L'ashwagandhaalso known as "Indian ginsengis a key plant in the traditional Indian medicine. It has been used for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits, contributing to emotional balance as well as improving physical and intellectual capacities.
Find out in this article why it's in our interest to adopt ashwagandha and make it a health benefits!
What is ashwagandha?
L'ashwagandhawhose scientific name is Withania somnifera and nicknamed "Indian ginsengis a shrub with long oval leaves of about ten cm belonging to the Solanaceae family. native to India. Its rootsvery rich in active ingredients, have been used for thousands of years in traditional Indian medicine or ayurvedic.
The term "ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit (an Indo-European language): "asha meaning "horseand "gandha which means "smell. It is said to have been so named because of the characteristic odor emanating from the roots of this plant, reminiscent of that of horses, or is it a reference to its potency and its power to give the strength of a stallion when consumed!
Just like ginsengthe rhodiola or even Eleutherococcusashwagandha is a plant "adaptogenicwhich means that consuming it increases our body's ability to adapt and better defend themselves against stress, whatever its origin: physical, psychological or emotional stress.
What are the active ingredients in ashwagandha?
This adaptogenic plant has many numerous active ingredientsdiscover them :
- Withaferin A: a steroidal lactone from the withanolide family with anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-metastatic (anti-cancer) properties.
- Glycowhithanolides and sitoindosides: steroidal lactones with anti-stress properties.
- Solasodine : alkaloid used in the treatment of arthritis and certain cancers, particularly those of the colon and liver.
- Flavonoids : notably catechin and kaempferol, with antioxidant power.
- Fatty acids: notably alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3), oleic acid (an omega 9) and linoleic acid (an omega 6).
- Amino acidsincluding tryptophanan amino acid precursor of serotonin (a neurotransmitter nicknamed the "happy hormone").
- Other nutrients : iron, potassium, glucose, flavonoids, tannins...
What are the benefits of ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha has many virtues and health benefits:
Adaptogenic properties: anti-stress and anxiety
L'ashwagandha is a plant known as "adaptogenicbecause it acts on almost all of our body's systems to help maintain its health. homeostasis (balance).
Its active ingredients help toincrease the body's resistance to stressful situations andimprove its defense mechanisms against stress, whether physical, psychological or emotional.
In fact, according to numerous scientific studies, regular consumption of this adaptogen plant promotes the relaxation, balance emotional balancethe physical and mental well-being.
Ashwagandha brings a state of general balance, thanks in particular to its regulating blood cortisol levels.
The cortisolalso known as "stress hormoneis naturally secreted by the adrenal glands and is essential to the body's functioning.
But when this hormone is produced in too muchit leads to deleterious effects on our organism, which can be seen clinically in the form of, among other things fatiguefatigue repeated infections (reduced immunity), weight gain and altered sleep patterns.
Certain bioactive compounds inashwagandha root are said to be able to lower cortisol levels levels in the body (which are themselves increased by stress). It would therefore prevent and limit physical and psychological consequences of chronic stress on the body.
Ashwagandha also helps to calming the central nervous system by regulating the production of certain neurotransmitters associated with calmand relaxation and serenity : GABA and serotonin.
In short, taking an ashwagandha-based dietary supplement strengthens the body, helps it fight stress and anxiety, and promotes calmness and zenitude.
Powerful antioxidant properties
The richness of ashwagandha extracts at tannins and flavonoids makes this plant a powerful natural antioxidant! In fact, its consumption contributes to protection all the body's cells against the harmful effects of the damaging effects of free radicals or "oxidative stress".
These antioxidant properties help, among other things, to protect neuronsand strengthen cognitive abilities, d'improve concentration and memoryof slow down skin ageing ageing and maintain beautiful skin!
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
The widespread use of Indian ginseng in Ayurvedic medicine is due in large part to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties and and analgesic properties.
This ancestral plant is used as anti-inflammatory treatment and pain relief in certain chronic diseases such as arthritiswhich is as effective as conventional anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the gastric side effects!
Improved cognitive abilities
Regular consumption of ashwagandha leads to a significant increase in cognitive abilities such as concentration, attention, speed of information processing and memory.
These positive effects of ashwagandha on cerebral performance are due, among other things, to its high content of withanolides, sitoindosides, tannins and flavonoids which protect cerebral nerve cells from oxidation and inflammation.
A regular course of treatment with this plant may also prevent the development or slow the progression of certain diseases. diseases neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease (neuroprotective properties).
Improved sleep quality
The scientific name of ashwagandha is Withania somnifera : "somnifera meaning "sleep-inducing.
