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What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a popular herb used in traditional Indian medicine. Commonly known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, Ashwagandha plant belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The roots and leaves are used for their medicinal properties. This healing herb is consumed as a supplement in capsule or fine powder form.
Ashwagandha has numerous health benefits. It is a potent antioxidant and helps in developing a strong immune system. Hence this potent ‘Rasayana’ is used predominantly in tonics for boosting vitality and overall health. Besides, it enhances libido and fertility. Ashwagandha can fight stress, anxiety as well as combat depression. However, Ashwagandha is most useful in weight loss treatments. Read on to know more about Ashwagandha’s weight loss efficacy.
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Medicinal Properties of Ashwagandha
A group of steroidal lactones called withanolides contribute to Ashwagandha’s numerous health benefits.
- Hormone balancing
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Weight Loss
Ashwagandha Effectively Lowers Elevated Cortisol Levels
Cortisol hormone is produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. However, problems arise when there is prolonged stress and the cortisol levels are elevated for a long time. This can lead to obesity besides other health issues. With elevated cortisol levels, the body tends to store more fat. People with elevated cortisol levels tend to store more abdominal fat than fat in the hip area. Such kind of fat deposits promote chronic diseases related to metabolic syndrome.
Consumption of Ashwagandha lowers the levels of cortisol. In fact, Ashwagandha lowers serum levels of cortisol by up to 26 %. It hence deals with fat deposits therein aiding in weight loss.
Ashwagandha Contributes to Better Blood Sugar Control
Cortisol triggers insulin production. Insulin hormone helps the body to use blood sugar as an energy source or fat storage. However, insulin surges occur if the body cells don’t respond to insulin as they should. This is called insulin resistance and can cause type 2 diabetes. Ashwagandha aids in weight loss by lowering fasting blood sugar levels. It also enhances insulin sensitivity. Both these factors enable better blood sugar control and effective weight management.
In fact, Ashwagandha is said to have potency comparable to anti-diabetic drugs and it effectively improves the insulin sensitivity index.
Ashwagandha Fights Cholesterol
Ashwagandha decreases LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides which in turn have a positive effect on body fat therein aiding weight-loss.
When the immune system is harmed by pathogens, the body goes into survival mode where fat burning is not a priority. In such situations, weight loss goals go for a toss which further aggravates conditions like obesity. The naturally occurring antioxidants in ashwagandha enhance overall health and promotes fat burning. Ashwagandha’s antimicrobial properties help in improving immune function which keeps you healthy wherein you can follow your diet and exercise regimen.
Increases Energy Levels
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that supports the central nervous system and boosts energy levels naturally. According to Lawson and Holman, the central nervous system may hinder intense activities like weightlifting. The physiological stress in such activities is buffered by ashwagandha which can improve performance. According to an article titled, “Simplifying Weight Loss” by Kelli Miller Stacy, Dr. Mark Hyman, ashwagandha is the recommended strategy for enhancing energy and weight loss by reducing stress.
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Ashwagandha Dosage For Weight Loss
2 grams per day
However, the appropriate dosage of Ashwagandha depends on the user’s age, health, and other conditions. Follow appropriate directions on the product labels and consult a healthcare practitioner before using Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha should be taken with utmost precaution by people having the following conditions
- High or low blood pressure
- Stomach ulcers
- Autoimmune diseases
- Thyroid disorders