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What is Ashwagandha?

The Incredible Herb From Ancient India

By Emily Marie ConcannonPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read
Top Story - February 2023
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What is Ashwagandha?
Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

“Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”

Terrence McKenna

What Are Ashwagandha and Ayurveda?

Ashwagandha is a species of flowering plant that primarily grows in Southern Asia. It's popular in Ayurvedic medicine in India and neighboring countries. Its use dates back over 5,000 years and has a long history of medicinal uses.

Ashwagandha loosely translates as "horse smell" or "smells like a horse." This is because the plant's roots smell very similar to a horse or horse stall.

Its name doesn't do its uses and healing properties justice.

Ashwagandha has been used in traditional Indian medicine for over 5,000 years. It was described in Vedic writings as a vital part of Ayurvedic medicine and treatment methods.

Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic medicinal system dating back at least 3,000 years. Ayurveda is a system established to promote all-body healing and internal and external well-being. The beauty of Ayurveda is it sees the body as a unified system.

Traditionally, people in the west saw their minds, bodies, and spirits as separate entities. In some teachings in western religions like Islam and Christianity, the body held the spirit back. The body was seen as preventing the spirit from attaining purity and truth.

Ayurveda teaches that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body and spirit. It also teaches that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and spirit. The body was a unit bound together. When one system suffers, the whole unit suffers.

This medicinal system includes spiritual healing through Chakra alignment, herbal treatments, dietary restrictions, and exercises. Ashwagandha is one of the main herbal treatments for those needing ayurvedic treatments.

But what are the benefits of Ashwagandha, and how can you use it in your daily life? I'll dive into these topics below!

By jens holm on Unsplash

What Are the Benefits of Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herbal remedy. This means it helps the body adjust to aging and other life-altering events. It helps balance the hormones and return the body and mind to a state of balance and alignment.

Ashwagandha is one of the most potent adaptogenic herbs in nature. Adaptogens are a group of healing herbal remedies that include:

  • Mushrooms (lion's mane, maitake, etc.)
  • Rhodolia
  • Ashwagandha

Each of these herbal remedies helps the body adjust to different stressors and life-changing events. However, they don't all do the same things. For example, adaptogenic mushrooms usually provide the body with energy and keep the mind sharp.

Ashwagandha primarily assists the body with stress management and aging. Some of the main benefits of Ashwagandha include:

  • Blood sugar management
  • Lowering (managing) blood pressure
  • Stress relief or management
  • Increases sexual energy and improves performance
  • Focus
  • Improves exercise performance

Ashwagandha is rich in several minerals, alkaloids, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Each of these compounds improves your health and helps bring the body and mind to a state of peace. This prevents the body from breaking down under pressure and stress.

By Supliful - Supplements On Demand on Unsplash

How is Ashwagandha Used?

Ashwagandha can be consumed as tea, powder, or as a pill. Some people have made tinctures by soaking the roots in oil or alcohol. It's important to understand dosage since you should avoid consuming excessive amounts of this herb.

In the past, ashwagandha was typically consumed as a tea or by pulverizing the root and adding it to food. Today people usually take this herb as a pill, but you can also take it as a tincture.

Tinctures and pills are probably the easiest way to consume this herb. Unfortunately, it really doesn't taste very good, and while you can eat it as a powder or tea, I don't personally recommend it.

Tinctures are usually absorbed faster by the body than powders or teas. This means you can start to feel the benefits quicker than when you consume it as food.

Although, there's nothing wrong with adding a scoop to your smoothies or coffee. It's not my preferred method, but you can usually cover the taste with berries, protein powder, and bananas.

By Sara Julie on Unsplash

Are There Any Health Concerns With Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a very safe herb to consume; however, you should avoid overdosing. While this herb is not the same thing as your average pharmaceutical, you can take too much. Follow the directions on the bottle and consult your doctor before consuming.

Sometimes people find that an herb can cause serious health risks while surfing the web. They may hear a story about how someone died from kidney failure while using a specific herb, and you swear you'll never give them a try!

That's an unfortunate decision. The truth is we consume foods every day that could kill us if we eat too many at once. The best example is spinach. Spinach contains an acid that can overburden your liver if you eat too much of it in one sitting.

What you need to understand is the importance of dosage. You should follow the directions on the container and read the instructions closely before taking your first dose. If you buy ashwagandha as a tincture and the bottle instructs you to take 3 droppers per day, follow these directions.

