What is Ashwagandha? Everything you need to know! article image

What is Ashwagandha? Everything you need to know!

What exactly is ashwagandha? Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Ayurvedic medicine in India. In recent years, it has become extremely popular in other parts of the world as well, such as here in Sweden. The scientific name for ashwagandha is Withania somnifera .

It is used in several different areas, including managing stress, improving sleep, increasing energy, and promoting general well-being. There are many studies on ashwagandha and more and more areas of use are being discovered for this interesting plant, where the root seems to attract the most interest.

In this article, we will dive deep into ashwagandha and its properties!

Read more about Elixir Ashwagandha here .

Ashwagandha – what is it and where does it come from?

Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera , is an herb used in the traditional Indian art of medicine, known as Ayurveda. Ashwagandha is also called Indian ginseng and has been used for thousands of years for its balancing properties. Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae family, the same family as the tomato, and it grows mainly in arid regions of India, the Middle East and parts of North Africa.

The name "ashwagandha" comes from Sanskrit and is often translated as "the scent of a horse". This may relate to the herb's root, which is said to have a characteristic smell and is believed to give the same strength and vitality as a horse.

Both the root and leaves of the herb are used, but the root in particular is popular for creating various forms of dietary supplements, including powders, extracts and capsules, which are then used for their health-promoting properties.

In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is used to help the body manage stress, increase energy and promote general well-being. Its adaptogenic properties are believed to help the body adapt to physical and mental stress and are believed to have a balancing effect on the stress hormone cortisol. Ashwagandha has also been researched for its potential effects on sleep, hormone balance, the immune system, fertility and other aspects of health.

A slightly unusual fact is that the roots of the ashwagandha plant have also traditionally been used as a natural dye in certain contexts. They give a yellowish color and have historically been used to color textiles and food.

What is good about ashwagandha?

There is a lot that is good about ashwagandha! Because it is considered an adaptogen, it has balancing properties, which helps the body deal with stress, for example. An adaptogen is a term used to describe certain herbs, mushrooms and other substances that are believed to help the body adapt and deal with various forms of stress and strain.

What does an adaptogen do?

Adaptogens normalize and optimize the body's functions to create balance, they do not stimulate a function to its upper limit. They therefore do not work in the same way as central stimulants, for example caffeine, which become less effective the more times you use them and which stimulate even when you are in balance. Adaptogens have the same effect continuously without you having to successively increase the dose to get the same effect as at the beginning. They are also not addictive.

The name adaptogens comes from the English "to adapt", i.e. to adapt.

To be classified as an adaptogen, a substance must meet certain criteria, including:

  1. Non-specific effects: Adaptogens are considered to have a non-specific effect on the body, which means that they should help normalize and regulate the body's functions regardless of the type of stressor.
  2. Normalization of body functions: Adaptogens are expected to support the normalization of the body's physiological functions by helping to restore balance to systems affected by stress.
  3. Minimal toxic effects: Adaptogens should be relatively safe to use and not cause significant side effects at normal doses.

Benefits of ashwagandha

  • Balances the body in case of emotional stress
  • Supports the body in case of fatigue and physical exhaustion
  • Provides increased focus and endurance
  • Contains antioxidants that can help fight harmful free radicals in the body
  • Can increase strength and endurance and improve recovery after physical exertion

When to take ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha as a dietary supplement can be beneficial for some people, especially those who experience a lot of stress and fatigue, but also in training Ashwagandha can be relevant as a supplement. Below are examples of where ashwagandha can help:

  • For stress and anxiety: As ashwagandha is considered to have adaptogenic properties, it can help the body adapt and deal with stress by influencing the hormone cortisol. Many people use ashwagandha to reduce feelings of worry and anxiety as well as promote relaxation.
  • For difficulty sleeping: Ashwagandha can have sedative properties and can be used to promote relaxation, which can be beneficial for those who have problems with sleep or sleep quality.
  • People who exercise regularly: Ashwagandha can help increase strength and endurance and improve recovery after exercise.
  • Older Adults: Ashwagandha may be beneficial for older adults by supporting energy levels, reducing stress, and promoting general well-being.
  • Reproductive health: Ashwagandha may have positive effects on male reproductive health, including sperm quality.

When during the day you should take Ashwagandha, if you eat it in the form of a supplement, depends a little on what effect you want. Many people choose to take Ashwagandha in the morning if they have a lot of stress during the day, while others take it in the evening for a relaxing effect before the night. If you want to have an effect throughout the day, we recommend that you take it both morning and evening.

Take ashwagandha with meals.

Who should not take ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. There are some groups of people who should be especially careful or avoid ashwagandha without a doctor's advice:

  1. Pregnant and breastfeeding women: There is not enough research to determine the safety of ashwagandha during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, these groups should avoid using ashwagandha.
  2. People taking medications: If you are taking any medications, including immunosuppressive medications, thyroid medications, or medications for insomnia, you should consult your doctor before using ashwagandha. There may be interactions that you need to be aware of.
  3. People with low blood pressure: Ashwagandha has been reported to lower blood pressure. If you already have low blood pressure or are taking medication to lower blood pressure, you should be careful and consult your doctor.

As with all dietary supplements, it is important to use ashwagandha in moderation and follow the recommendations given on the packaging.

Does ashwagandha have side effects?

Ashwagandha is considered safe when used as recommended and in reasonable doses. However, some individuals may experience minor side effects or unwanted reactions. Here are some potential side effects or precautions to be aware of:

  1. Stomach upset: Some people may experience stomach upset such as nausea or an upset stomach when taking ashwagandha. Taking ashwagandha with food can help minimize any effect on the stomach.
  2. Low blood pressure: Ashwagandha has been reported to lower blood pressure. People who already have low blood pressure or are taking blood pressure-lowering drugs should be careful and monitor their blood pressure closely.
  3. Allergic reactions: Although rare, some people may be allergic to ashwagandha and experience allergic reactions such as swelling and itching.
  4. Interaction with drugs: Ashwagandha can potentially interact with certain drugs, especially those that affect the central nervous system or the hormonal system. If you are taking medication, you should consult your doctor before using ashwagandha.
  5. Increases the activity of the immune system: There is research that shows that ashwagandha can increase the activity of the immune system, which for most people is positive. However, people with autoimmune diseases should consult a doctor before using ashwagandha.

It is important to note that individual reactions to ashwagandha can vary, and it is always wise to consult your doctor if you have an existing health condition or are taking medication. Following the recommended dosages and monitoring how your body reacts can also help minimize any side effects.

Is ashwagandha illegal?

No, ashwagandha is not illegal. Ashwagandha has been traditionally used for centuries. Ashwagandha is legal to buy and sell as a dietary supplement in Sweden and many other countries around the world, including the US, EU countries.

Ashwagandha from Elexir Pharma

We at Elexir Pharma naturally have a high-quality ashwagandha supplement in our range. Elixir Ashwagandha contains extracts from the roots of the plant, which contain extra high levels of a group of active substances called withanolides. The extract is standardized and contains 2.5% withanolides, which corresponds to 15 mg per daily dose.

Elixir Ashwagandha is supplemented with vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and the black pepper extract Bioperine®. B5 is added as it helps maintain normal mental performance and reduce fatigue and exhaustion. Bioperine® is a patented black pepper extract with 95% piperine that increases the bioavailability, i.e. absorption, of certain herbs and nutrients.

  • 300 mg root extract per capsule
  • Helps maintain focus and stamina
  • With Vitamin B5 to help maintain normal mental performance and reduce fatigue and exhaustion
  • With Bioperine® which increases bioavailability
  • Recommended daily dose: 2-4 capsules
  • 100% vegan