer cells in the blood. Another study showed that using ashwagandha extract in combination with vitamin D resulted in an improvement in the humoral immune system and an increase in macrophage activity.
Another study showed that ashwagandha extract use resulted in increased production of interleukin-2, an important cytokine that regulates immune functions. In addition, it has been shown that the application of Ashwagandha extract can increase the production of antibodies against various pathogens.
i.e. Blood sugar lowering effect
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, is a popular remedy for supporting the immune system and relieving stress and anxiety. Another application of Ashwagandha is its blood sugar lowering effect. Some studies indicate that ashwagandha lowers blood sugar levels and protects against type 2 diabetes.
A study of overweight people between the ages of 25 and 50 showed that those taking a supplement containing ashwagandha extract had significant changes in blood sugar and insulin levels. After four weeks of taking the drug, the participants had 17.5 percent less blood sugar and 16 percent less insulin than before the start of the study.
When examining the effect of ashwagandha on blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, it was found that those who took an extract experienced significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels and HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) levels. Another study involving people suffering from prediabetes showed that those taking ashwagandha extract had a significant reduction in fasting blood sugar and a reduction in body mass index.
III. Application areas of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a plant that can be used in different forms to provide different health benefits. Various studies have examined performance-enhancing, anti-inflammatory, calming and antioxidant effects. Additionally, Ashwagandha can be used to treat certain medical conditions such as: e.g.:
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Increase in mental and physical performance
- reducing stress levels
- Stabilization of blood sugar levels
- regulation of blood pressure
- improvement of sleep
- Weight loss support
- Assisting in the treatment of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
a. Stress-Related Illnesses
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for thousands of years and is widely touted as a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. It has been studied in several studies in people with stress-related illnesses, and the results suggest that it may have a beneficial effect.
The effects of ashwagandha in people with clinically diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) were examined in a randomized, double-blind study. Participants received either a daily dose of 300 mg ashwagandha or a placebo. After six weeks, there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Another study examined the effects of ashwagandha in people with stress hormone disorders. Participants received either a daily dose of 300 mg ashwagandha or a placebo. After two months, it was found that the ashwagandha-treated group showed a significant reduction in cortisol levels, while the placebo group showed no significant change.
Another study looked at the effects of ashwagandha in people with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants received either a daily dose of 300 mg ashwagandha or a placebo. After two months, it was found that the ashwagandha-treated group showed a significant reduction in PTSD symptoms, while the placebo group showed no significant change.
b. sleep disorders
Ashwagandha can be used to treat insomnia. According to one study, it is a safe and effective treatment for sleep disorders and improves sleep quality.
Researchers have found that ashwagandha regulates both the spontaneous and onset of sleep phases and reduces the number of nocturnal awakenings. The researchers also found that the plant improves sleep quality by reducing the number of late-night sleep disorders.
In addition, Ashwagandha has been shown in a clinical study to improve sleep duration and sleep quality. In the study, 78 people with insomnia took either an ashwagandha capsule or a placebo. Those who took ashwagandha experienced a significant reduction in sleep disturbances, such as the time it took to fall asleep and wake up, and improved sleep quality.
Ashwagandha is also known to lower cortisol levels, potentially improving sleep quality. It has been shown that elevated cortisol levels can lead to trouble sleeping. Therefore, lowering cortisol levels by taking ashwagandha could lead to better sleep.
Overall, the results of the studies suggest that ashwagandha is a safe and effective treatment for sleep disorders and improves sleep quality.
c. burnout syndrome
Burnout is a particularly debilitating mental illness characterized by exhaustion, feelings of being burned out, emotional emptiness and severe depressive symptoms. It is associated with negative effects on mental and physical health and can affect all areas of life.
Some studies have shown that using ashwagandha can help against burnout syndrome. One study found that using ashwagandha extract significantly reduced "burnout symptoms." In addition, preventive effects were observed in another study, indicating that ashwagandha can prevent burnout syndrome.
However, it is important to note that the use of ashwagandha to treat burnout is only effective when combined with other therapeutic interventions. The use of ashwagandha as the sole treatment for burnout syndrome is not recommended.
General dosage recommendations
The following dosages are general guidelines for using Ashwagandha for burnout syndrome:
For adult patients:
Standard extract: 300-500 mg/day
High extract: 600-1000 mg/day
Standard extract: 200-400 mg/day
High extract: 400-600 mg/day
It's important to discuss any dosage with your doctor to ensure it meets your individual needs.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. About a quarter of Germans will suffer from depression in their lifetime. Studies show that ashwagandha can help with depression.