In fact, this Indian plant has an action similar to that of melatonin or "sleep hormone. It promotes state of relaxation and and soothing helps you fall asleep and sleep restorative.
According to research, consuming ashwagandha before going to sleep reduces the time it takes to fall asleep (hypnotic effect), increases duration and quality of sleep.
This plant is therefore recommended for people suffering from certain conditions. sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleepand night-time awakenings and insomnia.
Anti-cancer (anti-tumor) action
According to some studies, including one published in 2007 in the journal Clinical Cancer Researchashwagandha extract is said to have anti-cancer properties properties thanks to one of its bioactive compounds withaferin A. The latter is in fact capable of inhibit the development of cancer cells and reduce the risk of metastasis by blocking certain tumour proteins.
Consumption of ashwagandha leaves can therefore fight certain cancers thanks to its natural anti-tumor properties, particularly breast cancer, according to the results of a published in 2021.
Enhanced performance for athletes
Ashwagandha-based dietary supplements are widely used by athletes athletes. According to research, this plant has positive effects on sports performance such as increased muscular strengthand explosivenessof endurance cardio-respiratory and concentration.
Consuming ashwagandha also increases the production of testosteronea sex hormone that promotes intake of mass and muscular strength. Ideal for both amateur and professional bodybuilders!
Ashwagandha can also be taken after physical training, at the end of the day or before bedtime, to help the body regain its energy. recoveryimprove sleep quality (which is essential for good recovery in athletes) and recharge your batteries!
Increased fertility in men
Carrying out ashwagandha cures stimulates libido and increases the production of sex hormones. This plant is therefore particularly recommended for men suffering from reduced sexual desiresexual erectile dysfunction (impotence) or premature ejaculation.
It thus helps toimprove sex life for many men, including at increasing libido (aphrodisiac virtues), at improving erection and by increasing duration of sexual intercourse.
Ashwagandha is also beneficial in certain cases ofmale infertility by increasing the sperm production and improving sperm quality.
In addition adaptogenic benefits of ashwagandha also have a positive beneficial effect on sexuality. By reducing stress, anxiety and nervousness, ashwagandha promotes an state of calm and letting go conducive to sexual intercourse.
Benefits for the digestive system
Ashwagandha is renowned for its hepatoprotective effectIt protects the liver, repairs liver damage and helps with withdrawal of certain hepatotoxic substances such as alcohol and drugs.
It is also indicated in the treatment of certain cases of ulcers gastric ulcer or gastro-duodenal thanks to its anti-inflammatory no harmful effects on the stomach (unlike conventional anti-inflammatories, which cause gastric lesions).
In addition, this plant is able to regulate intestinal transit and improve digestive comfort. However, in case of overdosethe opposite is true! In fact, high doses of ashwagandha can lead to digestive disorders moderate such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach ache, nausea or vomiting.
Other interesting effects
Visit other virtues and benefits of ashwagandha :
- Antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal action;
- Improves symptoms of depression;
- Combats the formation of urate crystals in gout;
- Anti-rheumatic properties;
- Stimulates thyroid activity in hypothyroidism;
- Increases blood and hemoglobin production;
- Interesting antiviral activity against COVID-19;
- Liver protection (hepatoprotection);
- Heart protection (cardioprotection);
- Reduction of hyperglycemia (hypoglycemic effect).
Ashwagandha: what are its side effects?
Consumption of ashwagandha in recommended doses does not almost no side effectswith the exception of a few reported cases of mild intestinal disorders (mild diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting...) in some people.
In case of overdosecertain active ingredients may cause nervous system dysfunction by increasing neurotransmitter activity GABA.
This can lead to reduced alertnessa longer reflex time (slow reflex) and transient motor impairmentThis can be dangerous in certain situations (driving a car, handling dangerous machinery, etc.).
It is therefore recommended to consume this plant in the recommended dosagepreferably in the evening starting with low doses.
Indian ginseng: contraindications
Consumption of ashwagandha is contraindicated in :
- Pregnant and breast-feeding women;
- Children under 12 years of age;
- People suffering from autoimmune diseases;
- People allergic to any of the plant's compounds;
- People with hyperthyroidism (ashwagandha stimulates thyroid activity).
In case of doubt, it is advisable to seek advice from a health professional before taking ashwagandha.
These are the key points about ashwagandha:
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen plant native to India;
- It promotes relaxation, calmness and general well-being;
- It helps reduce the effects of stress on body and mind;
- Combats inflammation and oxidative stress;
- It improves sleep and fights insomnia;
- Fortifies, increases energy and combats chronic fatigue;
- Improves fertility and stimulates libido;
- Increases physical and cognitive performance;
- Helps fight certain cancers;
- There are virtually no side effects.