Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, which is a traditional form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.

People have used ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.

“Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to both the herb’s scent and its potential ability to increase strength.

What are the health benefits of ashwagandha?
• boosting athletic performance
• improving memory
• improving sleep
• increasing male fertility
• managing blood sugar
• reducing inflammation
• reducing stress

Is it OK to take ashwagandha every day?
The effects of ashwagandha will take time to appear, so a healthcare professional may recommend taking one dose daily. However, the long-term effects are unknown, and experts only recommend using it for up to 3 months.

Who should not take ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha may not be safe:
• during pregnancy
• if you are about to have surgery
• if you are taking benzodiazepines or other medications
• if you have liver problems
• if you have prostate cancer, thyroid problems, or an autoimmune condition
• while breastfeeding

Always check with a healthcare professional before using ashwagandha.

The bottom line
Ashwaganda is an ancient medicinal herb with various possible health benefits. Study findings suggest that it may help reduce anxiety and stress, support restful sleep, and even improve cognitive functioning in certain populations.

Ashwagandha is likely safe for most people in the short term. However, it’s not appropriate for everyone, so it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before adding ashwagandha to your routine.

Download the full issue of the September-October 2023 Healthy Options News Digest here.

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