September 20, 2022 · Written by Foodtolive Team

Ashwagandha – a trendy herb and why it is so special!

Ashwagandha – a trendy herb and why it is so special!
* This product does not cure or prevent any diseases

Natural remedies have recently gained huge popularity as more and more people become aware of valuable health benefits of herbs. With that in mind, in this blog we will explore the truth behind the wonders of one ancient medicinal herb called Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha Origin

Also known as Indian ginseng (or Indian Winter Cherry), with the botanical name Withania somnifera, the Ashwagandha herb is an evergreen shrub native to India but also grown in Africa. It has become one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda – a traditional form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing. [1]

 

Ashwagandha herb

Health Benefits

Ashwagandha is packed with amino acids, phytosterols (balance your hormones), withanolides (with tonic effect & antidepressant properties), and oligosaccharides (with properties of dietary fiber).

Ashwagandha reduces stress, stabilizes insulin and blood sugar levels, boosts immunity, and increases stamina. It can also be useful for people experiencing depression. Not only is Ashwagandha effective for stress resistance but also for protecting the brain from cellular degeneration which can lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Because Ashwagandha contains powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals which cause aging, it’s extremely helpful in promoting healthy functioning of the brain.

Besides, Ashwagandha herb contains phenolic compounds, including flavonoids, which provide antidiabetic effects. If that isn’t impressive, keep reading!

Ashwagandha works as an adaptogen, reducing stress hormones in the body, which in return improve the immune system and reduce inflammation. Due to its stimulating effects on the brain, Ashwagandha has been shown to improve concentration, motivation, and endurance in workouts.

Ashwagandha Chemical Composition

The biologically active chemical components of Ashwagandha root include alkaloids (present with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, pain-relieving activities), steroidal lactones (present with mood elevating and memory enhancing activities), and saponins (present with antioxidant and cholesterol-lowering activities). To get even more scientific – the main anti-stress agents in this herb are sitoindosides and acylsterylglucosides. Previous studies have shown that these agents present with stress-reducing activity against acute experimental stress [2], thus proving that Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are natural substances which help our bodies adapt to stress and promote homeostasis.

 

Ashwagandha – a trendy herb and why it is so special!

Types of Ashwagandha & How it is Made

On the current market you can find Ashwagandha in various forms: Ashwagandha gummies, Ashwagandha capsules, Ashwagandha powder, Ashwagandha tea, Ashwagandha tincture, melatonin Ashwagandha, and more. Organic (or conventional) Ashwagandha root goes through several manufacturing processes before it reaches the store shelf. Process begins with the extraction of roots from the shrub, which are then pulverized into Ashwagandha root powder. To separate the root powder from other residues, cold extraction and filtration are performed. A polar solvent is used to separate the required root powder from other elements. The remaining mixture goes under yet another filtration process and then gets centrifuged to make it even purer. As the extracted product is isolated, it is collected into a separate vessel which concentrates it even further. [5]

To acquire a powdered form, Ashwagandha extract is then dried out (the drying method differs among manufacturers). The powder is ground again to a fine consistency.

Best Ashwagandha product? You decide!

 

Ashwagandha powder

Ashwagandha powder – is the purest and most versatile form of this herb, as it is the base for almost all Ashwagandha products on the market. Moreover, with the powder you can experiment in the kitchen! Add it to your baked goodies, smoothies, desserts, and a variety of hot and cold beverages. Make your own de-stress gummies at home and save on overpriced dietary supplements.

 

Ashwagandha gummies

Ashwagandha gummies – contain 750 mg of concentrated Ashwagandha with added Vitamin D and Zinc that help keep your sleep and mental health better. These gummies may come in different fruit flavors.

 

Ashwagandha capsules

Ashwagandha capsules – are packed with ashwagandha extract in a powdered form with a specific daily amount. Capsules are easier to consume in comparison with Ashwagandha powder because when capsuled, you can avoid the bitter flavor. Skeptics argue that capsules are typically produced from a synthetic chemical material, so pure organic powdered Ashwagandha is believed to be a better choice indeed.

Ashwagandha tea and tincture – perform the same adaptogenic function by targeting stress. Liquid form would be a perfect fit for tea connoisseurs.

Melatonin ashwagandha – works best if you struggle to sleep due to high stress. A formula combining both would be the best Ashwagandha supplement for you.

