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Benefits of Ashwagandha And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 06, 2020

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Ashwagandha helps to reduce blood sugar, fights depression, reduces cholesterol and cortisol levels. It also helps to combat cancer, anxiety, stress, inflammation, improves fertility levels in men and increases muscle strength. Ashwagandha is also ideal for boosting the testosterone level of men which results in a high sex drive.


Ashwagandha is a very powerful herb.. It is also called the Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha belongs from the family of tomato, it is a plump shrub with yellow flowers and oval leaves.

Interesting Facts: In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means the smell of a horse, which indicates the herb makes one have the strength and vigour of a stallion

It bears a red fruit which is as small as a raisin. It is usually grown in mild climates such as Middle East, Northern Africa and the dry regions of India. This Ayurvedic herb is also known as Winthania somnifera.

Nutritional Value of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is generally orange-red when it becomes ripe and the flowers appear to be bell shaped. It includes steroidal lactones and alkaloids which gives it beneficial and healing properties. Components like cuscohygrine and tropine are also present in Ashwagandha.

The long, tuberous, brown roots have been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine since early ages. The dried leaves of Ashwagandha are often ground and a paste is made from the powder which is used to treat cuts and burns.

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

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Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is helpful in reducing blood sugar levels

According to sources, Ashwagandha has been said to help with diabetes. It improves the sensitivity of insulin in muscle cells and increases insulin secretions. Blood sugar levels for people not suffering from diabetes can also be reduced.

Some people who have schizophrenia keep getting attacks even with the least amount trigger. Ashwagandha can relieve these attacks due to the rapid reduction in fasting blood sugar levels. Many people also use this herb as a substitute for diabetes medicine.

Helps to combat cancer

It has been proved that Ashwagandha helps to induced ‘programmed death of cells’ or apoptosis, in case of cancer cells. It can also slow down the growth of new cancer cells to some extent. It can also be helpful to treat different types of cancers like ovarian, brain, colon, lung and breast cancer. Intake of Ashwagandha can also prevent metastasis (spread of the cancer cells to different organs of the body).

Reduces Cortisol levels

Cortisol is a stress hormone which is released during stress and when blood sugar levels start reducing rapidly. For some people cortisol levels in their bodies are chronically high which in turn leads to extremely high blood sugar level and increases the level of fat storage in the abdomen. In such cases, Ashwagandha can help to reduce the cortisol level and bring it down to normal.

Helps to reduce anxiety and stress

Stress is usually inevitable and can occur at any time, but it can be controlled and reduced if certain methods are applied. Consuming Ashwagandha regularly at least once a day, can help make a huge difference in our lives.

It can reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety easily and help our brains to become more relaxed. People who have anxiety disorders or mental health conditions can also consume Ashwagandha to relieve the symptoms. Depression can also be kept at bay by consuming it daily.

Increases fertility and boosts testosterone

Consuming Ashwagandha in the powdered form or taking supplements of the same can improve the reproductive health of men. It has also been proven to increase the sex drive, sperm count and motility. Couples trying to conceive should definitely try ashwagandha for a better chance at conception.

This usually works because Ashwagandha increases the antioxidant levels in blood. Sperm quality is also greatly affected due to consumption of Ashwagandha on a regular basis.

Increases strength and muscle mass

Research shows that Ashwagandha increases strength by improving the body composition of a person. People who want to lose fat also consume Ashwagandha quite often. This in turns promotes muscle gain in both men and women.

Ashwagandha reduces inflammation

Ashwagandha increases the immunity of the cells which make you stay healthy by fighting infection. It also decreases components which trigger inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP). Thus, the possibility of developing a heart disease is generally reduced.

Lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels

Ashwagandha also improves the health of our heart by greatly reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels. This happens because Ashwagandha has natural properties which make it ideal for decreasing blood fats. Consuming Ashwagandha on a regular basis can keep your heart healthy and prevent the chances of a heart attack.

Fights symptoms of depression

Depression is a part of life, but for most people, it becomes chronic and can wreck havoc to their lives. Ashwangandha helps to alleviate and reduce symptoms of depression. According to studies, people consuming this herb had a better mental strength to overcome depression.

Uses of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has a variety of uses such as treating hemiplegia (one sided paralysis), backache and wounds. It also increases sexual desires in men and women, prevents aging and improves the thinking capacity of a person.


Side-Effects of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha can be very beneficial but if it is not taken in moderation, it can prove to be very fatal for health. Pregnant women are usually not allowed to consume Ashwagandha as it might induce miscarriage which can be a result of early labour pains. It can also increase the effects of anti- anxiety medicines and sedatives.

Ashwagandha should not be consumed after having alcohol, as it may make matters worse and enhance the effects of alcohol. People with an upcoming surgery or bleeding issues should not consume Ashwagandha. Slowed pulse, drowsiness, abdominal pain and diarrhea are other possible side effects of Ashwagandha.

Cultivation of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is usually a drought tolerant plant and is only found in regions which receive very little to no rainfall. It grows in temperatures between 25 to 30 degrees C. It is found in Yemen, China, Nepal, dry regions of India, etc.


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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
    Reviewed By
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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