It’s hard to read, and even harder to sound out loud. It’s a little known supplement that could be your new best friend if you are an avid athlete.
Ashwagandha is a plant, and for centuries in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. Because of its widespread use for a range of ailments, it is known as the Indian Ginseng. In Sanskrit, the name of the plant comes from the combination of the words ashva, which means horse, and ghanda which means smell. You can guess that the smell of the plant is somewhat like the smell of a horse.
In general, the Ashwagandha roots and berries are the parts of the plant that are used to make medicine.
What is Ashwagandha Used For?
Ashwagandha has been historically used to treat the following ailments:
- Skin conditions
- Menstrual pain
- Chronic liver disease
- Reducing swelling and inflammation
- Improving thinking ability
Today, aswaganha can be purchased at your health supplement store, and it is also used as holistic medicine for several ailments, like anxiety, ADHD, diabetes, high cholesterol, infertility, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease. However, more research is needed in order to confirm the effect Ashwagandha on these illnesses.
How Does It Work?
While more research needs to be carried out, it is believed that Ashwaganha contains certain chemicals that could help to calm the brain and reduce swelling in other parts of the body.
It is found in multiple forms: powder, liquid and tablets. Dosage depends on the concentration of the supplement, as well as what you are taking it for. Talk to your holistic medicine specialist to discuss dosage and form.
The traditional use, however, is in powder form, and is usually mixed with warm milk and honey to be taken before going to bed.
When NOT to Take Ashwagandha
While Ashwagandha is considered generally safe in
limited doses in the short them, there are some situations in which it is important to take precautions and avoid taking it.
- Pregnancy and lactation: there is initial evidence that taking Ashwagandha while pregnant could cause miscarriages. There isn’t enough information about the effects of Ashwaganda on women who are lactating, so it is best to avoid.
- Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha could irritate the gastrointestinal tract, so if you have ulcers, it is best to avoid taking Ashwagandha.
- Low blood pressure: If you already have low pressure, Taking Ashwagandha could cause your blood pressure to drop even further.
- Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha could increase thyroid hormone levels, which could damage your thyroid. Avoid if you have thyroid issues.
Ashwagandha for Athletes: What Does the Research Say?
A review of 58 scientific articles revealed and ashwagandha, indeed, does possess a series of benefits for athletes.
In addition to being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it also appears to be of benefit to the cardiopulmonary system (heart and lungs), even though the mechanism of action hasn’t been studied.
Reducing swelling and inflammation and improving thinking ability are the benefits that are of primary interest to athletes. The property that helps to reduce swelling and inflammation helps athletes as they recuperate from tournaments or races, or even support healing after an injury.
Ashwagandha is used as what is known as an “adaptogen”. Adaptogens help the body to cope with daily stress. If you are an avid athlete, your body deals with more stress than the average person every day. Using Ashwagandha as an adaptogen could help you improve overall performance in day-to-day training. Research demonstrates that it seems to produce a state of “non-specified increased resistance” (SNIR) when the body experiences adverse effects of training.
For Which Types of Athletes does Ashwagandha Work Best?
While all types of athletes and non-athletes could benefit from taking an Ashwagandha supplement for short periods of time, most research has concentrated on its benefits for elite endurance athletes, like cyclists and runners.
Ashwagandha, when used properly, could be a great supplement to add to your fitness regimen. Not only may it increase resistance, research also shows that it may aid in your recuperation.