Finally, some people with certain medical conditions should avoid ashwagandha. These include:

  • hypotension
  • Low blood sugar
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Sleep issues
  • Thyroid disorders

These are just general guidelines, and just because you have one of these conditions, it doesn't mean you can't take this herb. For example, I knew someone who suffered from hypothyroidism, and they took ashwagandha every day, following very specific dosing directions.

You should understand your condition and discover the best and safest way to take ashwagandha. If you're unsure, speak with your doctor and discuss its use with a trained herbalist.

By Bankim Desai on Unsplash

*********************************************************************************

Thank you so much for reading this piece! I decided to write it because I used ashwagandha for over a year, and it significantly improved my health. It's important to note that I am not a doctor or a trained herbalist. Before taking this herb, you should speak with your medical professional and take their advice.

I personally started using this herb after a year of using hormonal birth control. While I know people say these medications are safe, I personally gained a significant amount of weight while on the pill. I used rhodiola and ashwagandha to help balance my hormones once more after I decided to stop taking the pill.

So far, it's been helping! I hope maybe this herb can help you get in shape and achieve your own personal health goals! LOTS OF LOVE!!! :) :)

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About the Creator

Emily Marie Concannon

I am a world nomad with a passion for vegan food, history, coffee, and equality.

You can find my first novel on Kindle Vella here: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09V4S7T4N :) I appreciate all your support and engagement! :)

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Comments (42)

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  • Christodoulos Peratikou5 months ago

    I like your article very much..We have to be careful with the use of herbs and homeopathy pills.

  • Justine Crowley7 months ago

    I knew that Ashwaganda was an adaptogen to stress, and it has helped me with my mental health immensely. You are not wrong on the overdosing aspect. The latter is easy to do. I have learnt more about this wonderful remedy today. Thank you.

  • Míriam Guasch8 months ago

    Great article!

  • I’ve been using ashwagandha for years by putting about half a teaspoon of powder in my morning coffee with honey. I can feel the effects on this and love the force it provides.

  • Jenna Calloway12 months ago

    Ooh, this is so interesting.

  • a dashabout a year ago

    hello I want to express my sincere appreciation for your ethical, informative, and friendly content, which I believe can benefit everyone. Also, I specially thank to you for your excellent work and for providing us with such valuable insights. best wishes

  • Tamika Morrison Okelekeabout a year ago

    I love this. I want to share this in my Ezine - 1STLADYRULES.com. I will send people to your article to fully read. Please let me know if this is OK? The website is in BETA mode and can be found here: https://1stladyrules.my.canva.site/#magazine

  • Suze Kayabout a year ago

    I take a daily pill of Ashwagandha and have noticed definite improvements in my mood, anxiety, and productivity. Thanks for this write up! I hope others are inspired to try it out.

  • Nick Tomkoabout a year ago

    very interesting!

  • hamna sultanaabout a year ago

    I loved your content ,it very helpful.

  • Tammy S.about a year ago

    I've been hearing a lot about it for anxiety. It might be worth checking out in the future. Thanks!

  • Rasheek Rasoolabout a year ago

    Great Information

  • Míriam Guaschabout a year ago

    Thanks for the info.

  • MANOJ KUMARabout a year ago

    Good Information. I am a regular user of this herb. Really its works without any side effects.

  • Winner grace!!about a year ago

    super

  • JBazabout a year ago

    So interesting, knowledgeable. Thank you and congratulations

  • Laura Hooverabout a year ago

    Not bad at all.

  • Innominaireabout a year ago

    Great read! I liked how you structured this post, keep it up!

  • Martin Thomasabout a year ago

    Great post, didn't know what it was.

  • Paul Stewartabout a year ago

    Emily well done on a very well researched and informative piece. I liked that you included your own experience but kept it fact-based! congrats on TS!

  • Stephen Kramer Avitabileabout a year ago

    Loved this! I love ashwagandha (and lion's mane too) and have it often, but I always enjoy reading more about it and learning more about its uses and benefits. Thanks for the great read!

  • Testabout a year ago

    Such a well-written and informative article, Emily. Mind-body-soul connection and balance is so important. Congrats on your well-deserved Top Story.

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    A very informative, well-structured piece. Thanks for sharing the information and congratulations on the Top Story placement! Well done!

  • Loryne Andaweyabout a year ago

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and congratulations on your Top Story! ❤️'d and subscribed :)

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Wonderful article!!! This is all new information. As I wasn't aware of the ashwagandha plant, I want to thank you for sharing this information. Left some love!!!💖💖💕

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