For sleep disorders and inner restlessness, there is a miracle cure in Ayurveda: Ashwagandha. The herb reduces stress and helps you to gain more strength and energy. In Ayurvedic medicine, it has, therefore, a long tradition and is used against all kinds of complaints. What Ashwagandha is, how it works, and how to take it, you can learn here.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a plant that grows mainly in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan as a small shrub with red berries. The name comes from Sanskrit and means something like the “smell of the horse.” Why the herb got this somewhat unfavorable name is not entirely clear. But maybe the name comes from the fact that the plant is supposed to awaken strength. After all, the horse is symbolic of strength and vitality.
Because it has such a positive effect on sleep behavior, the plant is known in this country under sleeping berry. Occasionally, however, it is also known as the winter cherry or Indian ginseng. In Ayurvedic medicine, the plant has been known for over three millennia and is used to cure a wide variety of ailments.
The positive effect of the medicinal herb has not least to do with its ingredients. The active ingredients are contained in the leaves but in even higher concentrations in the root of the Ashwagandha. The essential elements of the plant are:
- Fatty acids
- Amino acids
The effect of Ashwagandha
In Ayurveda, the plant is often considered a “miracle berry” because it can be used in so many ways. Primarily the herb is used to balance stress and associated typical Vata disorders.
If the Vata-Dosha is increased by physical and mental stress, we feel this in the form of worries, fears, and sleep disturbances. But digestive problems, muscle aches, twitching, or emotional upsets can also become noticeable. So if you feel an increased Vata-Dosha, feel restless, or have trouble sleeping, then watch out! We will show you what this plant can do!
Better sleep and more strength
Ashwagandha brings both inner peace and energy to the body and mind. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is indeed connected. Because as soon as your restless mind relaxes a little, your sleep quality improves. You slip more easily into sleep, and the deep sleep phases are extended. The result: the next morning, you get up more rested and with more energy.
It is not without reason that the plant is also called sleeping berry, and in Ayurvedic medicine, it is mostly used for sleep disorders. However, when you are fully rested, it has many more positive effects. Because it also increases performance, memory, and concentration. The herb thus sharpens your mind, and you can work more concentrated.
The emotions are balanced.
Ashwagandha can bring healing to general restlessness, fears, and nervousness. It calms the nerves, and your uneasy feelings will slowly come back into balance. Tensions begin to dissolve, and you find your center again. If taken regularly, the body learns to cope better with stress, and you become more calm and peaceful.
The digestion is calmed down.
Tension and stress all too often also affect the stomach. If the Vata-Dosha is increased, you will feel this imbalance in flatulence, constipation, or nausea. However, the herb can help you to soothe the Vata-Dosha again and relieve the digestive problems. In this way, you and your digestive tract will be well.
Ashwagandha and potency
In Ayurveda, the plant also has a tradition as an aphrodisiac and is even said to increase potency. While it is said to help men in this respect, it can also affect women. For example, it can help to increase libido and lead to more sexual fulfillment. Therefore, it can’t hurt to try Ashwagandha if you have a desire for children.
Losing Weight with Ashwagandha: Is That Possible?
Stress has a significant influence on overweight. When we are under constant tension, our body releases more cortisol, which can cause an increased appetite and even veritable ravenous appetite attacks. How can Ashwagandha help? Now that it reduces stress, the herb prevents the body from producing too much cortisol. The appetite is thus somewhat curbed and remains within the normal range.
Also, the herbal remedy stabilizes our blood sugar level. If the blood sugar level drops too quickly, the body also reacts with an increased hunger feeling. When taking Ashwagandha, however, such hypoglycemia does not occur at all. In this way, the herb can be an excellent dietary supplement for losing weight!
Are there side effects when taking Ashwagandha?
With a regular dosage of Ashwagandha, there are usually no side effects to be expected. However, if you overdo it with the dose, you may experience abdominal pain, nausea, or diarrhea. However, if you stick to the recommended dose, there is no reason for concern!
Pregnant or nursing women are still advised not to take the herb. This is because there have not yet been any studies on this, so it is better to play it safe for now. If you are taking medication, you should also consult a doctor beforehand to ensure no interactions due to the combination with Ashwagandha. Otherwise, it is safe.
Ashwagandha: The Right Dosage and Intake
In this country, the medicinal herb is not listed as a medicine but is considered a food supplement. Therefore, it is freely available in stores and can be easily purchased in capsules or powder. The recommended dose is 300-500 mg per day, ideally divided with meals. However, the onset of the effect of Ashwagandha depends on the way it is taken.
The advantage of ashwagandha capsules is that the dosage is already fixed. Therefore, they are ideal as a starter product because you can’t go wrong with them. The tablets can quickly be taken with a little liquid and are completely tasteless. In most cases, however, the effect only occurs after some time. So for the beginning, you can take the capsules.
The ashwagandha powder is made from the plant’s ground roots and can be used in various ways. Tea is incredibly popular and easy to prepare, but the powder can also be added to yogurts or smoothies. In this way, you benefit from the substance in its pure form and can dose it individually, just as it is right for you!
Ashwagandha recipes: benefit from the effect
It must be said: The taste of ashwagandha powder can take some getting used to because it tastes a little bitter. But don’t worry, it’s all a question of preparation! If you would like to experience the medicinal plant’s effects for yourself, we have two delicious recipes for you here. In this way, taking it becomes a daily ritual, and on top of that, it tastes delicious.
It has long been known in different cultures: a nice cup of tea helps you fall asleep. If you then add some Ashwagandha, you will get a perfect nightcap!
All you need is:
- One teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- hot water
- Cinnamon or cardamom
- 1 tsp honey or agave syrup
Boil the water and add the powder. Let the tea steep for about 5 minutes. We recommend that you add some cinnamon, cardamom, or a spoonful of honey or agave syrup for the bitter taste. Ashwagandha tea has a calming and hypnotic effect and is even said to have an antibacterial effect. So you will glide into a gentle sleep in the evening.
Everyone knows: A warm milk before bedtime gives you a pleasant, relaxed feeling and lets you relax pleasantly. The so-called Moon Milk also contains Ashwagandha and therefore promotes a healthy and deep sleep all the more. Consequently, it is best to drink the Moon Milk directly before going to bed to prepare your body and mind optimally for going to bed.
For the Moon Milk, you need:
- 200 ml (almond, oat, or another vegetable) milk
- One teaspoon Ashwagandha powder
- 1 tsp honey or agave syrup
- One teaspoon raw cocoa powder
- 1 tsp dried lavender flowers
Warm the milk slowly and stir in all ingredients little by little. Instead of the cocoa powder, you can also use a cinnamon pinch, depending on your taste. If you wish, you can, of course, vary the ingredients – it’s entirely up to you. The important thing is that it tastes good and helps you relax.
Ashwagandha can provide more balance and equilibrium in your life through its positive effects. But don’t forget that Ayurveda is always a holistic approach, and taking the plant alone cannot compensate for an unhealthy lifestyle. In combination with meditation and the right diet, Ashwagandha can make your daily life less stressful and help you find your center again.
Do you know any other recipes made with Ashwagandha? Share this with us in a comment at the bottom of the post!