A guide to the best Ashwagandha benefits for women
Ayurveda is the most ancient branch of medicine. A relationship between nature-based medicine to human body functions and its application to cure ailments is known as ayurvedic medicines.
Ayurvedic medicine is a branch that is the oldest, as old as 3000 years.
Ayurveda is a branch that continues to flourish. But the knowledge of Ayurveda is still limited to a specific population as its scriptures are still in the Sanskrit language.
Ayurvedic medicine is based on five elements
-Vayu, i.e., air
-Akash, i.e., sky
-Jala, i.e., water
-Prithvi, i.e., earth
-Teja, i.e., fire
Though the mechanism of action of the ayurvedic drug may be slow, the long-term effects are very effective with minimal or no side effects.
One such ayurvedic wonder is Ashwagandha.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a very renowned ayurvedic medicine that has been used for many ages. The scientific name is Withania somnifera and belongs to the family Solanaceae.
Ashwagandha roughly translates as; ashwa because to ashwagandha root smells like horse and gandha, meaning, after consuming this, you get the strength like a horse. Ashwagandha comes under the Rasayana as it increases physical and mental health wellness.
The plant is known as “Indian ginseng,” commonly known as “Indian winter cherry.”
Amongst many ayurvedic herbs, Ashwagandha has consistently been used as the base of ayurvedic medicine.
Ashwagandha is one of the natural remedies that has been used for many ages. Due to the wide range of health benefits of Ashwagandha, it is consumed from toddlers to old age people to promote a healthy lifestyle. Ashwagandha boosts the immune system by improving cell-mediated immunity.
Ashwagandha is similar to Eleutherococcus senticosus, also known as Siberian ginseng and Panax ginseng, Chinese or Korean Ginseng due to its similar adaptogenic properties.
Ashwagandha can be consumed in any form. The following are available for consumption:
1] Ashwagandha powder
2] Ashwagandha capsules
3] Ashwagandha pills
4] Ashwagandha elixir
Chemical composition of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is composed of natural alkaloids like isopelletierine and anaferine, steroidal lactones like withanolides, withaferins, and saponin.
Indian winter cherry or Ashwagandha belongs to the class of adaptogen and has been used as
- thermogenic compound
Due to its physiological structure, ashwagandha can prevent vaginal infections because of its anti-microbial properties.
Since Ashwagandha is a well-known adaptogen, it has properties like increasing physical and mental health, relieving stress, and decreasing anxiety.
Ashwagandha improves the immune system of the body by enhancing cell-mediated immunity.
Clinical trials were initially done on mice as they have the same central nervous system composition as ours. The mice treated with Ashwagandha showed improvement and had a rare chance of relapse.
Early research shows a significant reduction in muscle fatigue, an increase in testosterone levels, and a decrease in cortisol.
There is no scientific evidence that studies yet have to be made on its effects on insomnia, aging, and anxiety.
Evidence suggests that Ashwagandha has been proven to reduce blood glucose levels by regulating its levels.
A random, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the safety and efficiency of ashwagandha root in reducing stress, increasing mental alertness, and improving sleep quality has been done as well.
These researches were made with a sample of people treated with Ashwagandha and people treated with normal medicine; those treated with Ashwagandha showed significant improvements compared to the placebo group.
The ulcers produced either due to stress or improper gastrointestinal function are reduced by taking Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha calms the nervous system present around the joint and reduces pain. Ashwagandha is known for its anti-arthritic properties.
In comparative studies, Ashwagandha was compared to lorazepam; hence Ashwagandha showed more effective anti-depressant properties.
Effect on urathane induced lung adenoma
Ashwagandha can be used as a side drug during chemotherapy sessions.
Ashwagandha does inhibition of cell growth and avoids cell attachment.
Consuming Ashwagandha can show a slight increase in weight.
Effect on leucocytosis
Ashwagandha combined with milk can effectively reduce the rate of leucocytosis.
Ashwagandha benefits for Women
1. Improves bone health
Women have a blessing in disguise that is the presence of estrogen.
Oestrogen is the hormone present in greater amounts in the female’s body. It plays a crucial role in bone health and an effect on the cardiovascular and the nervous system to some extent.
As a woman reaches the age of 40, estrogen levels decline as she approaches menopause.
With the decreased estrogen level in the body, bone health is drastically compromised, making her more prone to osteoporosis, thus increasing the chances of fracture.
