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Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years to reduce stress, strengthen the immune system, and boost overall health. More recently, researchers are exploring this versatile herb’s effects on muscle gain and athletic performance. So what is this powerful adaptogenic herb and how does it work?
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What is ashwagandha?
- The benefits of ashwagandha
- How much ashwagandha should you take?
- Maximizing ashwagandha supplementation
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that’s been used in Indian Ayurveda medicine for centuries. Adaptogens are natural substances, usually herbs, which can increase your body’s resistance to stress.
Ashwagandha is a shrub native to the dryer regions of India, North Africa, and the Middle East; although its rising popularity means that people are learning to cultivate it around the United States. Both the root and the dried red berries are used medicinally.
In practice, this means that dosing daily with ashwagandha can lower cortisol, a stress hormone that, when out of control, can cause some serious health damage.
It may sound like adaptogenic herbs are only for the chronically stressed and overworked, but ashwagandha can benefit almost anyone with its immune- and metabolism-boosting effects.
The best part about adaptogens is how they seem to regulate your stress hormones according to what you need at the time. That means that ashwagandha can chill you out when stress is out of control, but it can also give you steady, caffeine-free energy when you need it.
Here’s just a few ways ashwagandha can help:
- Reduce stress. The herb measurably decreases cortisol and reduces stress by 15-27% in healthy adults.
- Reduce anxiety. Ashwagandha is great for hectic days at work or times when you feel especially anxious according to several studies.
- Boost your immune system. Chronic high stress levels will weaken your immune system and cause chronic illness over time. Ashwagandha can help by modulating your stress response. In animal studies, it’s also showing some positive effects on white blood cell and platelet counts.
- Shed weight. Supplementing with ashwagandha may help balance blood sugar and help with weight management in adults under chronic stress. There’s also some evidence that ashwagandha may help kill fat cells and prevent new fat cells from growing.
- Increase performance. If you’re looking for a boost in endurance and recovery, you may want to add this ancient herb to your pre-workout regimen. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 40 athletes, the group that took 500 mg of ashwagandha twice daily showed significant improvement in aerobic performance and endurance.There also seems to be a bit of evidence that ashwagandha can increase testosterone.
The lowest effective dose recorded is 300-500 mg daily. Again, it’s best taken consistently and will work better the longer you take it over time. The therapeutic dose is 6,000 mg per day, divided into three doses of 2,000 mg. Take it with meals or in a shake, ideally in the morning.
In Ayurveda medicine, practitioners give ashwagandha tonics to everyone from the very young to the middle aged, to the elderly to increase longevity.
But there are a few groups that might not benefit from this adaptogen. Ashwagandha is a nightshade, so it’s best to avoid it if you have a sensitivity to nightshades or struggle with autoimmune issues. And it isn’t safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
As always, be sure to check with your doctor before supplementing with any herb.
Adaptogens are most effective when you use them consistently over time. That means small, daily doses for long periods are better than a few doses “just when you need them.”
Natural Force’s Organic Pre-Workout is a great place to start. It contains stress-busting, endurance-boosting adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and all-natural caffeine from brain-boosting coffee berry and matcha.
Or try our popular Cordyceps Pro blend, which is packed with adaptogenic herbs for sustained energy and peak brain function without the caffeine.
Have you tried this powerful adaptogen for stress relief or athletic performance? Let us know in the comments below!