Ashwagandha (Withaniai somnifera), also known as “sleeping berry” or “Indian ginseng”, is an evergreen shrub native to India, Africa and parts of the Middle East. The plant belongs to the nightshade family and is often classified as a natural adaptogen. Adaptogens are plant substances that help the body adapt to physical and mental stress. In Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, Ashwagandha has been one of the most important herbs for centuries.
Here are the most important health benefits of the potent medicinal plant:
1. Reduce anxiety and stress
Cortisol is an endogenous hormone and is formed in the adrenal glands with the help of cholesterol. It is involved in many metabolic processes, increases performance and is released more and more as a reaction to stress. On the other hand, an excess of cortisol can have negative health consequences. Ashwagandha has been shown to support the adrenal glands by normalizing cortisol levels. This reduces the negative effects of too high (or too low) cortisol levels.
Furthermore, Indian studies indicate that the medicinal plant can also improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. For example, the researchers gave ashwagandha in high doses to people with anxiety. Along with other interventions, ashwagandha significantly improved mental health, focus, energy levels, and overall quality of life.
2. Relieve insomnia
Not for nothing is Ashwagandha also called the sleeping berry. Preliminary research has found that ashwagandha can help you fall asleep faster and experience better sleep quality. After eight weeks of taking the medicinal plant, the participants’ sleep improved significantly. Not only did it reduce the time it took to fall asleep, the subjects also had more restful sleep overall and woke less in between. In addition, researchers from the University of Tsukuba in Japan found that the leaves of the plant contain triethylene glycol (TEG) and that this component is responsible for a sleep-inducing effect.
But don’t worry: While drug treatments for insomnia can lead to addiction or even addiction, ashwagandha supplements do not carry this risk, making them a good alternative for people with sleep problems.
In Germany, 5 to 10% of people suffer from sleep disorders. You can find out what helps against this in this article: Insomnia
3. Calm the inflammation
Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory and immunizing effects. Research has shown that ashwagandha increases the activity of natural killer cells. Thanks to these properties, the plant not only strengthens the immune system, but also helps reduce joint inflammation (arthritis) and pain and protect cartilage. In addition, the medicinal herb is rich in iron and thus contributes to the development of red blood cells, whose job is to carry vital oxygen to organs and tissues.
4. Positive effect on hormonal balance
Hormonal imbalance is a major cause of many ailments in women. At the onset of menopause, more and more often there is no ovulation, which also causes the level of progesterone in the female body to drop. At the same time, however, there is a relative excess of estrogen. As a result, the hormonal balance is no longer present. As a result, many women suffer from various physical ailments such as sleep disturbances, mood swings, rapid heartbeat and hot flashes during this time. A 2012 study found that menopausal women who took ashwagandha powder experienced fewer menopausal symptoms than they did before treatment. Sleep problems, hot flashes, mood swings and anxiety improved.
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