6 reasons to try adaptogen
Ashwagandha is a versatile herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for millennia to treat a wide range of medical conditions.
Also known as Indian ginseng, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen because it is believed to help the body adapt and deal with stress.
And the weed is now making waves among today’s health-conscious people, as it’s touted as the ultimate cure for 21st century living.
What are the benefits of ashwagandha for men and should you try this non-toxic herb?
What is Ashwagandha?
Dr. Jess Braid, a qualified physician and co-founder of the online health platform Adio, describes this root as “a wonderful and rejuvenating Ayurvedic herb”.
She said Newsweek“Safe, gentle and potent, it is one of the most commonly used herbs by medical herbalists today.
“Why? Because, like us, they find it works! I find it to be a wonderful restorative and strengthening agent and have seen its benefits in hypothyroid patients.
“In my experience, it works slowly over weeks or months and is best taken daily.”
This sentiment is shared by Kai Ali, Pharmaceutical Scientist and Head of Formulation at Super Botanic.
He said Newsweek“Ashwagandha roots contain several withanolides with diverse pharmacological activities.
“Some of these withanolides have been studied along with their synthetic analogs in over 200 documented medical studies that have investigated the benefits of the herb Ashwagandha.”
What are the benefits of Ashwagandha for men?
“Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “horse smell”, which refers to both the distinct smell of the herb and its anecdotal ability to increase strength, has been used by men for thousands of years. years for a variety of other apparent health benefits.
Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress. It is classified as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body deal with stress.
Grayson Hart, founder of the online wellness site Pure Sport, suggests that one of the best-known possible effects of ashwagandha is its ability to “help reduce levels of anxiety and stress.”
He said Newsweek“Studies have shown that ashwagandha is able to control stress mediators such as cortisol, Hsp70 and JNK-1.
“Another factor that contributes to ashwagandha’s ability to regulate stress is that it reduces the activity of the HPA axis, which is another system responsible for regulating stress responses.”
Researchers continue to study the effectiveness of ashwagandha in improving muscle strength and size, with one study finding that participants experienced increases in speed and strength.
Sebastian Pole, herbalist and co-founder of Pukka Herbs, said Newsweek: “Athletes and bodybuilders may find ashwagandha useful in their healthy diets.”
Kai Ali seems to agree, adding, “Ashwagandha root extract is valued for its ability to increase vitality, energy and cardio endurance.
“Ashwagandha increases energy by improving your body’s resistance to physical and mental stress.”
Clinical studies seem to suggest that ashwagandha helps lower blood sugar and triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the blood.
Kai Ali said: “This Ayurvedic ginseng can also help reduce high blood pressure, its ability to reduce anxiety and stress and promote deep, restful sleep is primarily responsible for this.
“In a study of adults with long-term (chronic) stress, Ashwagandha reduced levels of the hormone cortisol for 60 days, with a higher dose (250 mg of Ashwagandha twice daily) reducing circulating cortisol levels by 30.5%, compared to a 14.5% reduction at a lower dose (125 mg of Ashwagandha daily) and a 4.4% increase in those on placebo.
“At the same time, blood pressure improved by 1.6/5.6 mmHg in those receiving the low dose and by 3.3/6.4 mmHg in those receiving the higher dose, while Blood pressure readings in those on placebo increased.”
Ashwagandha can also help improve cognition, memory, and the ability to perform motor responses after instruction.
Ali said: “Ashwagandha is also known for its ability to boost memory and cognition and to protect brain health.
“It regulates neurotransmitters and receptors involved in memory function and also protects brain health from neurodegenerative disorders and stress.
“In one study, 50 healthy adults over the age of 35 showed immediate improvement in general memory, spatial extent was significantly improved.”
Scientists continue to investigate the supposed effectiveness of ashwagandha in improving sleep quality.
Ali said: “Clinical studies have shown that Ashwagandha can help people fall asleep faster, spend more time sleeping, and experience better quality sleep.
“There are many reasons Ashwagandha may be responsible for promoting good sleep. Researchers have proposed that the naturally occurring triethylene glycol15 in the herb helps promote sleepiness. ‘Ashwagandha has GABA16 receptors that help manage our sleep cycle.
“In a clinical study, patients with insomnia were given a dose of 300 mg of Ashwagandha extract twice daily.
“The results showed a much shorter time to fall asleep, improved sleep efficiency, and a significant improvement in sleep quality.”
Ashwagandha may well offer reproductive benefits for men, as administration of ashwagandha to infertile men has been shown to significantly improve sperm quality by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels.
Grayson Hart said: “There have been many studies on the effects ashwagandha may have on men, including its ability to increase male fertility as well as the amount of testosterone they have.
“A study showed that overweight men between the ages of 40 and 70 who took ashwagandha had increased testosterone compared to those who took placebos.
“It has also been shown to increase sperm count in men with low fertility, but other studies in this review mentioned that it may also increase sperm count in men with normal fertility.
“Unfortunately, the scientists also said that better quality studies are needed to determine whether the results measure up to poor testing methods or not.”
How to take the supplement
Ashwagandha roots and berries can be consumed for their medicinal properties, but these days they are more commonly supplied in supplement capsule form or in powder, tincture, and tea form.
Dr. Braid suggests starting with an ashwagandha tea as a way to gently introduce it into diets and help keep you hydrated, which is essential for overall health.
She said: “You can add 1 teaspoon of sliced dried ashwagandha root to soups or add 1 teaspoon of the powder to a cup of hot water and drink it as a tea.
“Ashwagandha milk is made by adding one or two teaspoons of powder to two cups of milk, along with eight teaspoons of cardamom and half a teaspoon of cinnamon.
“Heat the milk gently in a saucepan for 15 minutes, before adding honey to taste. This can be drunk daily.”
Is Ashwagandha Safe?
Ashwagandha is very safe and therefore widely used and well tolerated with no known toxicity and very few side effects.
However, there are a few factors to be aware of before you start taking it.
Dr Braid said: “It is not recommended for people with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) as it may stimulate thyroid function.
“For patients taking digoxin, there is some evidence that it may interfere with the test that detects blood levels of digoxin, giving a false result.
“Animal studies show no signs of toxicity when used during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor or herbalist before taking any natural carriers during pregnancy.”