In a normal human adult, the new bone formation is directly proportional to the reabsorption of the bone cells.
In an osteoporotic bone, the bone cell absorption exceeds the new bone-cell formation, leading to a decrease in the density of the bone. This causes an increase in the risk of fracture, even from a trivial fall.
Ashwagandha helps with bone strength as it contains calcium along with vitamin c.
Daily consumption of Ashwagandha helps restore bone health and also enhances muscle strength. The hormonal fluctuations caused during menopause are also greatly reduced with the daily consumption of this herb.
2. Menstrual cycle
With the change in the level of the hormones, as a girl enters her teen years, the menstrual cycle is initiated.
In today’s generation, where stress, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle have become common among young people, problems related to the menstrual cycle have risen.
Starting from intense pain during the cycle to period-induced migraine and anemia, no body system is left unturned.
With increasing awareness regarding these health issues and many young females coming front and speaking openly about this, many possible reasons that can cause this pain has been noticed.
This has even led to an increase in research to find the most desirable and convenient treatment approach, and Ayurveda has always been a promising one.
The pain can be very extreme and unbearable. Pain mostly radiates around the pelvic region, legs, thighs, and lower stomach; this condition is dysmenorrhoea, and excessive blood flow is experienced.
Also, due to increased stress hormone, many women face discomfort during the menstrual cycle.
Women experience irregular menses due to hormonal imbalance. The cycle is being delayed from a few weeks to months. This condition is known as PCOD.
This occurs due to hormonal fluctuation related to the menstrual cycle. Taking Ashwagandha mixed with honey in lukewarm milk can reduce these symptoms.
Menopause, yet another major turning point in women’s lives, is being highlighted these days.
In this phase of life, where the hormonal levels change with a decline in estrogen level, a major impact on the health of the women has been noticed.
Women within the age group of 40-50 years start entering the menopausal phase. Initially, there is an Amenorrhagic phase that can last for 2-3 months; during this, women experience extremely irregular periods.
Initiation of this phase marks the start of menopause. Women facing menopause undergo many changes in the body like:
-Hot flashes at night
-Decrease in libido
-Anxiety or depression
Ashwagandha root extract can relieve mild to moderate climacteric symptoms occurring in women.
Hormonal fluctuations can be reduced by taking ashwagandha tonic as it acts upon the endocrine system.
4. Sexual dysfunction
Women who consume Ashwagandha in concentrated doses are reported to have more orgasms and have more satisfying sex.
On a regular, it improves sexual arousal, orgasm, and lubrication. It decreases stress, which encourages elevated levels of energy and improves blood flow, leading to improvement in sexual potency.
Clinical study shows that Ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction as ashwagandha consumption acts as a sexual stimulant.
Note: It acts primarily as a sexual stimulator for men, however in women it can improve sexual dysfunction.
5. Body weight management
Bodyweight management has always been an evergreen subject of discussion in every age group.
With increased stress and unhealthy eating habits, managing the ideal weight is difficult. And lack of physical activity has made it way more complicated.
The increasing level of stress also has an impact on body weight.
People undergo stress which leads to the consumption of junk food. Food cravings are caused because of serum cortisol levels.
If the weight is because of stress, Ashwagandha helps manage stress by decreasing psychological and physiological markers that induce stress.
Developing good and regular eating habits can help you in reducing weight effectively. Eating unnecessarily more calories can result in weight gain. Bodyweight can be managed by regular exercise, proper eating habits, quality sleep, and stress reduction.
Managing your weight can reduce many co-morbid diseases like high blood sugar levels high blood pressure and maintain thyroid hormones levels.
6. Mental health benefits
Emotional, physical, and psychological well-being these terms are included here. Chronic stress can have very alarming effects.
Women tend to experience more physical and mental stress due to hormonal and reproductive changes occurring in the body.
Always remember to take out time for yourself. Ashwagandha contains an adaptogenic blend of ashwagandha extract and lemon balm. This Rasayana helps in enhancing physical and regulating stress.
Ashwagandha is an ideal herb for helping in stress response and relieving tension. The stress response is regulated by a system present in the body known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenaline axis. Ashwagandha acts on this axis and reduces stress.
7. Managing Infertility
A failure to achieve pregnancy for trying to conceive for more than 12 months is known as infertility. This may be because of fault in either the female or male reproductive systems.
Female reproductive hormones
Estrogen and progesterone, these two hormones, play a major role in female fertility.
