What is Ashwagandha?
The word “Ashwagandha” means “horse smell” in Sanskrit. This plant is also known as winter cherry or Indian Ginseng is scientifically called Withania somnifera and it belongs to the Solanaceae family. Phenotypically, it looks like a bush with elliptic dull green leaves, small and greenish/lurid yellow, bell-shaped flowers and a globosely orange-reddish fruit, enclosed in a calyx at the center. It’s common in India and Pakistan, right from the west to the Lebanese coast, North Africa and even some locations in the Mediterranean, being found mostly in waste places and bunds.
How does Ashwagandha work?
To list the many uses of Ashwagandha properly, first, we must explain its mechanism of action.
To summarize, there are many active ingredients in the plant which provide a diversity representing a source of interest for the scientists to study and research. The alkaloids on its formula make it both extremely useful and toxic in case of excess.
Inside an Ashwagandha plant, we can find:
- Alkaloids: Of different kinds. To date at least 12 types of alkaloids have been found, we can mention the most important ones: somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, isopelletierine, anaferine, etc.
- Steroid Lactones: Whitanolids, whitaferines.
- Glutathione: A great antioxidant.
- Minerals:such as iron and potassium.
For its diversity of alkaloid and steroid lactones, the plant can create effects in the nervous system as a narcotic, anxiolytic, sedative and analgesic.
Why is Ashwagandha used?
The plant has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. Based on its formula filled with many different chemical compounds that have systemic effects and also specific reactions in the nervous system, people around the globe use it for several affections such as general pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, sleeping problems, depression, etc.
The Benefits of Ashwagandha for Men
We already addressed its general uses for both genders in NS affections. However, this specific plant has specific effects on men that perhaps you didn’t know, until now.
Ashwagandha is compared Asian Ginseng for its stimulant properties and in fact, the name “horse smell” is said to be so, for the promise of the plant into providing the vigor and vitality of a stallion. Nevertheless, through studies in rats, it was shown that there was a central stimulation through neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and hormonal secretion of prolactin which could be negative for male sexual competence.
Not everything is bad though, at minimum doses it has been a good way to increase libido as an aphrodisiac, treat afflictions such as oligospermia (low sperm count) and relax males to enjoy fulfilling sexual activity with their partners as it has a direct effect on cortisone, the stress hormone. Believe it or not, stress plays a big role in male infertility and erectile dysfunction. So, the more he relaxes, the better he’ll be in the bedroom.
Does Ashwagandha increase Testosterone?
According to 3 recent studies, one of them published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports, the use of Ashwagandha increases levels of testosterone. luteinizing hormone (LH) on a least 20%, when used as a supplement (KSM-66).
These levels combined with the augmentation of the libido may contribute greatly not only to maxify sexual performance but also help with other fertility problems.
Dosage of the Ashwagandha (KSM-66):
400 – 650 mg daily
Does Ashwagandha increase Body mass & Muscle?
According to a couple of studies directed by The Journal of The International Society of Sports, that same supplement with high content of Ashwagandha showed results with decrease in the ciphers of cholesterol and blood pressure with improvement in strength and muscle development.
However, these studies were made in regular people so, if you are a professional or fitness enthusiast don’t get your expectations too high, you may not see much of a difference at first. These rates usually are more significant in beginners and average people willing to start an exercise routine and build some muscle.
The Benefits of Ashwagandha for Women
On the bedroom
In women, there are many pluses of using the plant. For instance, some sexual encounters can be quite uncomfortable for lack of lubrication during the act. This can be caused by several factors and of course, seek medical attention in case of chronic painful or unsatisfactory intercourse is advised. Still, stress is one of the biggest enemies for a happy ending in bed as it prevents you from focusing on the moment and liberating the sufficient amount of endorphins and even oxytocin to enjoy an orgasm!
The plant may increase blood flow in the area helping to lubricate and increase sensibility while also helping your libido through inhibiting cortisol inhibition and the liberation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters.
The immune system may be compromised under the influence of chronic stress. During stressful situations, our bodies are more susceptible to catching diseases. Ashwagandha improves this by reducing stress levels and releasing other neurotransmitters, you’ll feel better and hopefully, you won’t get sick as frequently as you would if you were stressed.
