Ashwagandha increases the number of pathogen-fighting agents like WBC and platelets, the levels of the key proteins IL2 and IFNγ, and the amount and variety of antibodies. By hiking bone marrow cellularity, it helps produce more pathogen-fighting agents and reverses the ill effects of anticancer drugs on the immune system. It also fights chronic stress, which debilitates the immune system.
Ashwagandha lowers total, LDL, and VLDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly and increases HDL levels slightly. Antioxidants in the herb scavenge free radicals so that excess LDLs are not oxidized inside the artery to form plaque. They also protect the liver from oxidative damage, lower inflammation, and improve diabetes dyslipidemia symptoms.
If stress, hypothyroidism, or a breached immunity is bulking you up, try ashwagandha. This adaptogenic herb can lower cortisol levels by 28%, hike the BMR by raising T4 output, and bolster immunity. Rich in iron, it boosts RBC count and circulation, fights inflammation, and augments energy. This spurs weight loss. Add a few crushed leaves to water and drink daily.
Your exhausted adrenal glands can bust your stress response, causing chronic fatigue, anxiety, and low energy. Treat it with prescribed amounts (up to 4 gms) of ashwagandha daily. This adaptogenic herb normalizes cortisol levels, resists biological and chemical stressors, and hastens stress recovery. It also fights oxidative stress, a cause of chronic fatigue, by regulating GSH and lowering lipid peroxidation.
Perimenopause spikes a hormonal imbalance, with more estrogen than progesterone due to fewer cycles. Though menopause lowers estrogen levels, with progesterone lacking, this imbalance continues. Ashwagandha moderates the effects of high levels of estrogen over progesterone and mitigates symptoms like heavy bleeding, mood swings, or hot flashes. It can even serve as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.
Ashwagandha regulates hormone levels, calms the mind and balances moods, thereby improving the body's response to both psychological and physical stress. It also counters the effect of toxic agents that can inhibit reproductive ability. Post-partum, ashwagandha can help women regain strength, and even stimulate milk production. Large doses carry risk of abortion, so be cautious.
Ashwagandha has no major side effects within the recommended dose of 3–12 g daily, but some people may experience nausea or diarrhea. Since it can enhance or negate the efficacy of medicines, people on medication for diabetes, hypertension, insomnia, thyroid malfunction, and autoimmune disorders must exercise caution. It's also best avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women and people with acute liver problems.
The recommended dose of ashwagandha root or leaf powder for both short- and long-term use is 1–2 tsps twice daily, boiled in water or mixed with milk, buttermilk, ghee, or honey. You can also have ashwagandha root or leaf extract at a dose of 600–1200 mg. The more convenient modern way is to have 1–2 capsules twice a day. There are no major side effects, but it's best avoided by pregnant women.
Ayurveda recommends ashwagandha as an aphrodisiac and as a tonic for overall health. Studies prove that it increases sperm quality, count, and motility and improves the biochemical composition of semen. It raises testosterone and luteinizing hormone levels and reduces follicle-stimulating hormone and prolactin. Ashwagandha also fights oxidative damage, counters stress, and reverses the effect of smoking on sperms. Have 1–2 tsps root extract twice daily for best benefits.
Insomnia is an outcome of disruption in the body's ability to regulate sleep-wake cycles, typically caused by chronic stress and deterioration in immunity, metabolism and hormonal balance. Ashwagandha does not act as a sedative - instead, it reduces stress, improves vitality and makes the body more robust and active, thereby helping restore the body's natural mechanisms to regulate sleep. 2 tsp (200–400 mg) of Ashwagandha extract a day is safe and effective to treat insomnia.
Ayurveda recommends drinking 1 to 2 cups of Ashwagandha tea daily to treat both mental and physical fatigue. Boil 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp Ashwagandha root powder, 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 cup water on low flame till the mixture reduces to 1/2 cup. Add a pinch of cardamom and let it cool down to a lukewarm temperature. Have this herbal tea, once or twice a day. Add other herbs like basil for even more benefits!
Ashwagandha root and leaf extracts contain components that prevent cancer, enhance the effectiveness of cancer therapies, and alleviate the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Ashwagandha selectively inhibits cancer cells using five signaling pathways. It has proven effective against multiple types of cancers including brain, prostate, skin, renal, and breast cancer.
With its steroids, ashwagandha fights free radicals and increases the activity of the natural antioxidants in the body, thus lowering inflammation, a common factor in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. It helps clear out the proteins that form plaques in an Alzheimer's brain. It improves the symptoms of Parkinson's related to muscle control, movement, and balance by raising dopamine levels. The herb has the rare ability to repair damaged neurons and reconstruct neuronal networks and synapses, which helps improve memory and cognition. No wonder Ayurveda uses it as a rejuvenator.
Ashwagandha has been found to selectively increase the production of T4 hormone and simultaneously reduce cell damage caused by free radicals. While this is especially beneficial for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), it might have a regulating effect on hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) as well. Combining ashwagandha with extracts of other plants such as guggulu is considered most effective.
Alzheimer's has been associated with the formation of destructive beta amyloid protein plaques and clumps in the brain. Curcumin inhibits the formation of such plaques and clumps, and may even help break them up. Ashwagandha boosts a protein in the liver, which enters the blood stream and helps clear amyloid from the brain. It is known to reverse memory loss and improve cognitive abilities.
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