What is Ashwagandha?
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient medicinal sciences. And one of its miracles is Ashwagandha. It offers myriads of health benefits to humans. You might have heard about its role in preventing and curing a variety of health conditions. So, what exactly this herb is? Can you consume it to get these health benefits? How to consume ashwagandha?
Here are the answers to all of these questions:
Ashwagandha aka Indian ginseng or Winter Cherry is an Ayurvedic herb. It is known as “Sattvic Kapha Rasayana” in Ayurvedic terminologies. Its medicinal applications can be dated back millennia. Almost all the parts of Ashwagandha right from the roots, branches, and flower to leaves can be used as medicine. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that might aid in relieving the symptoms of stress and anxiety (1). The herb is known to have anabolic effects on the body that in turn might help to improve exercise performance (2). Evidence shows that Ashwagandha might also have anti-ageing benefits, prevent gastric ulcers, improve fertility and sex drive, and many such benefits (3).
Different forms of Ashwagandha for Consumption
Three main forms of ashwagandha available in the market are capsules, tablets, and churna (ashwagandha root powder). Apart from these, ashwagandha extracts and oils also make an appearance on the market shelves. There are a couple of food products like ashwagandha milk, chocolates, and laddoos coming up in the market too! While consuming such products the quantity of ashwagandha in their constitution needs to be taken into account.
How to consume?
Mixing ashwagandha root powder with ghee or warm milk is a well-known consumption method for the herb. Usually, it can be consumed at any time of the day. Here are more details on how you can take ashwagandha or its products to get the health benefits.
1. Ashwagandha Churna or Powder
Ashwagandha root powders or churnas are used to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and stress, balance blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (4).
How to consume ashwagandha churna?
- Boil ½ - ¼ teaspoon of ashwagandha churna or powder with water and add a pinch of dry ginger powder, a teaspoon of honey and drink the tea. It might help you relax your mind
- Adding the same amount of powder to ghee, sugar, and honey and consuming it twice a day might also aid in improving sperm quality.
- Simply mixing the same quantity of ashwagandha powder to warm milk and consuming it before going to bed might improve your sleep quality.
Making an ashwagandha milkshake can also be an answer to how to consume ashwagandha churna or powder? Here is the recipe to make it:
- Prepare the ashwagandha mixture: Add 1 part of ashwagandha to 4 parts of ghee. For instance, mix 4 tablespoons of ashwagandha with 1 cup of ghee. Add some honey (a teaspoon or two).
- Making the milkshake: Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to a glass of cold milk, blend it, and drink it without delay!
You can have an ashwagandha milkshake early in the morning or at night.
Preparing ashwagandha laddoo is another way how you can include ashwagandha churna in your routine. Here’s the recipe:
- Mix 2 parts of ashwagandha churna/ powder with 1 part of jaggery.
- Add a pinch of salt and spices of your choice
- Knead the mixture well and prepare laddoos
Note: These laddoos can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 4 days
2. Ashwagandha Capsules
Ashwagandha capsules come in many formulations. They can range from 250-500mg per capsule. So, how to decide the quantity for consuming ashwagandha capsules? Ideally, two capsules (500mg) per day with warm milk or water post-meals is enough to get the health benefits. However, you can consult your physician for increasing the dosage.
3. Ashwagandha Tablets
Ashwagandha tablets are also available in different formulations. They make it easier to consume ashwagandha on a daily basis. So, how do take these ashwagandha tablets? Consuming ashwagandha tablets twice a day post-meal with warm milk or water can render you all the health benefits of ashwagandha. If your doctor has prescribed you a specific dosage of these tablets, you should align the dosage with the prescription.
4. Ashwagandha Ghee
Ashwagandha ghee can be used as a revitalizing tonic for children and kids. Apart from supporting healthy sleep, consuming ashwagandha ghee might also help you with improving lung functions. Consuming 1 tablespoon of ashwagandha ghee with warm water or milk is advisable for children as well as adults. Roasting a tablespoon of date sugar in an ounce of ashwagandha ghee and consuming it 20 minutes before breakfast might also help to reduce your sweet cravings (5). Consuming ashwagandha ghee with some sugar and honey might also reduce fatigue, improve semen quality and enhance the sex drive.
5. Ashwagandha Tea
Ashwagandha tea is not so famous when it comes to herbal teas. But it contains ashwagandha extract that might help you reduce your stress and anxiety levels and improve your sleep quality. A tablespoon of ashwagandha tea leaves brewed in a glass of hot water makes a soothing, stress-relieving beverage.
Things to Remember before Consumption
Although ashwagandha has a variety of health benefits, you need to be cautious while consuming it. Here are some tips listed for the same:
- Consult a doctor before taking ashwagandha if you are suffering from peptic ulcers as ashwagandha might cause gastrointestinal disturbances.
- Avoiding ashwagandha during breastfeeding is advisable due to lesser evidence available in this area.
- Do not pair up Ashwagandha with sedatives (if you consume them to cure insomnia or other such conditions)
- Monitor blood glucose levels as well as blood pressure when you are taking ashwagandha as it might lower these levels.
- Avoid consuming alcohol along with ashwagandha as it might cause excessive sleepiness.
- Lastly, it is always better to consult a doctor before going for ashwagandha supplementation to ensure that you don’t get any side effects.
About The Author
Disha Doshi is an expert nutritionist with a post-graduation degree specializing in nutrigenomics along with nutrition and dietetics. She has worked with multiple organizations in her career and has a diverse background in life sciences and healthcare. With an additional flair for writing, Ms Disha comprises a perfect mix for an ideal healthcare marketing professional. While having worked on weight loss, endocrine disorders, cardiac disorders, and other lifestyle issues, she also has steady experience in biochemistry and molecular biology disciplines. Apart from that, she has also worked on balancing the human gut microbiome with diet, nutrigenomic dietary practices, and corporate nutrition. With a keen interest in Ayurveda, she is also engaged in linking the age-old Ayurvedic practices with modern dietary practices.