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If you have interest in healing herbs, you most likely have come across Ashwagandha, also known as Winter Cherry and Withania somnifera. It is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs. In this article we take a look at the health benefits of Ashwagandha and why it is widely used in Ayurveda.
Mainly Ashwaghanda is known for its rejuvenating benefits. Ashwagandha gives energy while at the same time it offers a calming effect. It can help with everything from cholesterol and blood sugar, to stress and depression.
The chemical components are very similar to those found in ginseng. But studies have found that it is superior in reducing stress compared to its Chinese cousin. Ayurvedic healers often prescribe the herb to treat exhaustion caused by both physical and mental strain.
The following includes some of the top health benefits of using this herb, but it is by no means a complete list.
The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
1. It Helps Lower Your Cholesterol
One of the first health benefits of Ashwagandha is that it can help to lower your cholesterol levels. If you have high cholesterol, it can lead to an increased risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
High cholesterol can come from many things, including what you do or don’t eat. If you want to add a healthy, healing herb to improve your cholesterol, Ashwagandha is recommended.
Due to its natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it is excellent for keeping your cholesterol at healthier levels. Ashwagandha also works to improve the strength of your heart muscles. As a result, this can help to reduce the harmful effects of bad cholesterol.
2. Improves Blood Sugar Levels
If you have high blood sugar levels, you know how dangerous this can be. It's vital that you do everything you can to lower your blood sugar levels, but also in the healthiest way possible.
If you want to lower your blood sugar levels with a more natural and alternative option, Ashwagandha may be a great option for you.
One thing to note is that you should not rely only on this herb if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you have extremely low blood sugar levels, speak to your doctor before using this natural herb. He may suggest you use it as an extension of your treatment.
3. It Can Help You Age Slower
Are you looking for ways to slow the natural aging process? If so, Ashwagandha is one of many herbs that can be extremely beneficial for you.
Don't look at it as an anti-aging herb, but rather something that is going to promote healthy and graceful aging. Everyone ages, so it is a better mindset to embrace the process, but do it in the healthiest possible way.
You may wonder why and how Ashwagandha helps with natural and healthy aging.
One of the best ways it helps with graceful aging is by reducing the stress in your body. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it is effective against biological, physical and mental stressors.
When you experience a lot of stress, it can make a drastic change in how you are aging. This occurs because the stress hormone cortisol can decrease cognitive function. Also, studies have suggested that Ashwagandha can limit the damage of free radicals through its antioxidant activity.
Ashwagandha for menopause
Another way that ashwagandha can help with the aging process is by supporting you through menopause. It is excellent for improving your hormonal balances. Ashwagandha helps to not only reduce your stress even more but help with side effects like anxiety and hot flashes.
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4. It Helps to Lower Your Cancer Risk
Ashwagandha is one of the healing herbs that can help reduce your cancer risk. No, it is not going to prevent or cure cancer – but like many alternative therapies, it can help tremendously with your risk. This is because Ashwagandha has natural anti-cancer properties.
The anti-cancer properties first help by limiting the growth of cancer cells in your body. Studies show the reduced growth of new cancer cells, which either helps lower your risk or may keep your cancer from becoming too advanced.
If you want to reduce your risk of cancer, it's vital to live the healthiest lifestyle possible. This includes eating a healthy seasonal diet, making sure your digestion is optimal, and exercising regularly. It is also important to live a modest lifestyle and avoid habits like smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, or drinking heavily.
5. It Has Fertility Benefits for Men
The great thing about Ashwagandha is that it has very diverse health benefits – including multiple ages and genders. Not only does it have unique health benefits for women, such as helping with natural aging and menopause, but it can also help with men’s virility and fertility.
Increasing male fertility
When men struggle with fertility issues, it is usually related to the quantity or quality of their sperm. This might include a lower sperm count, which decreases the chances a sperm will reach the egg. It might also include the shape and size of the sperm, as well as their speed.
What Ashwagandha helps with is the quality of the sperm. This includes both mobility and how fast the sperm is moving, but also in the sperm count. It is quite a journey for sperm to reach the egg, which is why the more there are to make it there, the better your chances.
If you have been struggling with fertility issues, it might be time to try natural herbs like Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha for low sex drive
Another way Ashwagandha is useful for men’s sexual health is by working as a natural aphrodisiac. It belongs to a small group of herbs that can help increase your sex drive without using any outside medications. If you have been struggling with a decreased sex drive, which can also affect your fertility, it doesn’t hurt to give Ashwagandha a try.
6. Mental Health Advantages
Now that we have covered the top physical health benefits of Ashwagandha, it is time to discuss some of the mental and emotional benefits. Some studies report that it has an effect on GABA receptors, the site of action of tranquilizing drugs like Valium and Ativan.
There are many ways to improve mental health, including stress, depression, and anxiety with natural remedies. They include:
- Getting more exercise
- Yoga Nidra
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Eating a healthy diet
- Using essential oils and herbs
Ashwagandha for stress and anxiety
A calming herb, Ashwagandha has a positive effect on the nervous system, which as you know is very closely linked to your brain and mental health.
Like all natural remedies, you should not rely on them entirely, but use them in conjunction with diet and other lifestyle routines.
Herbalists use Ashwagandha to strengthen the mind in times of fatigue and to enhance memory power.
Boosting your mood
It not only helps relax you but can give you a nice natural mood boost. Who doesn’t want to be happier and more content? This is one of a few different herbs that can make you feel happier and help manage a mood imbalance. If you suffer from severe mood swings, and can’t narrow it down to other causes, like hormones, then you might try a natural herb like ashwagandha to balance out your moods and start feeling better.
Increasing your energy
The last way ashwagandha can help with your mental health is by helping with energy levels. Your energy is not just physical but can be mental as well. When your nervous system is balanced, you will have more power to get through the day.
How to Use Ashwagandha
If you are not familiar with using natural herbs, then your question now might be – okay, but what do I do with it? Here are some tips for using ashwagandha for the above health benefits and many others you might come across.
While you can take Ashwagandha in pill form, it there are many wonderful ways to take it in powdered form.
When you get it in powder form, if the taste bothers you, here are some suggestions.
- Try adding it to a hot cup of tea and adding a little honey.
- Stir 1/2 teaspoon into a healthy milk alternative like almond or cashew milk with a little maple syrup and cardamom. (A wonderful sleep tonic)
- Add 1 teaspoon to an ounce of almond butter
- Include it in a smoothie – 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon Ashwagandha, 1 tsp cinnamon, a small handful of seeds or nuts.
- Make Golden Milk – 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon Ashwagandha powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Heat milk and spices to warm then add the coconut oil