Ashwagandha vs. Passionflower

These two herbs are often mixed up due to similar health benefits, however, Ashwagandha and passionflower, are not quite the same in their chemical composition and function. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, whereas passionflower is a nervine. Nervines can enhance the effect of adaptogens if taken simultaneously, that’s why these two herbs are often sold as a mixture.

Ashwagandha for Men

Products containing organic Ashwagandha root are used to increase testosterone levels and improve male fertility. In Asian countries, it is the most popular natural aphrodisiac taken to improve male sexual performance. Besides, Ashwagandha supplements promote rapid growth of muscle mass which is especially effective for those who practice bodybuilding.

Ashwagandha for Women

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is also used as a natural aphrodisiac that can improve sexual dysfunction in women. Studies showed that women who took Ashwagandha root extract showed a significantly stronger increase in libido. This was particularly true of the disturbance in lubrication production and orgasm frequency[4].

 

Ashwagandha – a trendy herb and why it is so special.

Ashwagandha Recommended Daily Intake

Regular Ashwagandha intake may improve the quality of sleep, lower cholesterol, and increase muscle strength. Based on the research published in the Journal of Ayurvedic and Integrative Medicine, Ashwagandha capsules with a gradual increase in the dose from 750 to 1250 mg per day – are well tolerated. Note, however, dosages may vary depending on your needs, so you should always consult with a doctor prior to taking this product, as for some people, as little as 250-500mg per day can also be effective. [5]

Side Effects

The use of Ashwagandha in appropriate doses is considered safe for human consumption. Some possible side effects of Ashwagandha include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, nasal congestion, cough, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. If you notice any of these symptoms, stop taking the herb immediately and consult with a medical professional. Ashwagandha is NOT recommended for children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

 

Ashwagandha – a trendy herb and why it is so special!

Storage

Store Ashwagandha products in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Put it in an airtight container, and keep in a cabinet. Refrigeration is not required unless stated on the packaging.

Where to find True Organic Ashwagandha Powder

We’re happy to announce that Organic Ashwagandha Powder is Food to Live’s latest arrival. If you need to get the strength and energy to sustain yourself throughout the day, try our Organic Indian Ashwagandha Powder. Shopping on our site is super quick and simple. foodtolive.com includes free domestic shipping and the option to buy organic Ashwagandha in bulk.

Delicious Recipes with Ashwagandha Powder

Even though Ashwagandha powder doesn’t taste like honey, its benefits are too ‘sweet’ to ignore. Rather than consuming Ashwagandha powder alone, make it a part of your daily recipe and enjoy its peculiar flavor in combination with other ingredients. Here are some easy recipe ideas:

 

Ashwagandha Moon Milk

Ashwagandha Moon Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup boiled milk
  • ½ tsp organic ashwagandha powder
  • 1 tsp cardamon powder
  • 1tbsp honey.

Instructions:

  1. Take a cup of water and add ½ tsp organic ashwagandha powder. Boil for 5 min.
  2. Get the mixture reduced to half. Then strain it
  3. Add ½ cup boiled milk and 1 tbsp honey.
  4. Add 1 tsp cardamon powder and mix well.

Anti-stress Ashwagandha Gummies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups any fruit juice
  • 3 scoops gelatin
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp organic ashwagandha powder.

Instructions:

  1. Heat your favorite fruit juice.
  2. Add 3 scoops gelatin once the fruit juice is hot and whisk.
  3. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and whisk.
  4. Add 1/4 tsp ashwagandha and whisk again.
  5. Pour your mixture into a small container or mold.
  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then remove from the container.
  7. Enjoy one de-stress gummy per day.

Ashwagandha – a New Big Hit!

Living through a viral pandemic, people faced emotional and physical exhaustion. They looked for a herb that could serve as a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. Thus, Ashwagandha has gone mainstream in the US as sales boom.
Though many Americans hardly know anything about this herb, marketers anticipate the popularity of Ashwagandha in the years to come. Because stress isn’t seasonable and we deal with it daily, the presence of Ashwagandha supplements on the market will continue to grow.

Sources

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ashwagandha
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
  3. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9#Fig3
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609357/
  5. https://smpnutra.com/ashwagandha-manufacturing
  6. https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/ingredients/ashwagandha-goes-mainstream-us-sales-boom