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What are the Benefits of Ashwagandha?

Also known as, the Indian Ginseng, ashwagandha is a plant dating back to ancient medicine in Africa and Asia. It was mainly used to treat symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and stress, a benefit that saw its popularity spread as far as Europe and America. With time, clinical researchers have found that it is a potent treatment for various health issues.

The plant’s roots are ground into a fine powder that can be taken in capsule and tablet form. It can also be mixed with various drinks and water. In most studies conducted, the majority of the consumers reported improvement in their symptoms compared to the placebo groups. This article gives the many benefits of the plant.

Reduced Fatigue, Stress and Anxiety

Our bodies are designed to respond to and interpret things that may seem common such as orders from a boss as threats. Stress and fatigue happen when the sympathetic part of the nervous system produces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin.

Ashwagandha supplement in stem and powder form

These hormones result to increased production of blood glucose and breathing rate, all aimed at preparing your body for fight or flight. When this happens repeatedly or over a long period, your body becomes chronically fatigued and stressed. Research findings that ashwagandha inhibits over production of the stress hormones, thus relieving you of fatigue, stress and anxiety.

Improved Sex Drive

The Indian history has it that, the ‘ASHWA’ part of the name means ‘horse’ and that it could be the origin of the name. It is believed that the plant roots smell resemble that of a horse, with others claiming it is because it comes with strength like that of the animal. Although there is no conclusive clinical evidence to support this claim, the benefit could be from the fact that it improves alertness and blood circulation.

Improved Cognitive Functions

With stress and anxiety coming from almost anything including a traffic jam, our minds may be clogged, something that eventually leads to fatigue. Over time, the brain may develop some neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and the Parkinson’s diseases. Several individuals in study findings reported improved memory and enhanced cognitive functions after consuming the plant extract. This may be because of its ability to inhibit the production of the stress related hormones that contribute to stress and fatigue. On the contrary, a placebo study group did not report any improvement in their cognitive functions.

Increased Strength and Muscles

As earlier mentioned in the discussion, a part of the plant name may be derived from the word horse. As we may be all aware, horses are associated with strength. Ashwagandha extract has been found to improve the maximum amount of oxygen the body consumes when engaged in a physical exercise. The maximum amount of energy needed for a physical exercise is known as VO2 max levels. The more the VO2 max levels, you will be able to exercise even more without fatigue and burnout. Consequently, you will experience enhanced strength because of more workout. This explains some claims of some people experienced a considerable amount of weight loss after consuming the herb.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Conditions

Most cardiovascular conditions are because of increased cholesterol levels and constricted blood vessels. Ashwagandha has been found to improve the uptake of the maximum amount of oxygen that the body needs during a workout. Improved oxygen levels enhance burning of fats throughout the body. Higher oxygen levels also culminate to improved blood circulation thereby leading to healthier heart.

Lowers the Risk of Cancer

This may come as a surprise to many but the little research findings available show that consumption of the supplement lowers the risk of cancer. This is because of the fact that it inhibits inflammation of cells.

Even with all these benefits, ashwagandha, just like the commercial drugs, comes with its fair share of disadvantages. Some consumers have reported isolated cases of nausea, vomiting and stomach upsets. Apparently, these side effects mainly come from people who used larger than the recommended dosage. Research findings show that for maximum benefits, ashwagandha has to be coupled with change in behavior.

It is also advisable that you use the supplement with the directions of your personal physician. This is because effects of the plant may counteract other medications. Of most importance, people with cancer, cardiovascular diseases and pregnant women should keep off use of the herb. For pregnant women for example, they may experience the same nausea they may be trying to fight because of the pregnancy.

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