Scientifically known as Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is a flowering plant that’s native to North Africa. This plant made its way to India centuries ago, and it remains a critical component of ayurvedic medicine. More studies need to be done to get to the bottom of ashwagandha’s potential medical benefits, but some research indicates that this natural herb might have cardiovascular, antioxidant, and mood-boosting benefits.
Ashwagandha contains both water-soluble and fat-soluble components. As a result, ayurvedic medicine calls for pairing this substance with milk. Vegans can pair Withania somnifera with other mixes of fat and water such as coconut milk or almond milk.
The only source of the unique compounds in ashwagandha is the root of this plant, which is usually dried and powdered prior to consumption.
Neither ashwagandha nor the compounds it contains have been recognised as essential nutrients, so there is no nutrient reference value (NRV) for this substance.
Withania somnifera is not present in any foods other than the powdered form of its roots, so you cannot absorb any ashwagandha from a normal diet.
Ashwagandha contains various compounds that may relieve psychological stress, assist with cardiovascular functioning, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Each of these issues can negatively impact your health, indicating that substances like ashwagandha may be necessary for optimal well-being.
Since Withania somnifera is not an essential nutrient, it is impossible to become deficient in this substance. At the same time, not using ashwagandha will make you lose out on this substance’s potential health benefits.
Some of the water-soluble compounds in ashwagandha will take effect almost immediately and the fat-soluble components of this root powder will take longer to absorb.
The rate of absorption of the compounds in ashwagandha varies depending on whether they are water-soluble or fat-soluble.
The water-soluble compounds in ashwagandha generally leave your body within 2-3 days, but the fat-soluble compounds in this root powder may stay in your system for up to a month.
Some studies indicate that Withania somnifera may have direct antioxidant effects, but more research needs to be done to definitively determine this substance’s antioxidant properties.
If you consume an unreasonable amount of ashwagandha, you may experience unpleasant effects like nausea and vomiting. When consumed in reasonable quantities, however, ashwagandha is not known to cause any gastric distress.
The water-soluble compounds in ashwagandha generally dissolve quickly in your digestive system, and any leftover compounds are flushed out over the course of 2-3 days. The oil-based compounds in this root powder, however, can build up and remain in your system for around 30 days.
Ashwagandha is a vegan, gluten-free substance that does not conflict with any common dietary restrictions. On the contrary, this ancient Indian healing herb is a common component of many ayurvedic dietary systems.
Withania somnifera contains a large number of unique compounds. At present, we do not know of any efforts to synthesise these compounds.
There is no information currently available on the potential absorption rates of synthesised forms of the constituent compounds of ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is currently only available in its natural form.
Ashwagandha is usually ingested orally in its dried and powdered form.
In 2020, Indian researchers conducted a clinical study on the beneficial effects of ashwagandha in elderly people. The research team investigated the impact of ashwagandha on well-being and sleep health compared to a placebo, and the study lasted 12 weeks. Within a few weeks of observing the effects of this compound, the researchers noted that participants in the ashwagandha group exhibited a “significant increase in the quality of sleep and mental alertness.”
An American study from 2019 bore similar results. Using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) guidelines and the DASS-21 scale, the researchers observed the effects of ashwagandha in 60 healthy adults over the course of around eight weeks. The facilitators of the study noted marked improvements in participants in the ashwagandha group.