Ashwagandha: effect and application in Ayurveda

Spices Ayurveda

Ayurveda has a miracle cure for insomnia and inner restlessness : Ashwagandha. The herb has a stress-reducing effect and helps you gain more strength and energy. It has a long tradition in Ayurvedic medicine and is used to treat all kinds of ailments. Here you can find out exactly what ashwagandha is, how it works and how to take it.

What is Ashwagandha?

Spices Ayurveda
When Ashwagandha is mentioned, it is usually about the roots of the plant.

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 "smell of the horse". Why the herb was given this somewhat unflattering name is not entirely clear. But perhaps the name simply comes from the fact that the plant is supposed to awaken strength. After all, the horse symbolises strength and vitality.

Because it has such a positive effect on sleep patterns, the plant is known in this country as the sleeping berry. Occasionally, however, it is also called winter cherry or Indian ginseng. In Ayurvedic medicine, the plant has been known for over 3 millennia and is used to heal a wide variety of ailments.

Ashwagandha Ingredients

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 concentration in the root of the ashwagandha. The most important ingredients of the plant are:

  • Alkaolide
  • Withanolide
  • Choline
  • Fatty acids
  • Amino acids

The effect of ashwagandha

The plant is often considered a "miracle berry" in Ayurveda because it can be used in so many ways. First and foremost, the herb is used to balance stress and the typical Vata disturbances that accompany it.

Ashwagandha helps to balance the Vata dosha.

If the Vata dosha is increased due to physical and mental stress, we feel this in the form of worries, fears and sleep disorders. But digestive problems, muscle complaints, twitching or emotional upsets can also become noticeable. So if you feel an increased Vata dosha, feel restless or sleep badly, then watch out! We show you what this plant can do!

Better sleep and more strength

Ashwagandha brings both inner peace and energy for body and mind. This may sound like a contradiction, but it is actually connected. Because as soon as your restless mind relaxes a little, the quality of your sleep improves. You drift off to sleep more easily and the deep sleep phases are prolonged. The result: the next morning you get up more rested and with more energy.

After all, it is not without reason that the plant is also called a sleeping berry and is usually administered in Ayurvedic medicine for sleep disorders. When you are well rested, however, it has many other positive effects. It also improves performance, memory and concentration. The herb sharpens your mind and you can work more concentrated.

Woman sleeps
Sleep in, sleep through and sleep out better thanks to Ashwagandha.

The emotions are balanced.

Ashwagandha can bring healing to general states of restlessness, anxiety and nervousness . It calms the nerves and your agitated feelings slowly regain their balance. Tensions begin to dissolve and you find your centre again. When taken regularly, the body learns to cope better with stress and you become more calm and peaceful inside.

The digestion is calmed.

All too often, tension and stress also affect the stomach. If the Vata dosha is elevated, this imbalance can be felt in flatulence, constipation or nausea. However, the herb can help you to calm the Vata dosha and alleviate digestive complaints. This way you and your digestive tract will be fine.

Ashwagandha and potency

The plant also has a tradition in Ayurveda as an aphrodisiac and is even said to be potency-enhancing. While it is supposed to help men in particular in this respect, it can also have quite an effect on women. For example, it can help to increase libido and lead to more sexual fulfilment. So it can't hurt to try ashwagandha if you want to have children, can it?

Lose weight with ashwagandha: is it possible?

Stress has a major influence on obesity. Especially when we are under constant tension, our body releases more cortisol, which can cause an increased appetite and even real food cravings. How can ashwagandha help against this? Well, because it is stress-reducing, the herb stops the body from producing too much cortisol. Appetite is thus somewhat curbed and remains within the normal range.

In addition, the herbal remedy stabilises our blood sugar level. If the blood sugar level drops too quickly, the body also reacts with an increased feeling of hunger. When taking ashwagandha, however, such a hypoglycaemia does not occur in the first place. In this way , the herb can actually be a good dietary supplement for losing weight!

Are there any side effects when taking Ashwagandha?

With a normal dosage of ashwagandha, side effects are usually not to be expected. However, if you overdo it with the dose, abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhoea may be the result. But if you stick to the recommended dose, there is no reason to worry!

Ashwagandha should not be taken during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

But: Pregnant or breastfeeding women are still advised not to take the herb. The reason for this is that there are no studies on it yet, so it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are taking medication, you should also consult a doctor beforehand so that the combination with ashwagandha does not lead to interactions. Otherwise, however, it is absolutely safe.

Ashwagandha: the correct dosage and intake

In this country, the medicinal herb is not listed as a medicine, but is considered a food supplement. Thus, it is freely available in the trade and can simply be bought in the form of capsules or powder. The recommended dose is 300-500 mg per day, ideally taken with meals. However, the onset of action of ashwagandha depends on how it is taken.

Capsules

The advantage of ashwagandha capsules is that the dosage is already fixed. This makes them ideal for beginners , because you can't go wrong with them. The capsules can simply be taken with a little liquid and are completely tasteless. However, the effect usually only takes effect after some time. So for the beginning, you can just take the capsules.

With ashwagandha you have a choice: capsules or powder?

Powder

Ashwagandha powder is made from the ground roots of the plant and can be used in various ways. A tea is particularly popular and easy to prepare, but the powder can also be added to yoghurts or smoothies. In this way, you benefit from the substance in its pure form and can dose it individually, just as it is good for you!

Ashwagandha recipes: benefit from the effect

To be honest, it has to 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 matter of preparation! If you would like to experience the effect of the healing plant yourself, we have two delicious recipes for you here. This way, taking it becomes a daily ritual and tastes delicious to boot.

Ashwagandha tea

It has long been known in various cultures: a nice cup of tea helps you fall asleep. If you then add some ashwagandha, you get a particularly effective nightcap!

Prepare a delicious pot of ashwagandha tea.

You need for it:

1 tsp 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. To counteract the bitter taste, we recommend adding a little cinnamon, cardamom or a spoonful of honey or agave syrup. Ashwagandha tea has a calming and soporific effect and is even said to have an antibacterial effect. In this way, you can relax and drift off to a gentle sleep in the evening.

Moon Milk

Everyone knows that a warm milk before going to bed gives you a pleasantly relaxed feeling and lets you rest comfortably. The so-called Moon Milk also contains ashwagandha and therefore promotes a healthy and deep sleep even more. It is best to drink the Moon Milk directly before going to bed to prepare your body and mind for bedtime.

You need for it:

200 ml (almond, oat or other vegetable) milk
1 tsp ashwagandha powder
1 tsp honey or agave syrup
1 tsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp dried lavender flowers

Cup of coffee
The strengthening Moon Milk is prepared from ashwagandha powder, milk, cocoa powder, honey and lavender.

Slowlyheat the milk and gradually stir in all the ingredients. Instead of cocoa powder, you can simply use a pinch of cinnamon, depending on your taste. If you like, 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. However, in combination with meditation and the right diet, Ashwagandha can provide a stress-free everyday life and help you to find your centre again.

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