Male reproductive hormones
Testosterone levels and gonadotropin-releasing hormone levels are important in male fertility.
Stress has a negative impact on the reproductive health of individuals. There may be heightened worries and queries as to how to conceive. Ways need to be found to manage stress to increase your reproductive health.
When taken by infertile men, Ashwagandha has proven to improve sperm quality and balance reproductive hormone levels.
8. Cardiovascular health benefits
The fat percentage in the body can affect cardiac health drastically. The fat molecules deposit on the inner lining of the arteries; this is known as atherosclerotic plaque. This can lead to many cardiovascular health conditions.
Heart health ashwagandha improves cardiac health by bringing down blood pressure levels and regulating the cholesterol present in the body.
Ashwagandha is proven to increase the oxygen levels present. The oxygen intake is more when an individual performs stressful activities.
An abnormal breathing pattern can be seen in cardiorespiratory conditions. Hence, measuring cardiorespiratory endurance is necessary to ensure regular flow between the heart and lungs.
When taken in combination, Ashwagandha and Arjuna improve physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance among healthy adults.
Ashwagandha lowers the stress by acting on heat shock proteins and cortisol.
9. Cognitive functioning
What is a cognitive function? The ability of the brain to perceive, understand and make decisions. Ashwagandha is a herb that increases the efficiency of cognitive function. It improves mental stamina and improves attention span.
Eating ashwagandha powder early in the morning can enhance cognitive function. This also improves the mood and gives a great head start for the day.
10. Cognitive impairment
This can have two consequences like gradual memory loss forgetting names, places, which creates confusion among people.
The perceived stress can be more due to unable emotional health. Taking Ashwagandha can improve the cognitive functioning of the brain.
Intake of ashwagandha powder can improve neurodegenerative diseases like parkinsonism, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.
11. Effects on blood sugar levels
Two types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
An auto-immune reaction of the body causes it. The pancreas is responsible for insulin secretion; beta cells promote and regulate insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the cells attack their beta cells, resulting in improper insulin regulation.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is mostly observed in overweight people. It is the impairment in insulin production and insulin resistance in the body. An external insulin supplement may be required to meet the body’s daily need for it.
Using Ashwagandha powder, ashwagandha root extract, and ashwagandha leaf extract can increase the frequency of urination concentrations of sodium.
This results in reducing the blood sugar levels in the body.
Other strategies that can assist you in your journey to reduce blood glucose levels;
- regular exercise
- proper diet plan
- intermittent fasting
- quit smoking
- quit alcohol consumption
Methods of taking Ashwagandha
1] Ashwagandha powder- It can be taken anytime in the day. The powder has a very strong smell, and it can be mixed with ghee, honey, lukewarm milk, and water.
2] Ashwagandha tablet- 1 tablet in the morning or at night can be consumed to enhance our brain capacity and nervous system efficiency.
3] Ashwagandha churna is a combination of gokshura, safed musli, and shilajit. Taking this, the hair and skin conditions are improved.
4] Ashwagandha chocolates- Chocolate combined with ashwagandha powder increases libido in both men and women.
5] Ashwagandha tea – The tea powder is made from ashwagandha root extract. 1 tablespoon powder added to one cup of water.
The water must be boiled to dissolve the extracts in the water. Drinking this tea can reduce stress levels in the body. A night of sound sleep and a relaxed state of mind are observed after consuming it at night.
6] Ashwagandha oil- As Ashwagandha has anti-arthritic properties, it is used in oil form to apply on the joints. The oil is extracted from the ashwagandha plant and is applied externally.
For better effects, this oil should be used twice a day. Early morning before going to work or start your daily household chores and at night, application at night gives you a soothing effect as it calms down the irritated nerves around the joint.
7] Ashwagandha paste- Ashwagandha paste is extracted from the leaves of the plant. Apply this paste to your scalp, leave it for a few hours and wash it off with lukewarm water. This improves hair health and prevents further damage due to the pollutants present in the air.
There are a number of health benefits of Ashwagandha without any side effects. Ayurveda has always proven beneficial to humankind as it links nature to the body’s functions.
Its treatments always yield benefits, which is the great thing about Ayurveda. Also, Ayurveda is known as the science of life. Living gets easier when yoga and Ayurveda are practiced together.
With this knowledge of Ashwagandha and its benefits, begin your healthy lifestyle!