Effects of Ashwagandha on Depression
Research shows that medicating ashwagandha extract shows promise for depression. A placebo-controlled clinical study of 60 people with mild to moderate depression showed that taking ashwagandha produced a significant improvement in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo group.
Additional studies show that regular intake of ashwagandha root extract can improve anxiety and depression symptoms. In an Athenian study of 64 participants who took 600 mg of ashwagandha root extract daily for at least 6 months, significant improvements were seen in both depression and anxiety.
There are some benefits associated with taking ashwagandha. An advantage is that it is completely natural and side effects are very rare. Another benefit is the body's ability to heal itself. It can help restore the body's emotional balance, which is beneficial in the case of depression.
e. sexual disorders
Ashwagandha has been considered a potential sexual function enhancer in Ayurvedic tradition for centuries. Animal studies have shown that ashwagandha can increase libido and sexual activity. It has also been found to improve sperm quality and increase sperm concentration and lifespan.
In a clinical study of people suffering from sexual dysfunction, ashwagandha was shown to improve sexual activity. In another study, ashwagandha was found to improve libido in men with erectile dysfunction.
It is important to note that these are empirical studies only and further research is needed to assess the possible effects of ashwagandha on sexual disorders.
Possible effects of Ashwagandha on sexual disorders:
- increase in libido
- increase in sexual activity
- Improving sperm quality and concentration
- improvement of erection
IV. Taking Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha can be taken in capsule , tablet or powder form. Usually 1-2 capsules or tablets one to three times a day are recommended. Since Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement, the manufacturer's dosage recommendations should be followed. It is recommended that you consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before beginning any dietary supplement such as ashwagandha.
a. Dosage Recommendations
Ashwagandha dosage recommendations depend on many factors, including age, health status, and intended use. Therefore, it is important to always seek the advice of a doctor or other healthcare professional before taking ashwagandha.
Different dosages may be recommended for different applications. In general, dosage recommendations range from 500 to 750 mg per day. In some cases, however, higher dosages are also recommended.
Dosage recommendations for children
Ashwagandha is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
Dosage recommendation for adults
The following dosage recommendations may apply to adults:
- 500-750 mg daily as an extract or powder.
- 5-10 ml of an extract with a concentration of 1:5 is recommended.
- 500-600 mg extract in the form of tablets or capsules per day.
- 3-6 grams as a powder per day.
- Up to 10 grams daily as a tea.
- Up to 30 drops of extract diluted in water or juice per day.
When taking Ashwagandha, it is important not to exceed the recommended dosage. Higher doses can lead to undesirable side effects.
b. forms of income
Ashwagandha is available in various dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, powder and extracts. The form of administration depends on the area of application and the personal preferences of the consumer.
tablets and capsules
Tablets and capsules are the most convenient way to take ashwagandha. They come in a variety of strengths and sizes, with the recommended daily dose ranging from 500 to 1000 milligrams. Most products contain high-quality ashwagandha concentrate combined with vitamins and minerals to maximize health benefits. Additionally, these products may contain microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, sodium starch glycolate, and other fillers that alter the taste and texture of the tablets or capsules .
Ashwagandha powder is one of the best dosage forms of Ashwagandha extracts. The powder is particularly nutritious as it contains the concentrate of the plant. It is also easy to take as it can be prepared with water or juice. Daily consumption of 1-2 teaspoons of ashwagandha powder is usually enough to get the health benefits. However, this product often tastes bad and is more difficult to dose than tablets or capsules .
Ashwagandha extracts are another popular option and consist of a highly concentrated form of the herb. They contain fewer fillers than tablets and capsules , making them a good option for people who prefer a pure and unadulterated product. Ashwagandha extracts are available in liquid form and as drops. The recommended dose is 3-6 drops per day.
c. Important notes on taking
When taking ashwagandha, it is important to follow the doctor's or pharmacist's instructions. If you are unsure whether you are taking the correct dose, it is advisable to consult a doctor or pharmacist.
When taking an ashwagandha supplement, it is important to keep the following points in mind:
- Always take the medicine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you.
- The recommended dose of ashwagandha is usually 500 mg once a day with meals.
- It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions if dosage recommendations differ from those above.
- It is important to stick to the recommended dosage.
- Ashwagandha should be taken on an empty stomach.
- It is important to drink enough water while taking ashwagandha.
- Ashwagandha should be taken regularly.
- If you take more than the recommended dose, please consult a doctor immediately.
- If you want to take ashwagandha and are taking other medicines at the same time, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you get any side effects, please contact a doctor or pharmacist.