Menstrual Cycle & Fertility
Women’s menstrual cycle tends to go on a rail when they are stressed. Progesterone, estrogen and fertility hormones don’t go well with the high amount of cortisol. For that reason, the moment we experience strong emotions, the moment our periods go missing. With this plant you’ll see that the cycle will go back to normal and maybe with some improvements on the libido that this natural remedy offers as well, you can receive a new family member.
How can we take Ashwagandha?
This plant comes mostly in powder for supplements; there are also pills in case you want to try them. Still, if you are one of those who loves DIY recipes, you can mix the powder with whatever you like! Tea, coffee, smoothie or shake, it doesn’t matter. You simply add the powder, mix it and drink.
Ashwagandha for Couples
A study in rats showed that by administering a dose of 3000 mg/kg/day for 7 days, the sexual behavior in both genders seems to increase improving the receptivity of females to paring with males, nonetheless, it was also shown that it caused erectile dysfunction in males that disappeared when the treatment ceased.
Are there any side effects of using Ashwagandha?
Given the fact that this plant contains a considerable amount of alkaloids, its usage must be treated with strict caution since it may react with other drugs and worsen the clinic of several chronic diseases. Extremely allergic people should avoid consuming the plant as all cost.
This plant should NOT be used in:
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Kids younger than 12 years old
- Patients with hyperthyroidism
- People with treatment for depression (using antidepressants such as clonazepam, zolpidem, etc)
- Patients with hypertension
- People with Renal Insufficiency
- People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Gastrointestinal Affections
Final Statements: Theory vs Facts
While the list of benefits is really attractive and in this case, there are several studies to review the efficacy of this plant, we can’t believe everything at first sight.
Our advice, in this case, is to proceed with caution; substances that intervene in the nervous system can be really dangerous if used
To make sure we are judging everything appropriately and objectively, we must stick to the facts and trust only in scientific research and medical/serious reports as valid sources of information, rumors and personal reviews are important to see the social effect of these recipes and products. Nonetheless, research is still the most valid information to check and form our own conclusions.
- Statement 1: It cures impotence.
Verdict: There are no conclusive results to prove this. Although there are people stating that it worked for them and it’s just like Asian Ginseng, we can’t be 100% sure.
Reactions may change from one person to the other so we must be very careful and not believe everything we read online
Conclusion: In a more general standard it does make sense that it could help with impotence when it’s based on stress and not in a chronic disease like type II Diabetes, LES, hypertension, and vascular disease.
- Statement 2: It improves the regulating our reproductive system (women)
Answer: True. There are some studies that explain this with more detail. Still, the sentiment is the same, stress= problems and if you attack stress, some hormonal levels are going to go back to normal.
Conclusion: Even when there’s evidence, more research needs to be done. It would be really interesting to see an article about depression and anxiety treated with the plant and compare works to see what’s effective and what’s not.
- Statement 3: This helps you to focus.
Final word: Most likely true. There’s evidence for this information is really mixed. For instance, during a study has been shown that improves the level of attention for some time and deals with anxiety while in other, Ashwagandha may cause erectile dysfunction
Conclusion: This is thanks to the action of alkaloids since most of the active ingredient present of its formula comes from the alkaloid. What we do advice is to NEVER mix your pills with other drugs such as tetracycline’s, strong antidepressants, diabetes treatment, etc.
Alkaloids have strong interactions with other drugs and may produce big side effects such as dizziness, headache, and syncope.
The final conclusion to you: Truth is, you can try it on at home. Do it with caution, though.
Don’t use it for a long time (since most plants are absorbed and metabolized in the liver and kidney)
Truth is, you don’t know how were the process of manufacture, and also the studies & regulations about the plant that needs to be explored further.
Using it without supervision and in high doses may cause you to develop chronic hepatitis or something even worse. The excess of these natural components may cause hepatic and renal dysfunction
Does the recipe work or not? It’s very possible and it’s most definitely worth a try. In the end, it’s up to you to decide as a reader, we just inform you about all the possible outcomes you may find. Dare to try another DIY recipe, with absolutely nothing to lose.
The truth is out there, all you need to do is open your eyes and look for it.