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Everyone’s talking about Ashwagandha!

Everyone’s talking about Ashwagandha!

Top 5 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine which is based on principles of natural healing. It’s a small scrub that is native to North Africa and India. Powder or extracts from the plant’s leaves or root are used to increase energy levels, improve concentration and relieve stress. It’s known by several other names including winter cherry, Indian ginseng, and Withania somnifera. Ashwagandha’s high concentration of withanolides has been shown to fight tumor growth and inflammation.

  1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

benefits of AshgawandahThe adrenal glands and stress are inextricably connected. The adrenals produce a stress hormone known as cortisol that is quicker to release compared to other more physically noticeable hormones such as adrenaline. High levels of cortisol can have a negative impact on your health and it’s best to keep cortisol and stress in check.

Ashwagandha supports normal HPA Axis function; meaning it helps the adrenal, pituitary and hypothalamic glands work syn. However, when these three glands are not communicating effectively, your stress response might not match the situation.

Ashwagandha also works on the adrenal glands to lower overproduction of testosterone, which can cause a low-level stress response if the level of testosterone in your system is too high. It also prevents depletion of vitamin C in the adrenal glands which keeps them functioning optimally. If there’s depletion of vitamin C in the adrenals, their ability to regulate cortisol production is compromised, which results in too little or too much.

Chronic stress causes adrenal insufficiency which can cause abnormal aldosterone production and abnormal adrenal gland size. Studies show that 6 months of ashwagandha supplementation can effectively treat aldosterone (an adrenal hormone) deficiency and abnormal adrenal growth, and thus help reduce scalp hair loss.

  1. Improves Brain Function

ashwagandha benefitsCase studies revealed that ashwagandha reduces Parkinson’s Diseases-specific abnormalities and oxidative stress in rodents. The studies also show that ashwagandha supplementation markers of depression and anxiety in mice. The effect was very similar to that of modern psychoactive medications. This shows promise for research in humans.

herbs for anxiety

Ashwagandha also had a positive effect on cancerous brain, lung, ovarian, prostate, and mammary tumors in mice. However, there’s still need for human studies to help solidify the evidence, but it’s worth bringing it up with your dietitian or doctor because most people tolerate it well.

Cancer patients and people with blood pressure and overactive thyroid issues should consult their doctor before supplementing with ashwagandha, as it can interact with common cancer and blood pressure medications or spike up your thyroid activity.

  1. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have shown that ashwagandha reduces blood sugar levels. Several human studies have also confirmed ashwagandha’s ability to lower blood sugar levels in both people with diabetes and healthy people. Several test-tube studies found that it is highly effective for increasing insulin secretion and improving insulin sensitivity in human muscle cells.  Its effects on insulin sensitivity and secretion may help reduce blood sugar levels.

herbs for anxiety

  1. Reduces Inflammation

Animal studies have found that ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation. Several human studies have also shown that boosts the activity of immune cells known as natural killer cells, which fight infection and ensure that you stay healthy.

it also reduces markers of inflammation, including CRP (C-reactive protein). This marker of inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

  1. Lowers Triglycerides and Cholesterol

Animal studies have shown that in addition to ashwagandha’s anti-inflammatory effect, it may also improve heart health by reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels. One study in rodents found that it reduces total triglycerides by as much as 45% and cholesterol by nearly 53%. Although the results observed in human studies were less dramatic, they still reported some significant improvements in these markers.

In the study, stressed adults who took standardized ashwagandha extract for 60 days experienced an 11% decrease in triglycerides and a 17% decrease in LDL cholesterol.  This shows that ashwagandha helps decrease the risk of heart disease by reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

With its health benefits for the brain, immunity, stress, anxiety, and more, ashwagandha is a good herb you can incorporate in your diet. You can get it as an extract, single ingredient capsules, or energy supplements. Ashwagandha is widely available and safe for most people.

ashwagandha powder

However, breastfeeding and pregnant women should not take it. If you have an autoimmune disease it’s recommended that you avoid taking ashwagandha unless authorized by your doctor. This includes those with conditions such as type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Moreover, it’s important to note that ashwagandha can potentially increase the levels of thyroid hormone in people who are on medication for thyroid disease.

Please check with your doctor before taking ashwagandha supplements.

reduce stress and anxiety naturally

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