V. Possible side effects and risks
Ashwagandha is considered safe and well-tolerated when taken at the recommended dosage. However, there are some side effects that should be considered, such as:
- Allergic reactions: pain, itching or rash
- drop in blood pressure
- upset stomach
- headache or dizziness
- insomnia or general tiredness
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with kidney or liver disease, and those taking other medications should consult a doctor before using ashwagandha.
a. Interactions with other medicines
Ashwagandha can interact with certain medications when used at the same time. Therefore, it is important to consult the doctor or pharmacist before taking Ashwagandha.
Interactions with the following drugs are known:
- Immunosuppressants: Ashwagandha may potentiate the effects of immunosuppressants, which can lead to increased immunosuppression and an increased risk of infection.
- Blood thinners: Ashwagandha can increase the effects of anticoagulants, which can lead to an increased tendency to bleed and an increased risk of bleeding.
- Antidiabetic Drugs: Ashwagandha may potentiate the effects of antidiabetic drugs, which can lead to hypoglycemia and an increased risk of unwanted metabolic side effects.
- Sedative, Soporific, and Sedative: Ashwagandha may enhance the effects of sedative, soporific, and tranquilizers, which can lead to increased sedation and an increased risk of unwanted side effects.
- Blood Pressure Lowering Drugs: Ashwagandha may potentiate the effects of blood pressure lowering drugs, which may lead to an increased risk of hypotension and an increased risk of unwanted metabolic side effects.
b. Overdose side effects
Ashwagandha is a natural extract obtained from the Indian plant Withania somnifera and used as an Ayurvedic remedy. It has many potential health benefits, but it can also have negative side effects if taken in excessive doses. Such an overdose can lead to unpleasant side effects such as nausea, headache, dizziness, depression, pain and agitation.
It is important that you make sure you are taking the right dose and are following the directions carefully. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical advice immediately.
The following symptoms can occur with an overdose:
- loss of appetite
- Gastrointestinal complaints
- Allergic reaction
Ashwagandha overdose can also lead to serious health complications, including liver and kidney risks and severe allergic reactions. If you notice any of the above symptoms, see a doctor immediately and talk to them about a possible overdose.
Due to the lack of clinical data on the use of ashwagandha, certain groups of people should use this product with caution. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune disorders.
Because most ashwagandha products are not tested, monitored, and regulated by any government agency, they may contain unwanted substances that can be harmful. It is therefore important to be careful when choosing a product. If you choose a product that has undergone quality control and laboratory tests, you can be sure that it does not contain any harmful substances.
In addition, when taking Ashwagandha, interactions with certain medications can occur. Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor before considering taking ashwagandha, especially if you are taking any of the following medications:
- thyroid hormones
- Medicines that suppress the immune system
- mood stabilizers
It is important to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking before taking ashwagandha to avoid serious side effects.
How long does it take for ashwagandha to work?
There is no definite answer to the question of how long it takes for ashwagandha to work as everyone's body reacts differently. However, some studies suggest that it may take a few weeks for the effects of ashwagandha to be felt. It is important to note that taking ashwagandha does not produce immediate effects and requires regular intake over a period of time.
How much Ashwagandha should be taken daily?
The recommended dose of Ashwagandha depends on various factors such as age, gender, body weight and health status. In general, a daily dose of 500-600 mg of Ashwagandha extract is recommended. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult a doctor if necessary.
Is Ashwagandha suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women?
There isn't enough research to say if ashwagandha is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. For this reason, it is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women do not take ashwagandha unless specifically recommended by their doctor.
How long can Ashwagandha be taken?
There is no exact specification of how long ashwagandha should be taken. However, it is recommended to take ashwagandha on a regular basis to avoid developing a tolerance. Some experts recommend taking it for 2 to 3 months, followed by a 1 to 2 week break.
Can you drink Ashwagandha as a tea?
Yes, Ashwagandha can also be prepared and drunk as a tea. To do this, dissolve the Ashwagandha powder in hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. However, it is recommended to use ashwagandha extract to ensure accurate dosing.
Is Ashwagandha suitable for children?
There isn't enough information to judge the safety and effectiveness of ashwagandha in children. For this reason, children should not take ashwagandha unless recommended by a doctor.
Can Ashwagandha help against insomnia?
Yes, ashwagandha can help against insomnia. Ashwagandha is known for its calming properties, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. These properties can help improve sleep. However, it is important to note that ashwagandha alone is not a complete solution to insomnia and other measures such as a healthy sleeping environment and regular bedtimes are also important.
Can Ashwagandha Relieve Chronic Pain?
Yes, ashwagandha can relieve chronic pain. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve pain. A 2015 study showed that taking ashwagandha led to a significant reduction in pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor before taking ashwagandha for chronic pain.