Ashwagandha: A Complete Guide For Men
There are so many health problems in existence today. Many people have more than one health problem, which causes multiple ailments (and tons of suffering!) It’s bad enough to experience one negative health ailment. But when multiple ailments are experienced by a single person, the question begs to be asked: how do we find a more effective way to treat multiple disorders at one time with fewer medicines? Is it possible to find a solution that only requires one remedy?
Yes, there are medications for each of these manifested disorders in the body. But most of these can cause side effects (sometimes severe in some people) and only treat one issue, not multiple ones at one time. This is enough to discourage anyone.
However, there is no need to stay discouraged. Why? Because there is a medicinal solution that will empower people to take back their health. What is this solution? It’s called Ashwagandha root. This powerful herb not only treats multiple ailments in the body at one time but also strengthens and restores the body. Talk about a miracle treatment for men’s health.
Additionally, this wonderful herb is all natural, coming straight from the earth. This is great news because the body is not harmed by synthetic chemicals; rather, it works with the body (instead of causing additional symptoms not related to the original disorder).
So what exactly is this wonderful herb?
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known Indian Ginseng (or Withania Somnifera, its scientific term), is an Ayurvedic, adaptogenic herb that has been used for over five thousand years in India to treat bodily imbalances and ailments. This herb is a part of the nightshade family, its medicinal qualities found in the root and leaf part of the plant.
Ashwagandha Root Used in Traditional Medicine
Because it is such a powerful herb, organic ashwagandha has been popular in traditional medicine for thousands of years, over 5,000 to be exact. Although mostly known as an ancient Indian herb, Withania Somnifera is also been vastly popular throughout the histories of Africa and the Middle East.
In addition to the traditional uses (which will be stated below), Africans use it currently for many conditions including gonorrhea, epilepsy, coughing, asthma, and infertility. They also use it as a general blood-purifier, liver tonic, and diuretic.
In India, Ashwagandha is of great importance because it plays a key role in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient practice that is still hugely popular in India. Throughout many Indian states, this herb is grown commercially producing around seven thousand pounds a year in order to provide medical care for many thousands of people. Currently, the herb is increasing in popularity in western society as more and more studies prove its many benefits for both men’s health and women’s health.
So what are the effects of Ashwagandha and how does this increasingly popular herb benefit men?
Established Ashwagandha Benefits for Men
Below is a list of the health benefits that ashwagandha herb offers men:
Helps with Sperm Motility
It has been proven through several studies that organic ashwagandha herb improves sperm count and sperm motility in men. One study had a whopping one 167 percent increase in sperm concentration in men who took Ashwagandha for a 90 day period. It also helped the men produce more semen and a stronger semen motility.
Improves the Strength of Erections
Ashwagandha is well known for its effectiveness at relieving stress. However, many people fail to realize the connection between high-stress levels and erectile dysfunction. Stress, believe it or not, directly impacts sexual functions. What happens is that stress causes a disruption in the brain connections that, under normal conditions, effectively signal the body to push more blood flow into the penis.
Ashwagandha helps this connection to be re-established and work properly once again by inhibiting stress responses from affecting the brain. Additionally, ashwagandha tones the nerve endings for better penal stimulation as well as helps to rebuild the erectile muscle strength.
Boosts Energy Levels and Power Output
This herb is a major adrenal gland supporter when taken consistently. When the adrenal glands are tired (worn out from stress and not enough rest over time), the body grows sluggish, tired, and gains weight; this consequently causes chronic fatigue. Ashwagandha comes in and balances cortisol levels (which is what fatigues the adrenals) so that the adrenal glands can come back into balance. Thus, more energy is restored to the body.
Also, this herb increases muscle strength and energy needed for a person to perform better physically! In three studies, men who trained regularly, men who were sedentary, and men who had just started strength training, all showed a significant increase in power output and in muscle endurance.
Cholesterol, if staying too high over time, can cause major health issues that are debilitating and/or life-threatening, like heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Ashwagandha has been proven to lower cholesterol, both raising HDL levels and lowering LDL levels, by up to 10 percent.
Anxiety and cortisol benefits
Anxiety is widely known as one of the major causes of sustained high levels of cortisol. High cortisol and long-term anxiety both cause health problems (both major and minor) over time. But the good news is, Ashwagandha can drastically help to lower both the feelings of anxiety and high cortisol levels, thus significantly improving overall health.
- 44 percent decrease in general stress
- 69.7 percent decrease in anxiety (and insomnia)
- 76.1 percent decrease in physical symptoms associated with stress and anxiety
Decreases Blood Glucose Levels
Although anyone that has high blood sugar levels can benefit from this powerful herb, this is especially beneficial for people with diabetes or people with insulin resistance (but that do not have diabetes). Why? Because it lowers blood glucose levels. Ashwagandha makes cells more sensitive to insulin, thus helping the body to utilize insulin better in the body. Also, the herb aids the body in producing healthy levels of insulin. In diabetics, not only has the body become resistant to insulin but their bodies have stopped making enough of the important hormone.
Decreases Blood Pressure
Ashwagandha helps to increase the blood flow through the arteries, thus decreasing the negative effects of high blood pressure. Although studies have not revealed extensive results, the improvements are nonetheless present in these two studies, with a 1.6 percent systolic and a 5.6 percent diastolic decrease in blood pressure.
Has Antidepressive Effects
Depression is an ever-rising epidemic that plagues the modern world. Although there are hundreds of medications and natural remedies that claim to treat and/or cure this common malady, Ashwagandha has been taking the lead in western culture as a substantial relief option for this mental ailment. In a two month study, a group was given 600 milligrams of ashwagandha daily resulting in a 79.3 percent drop in depression.
In another six week study, a group with a mixed disorder of anxiety and depression were given 500 milligrams of ashwagandha daily, which ended with a significant drop in anxiety/depression as well.
Helps With Weight Loss
As stated before, when a person is under stress, more cortisol is produced. This causes easier weight gain because it not only causes the cells to want to hang onto more fat (slowing metabolism and storing energy instead of burning it), but it also stimulates the hunger hormone, ghrelin, to ramp up, causing you to eat more (which is why there is such a thing as emotional eating in relation to stress elevations).
So in knowing this, it makes sense why lowering cortisol levels in the body would naturally aid the body heavily in losing weight, both through a reduced appetite and through an improvement in energy use (utilizing the energy put into the body versus storing it).
Possible Ashwagandha Benefits That Need More Research
Although many of the more well-known benefits of ashwagandha have been proven through not only scientific research but also through millions of people finding relief in their symptoms by taking the herb, the lesser known benefits are not as clear, with little to no widespread proof (although there is a bit of scientific study with some of these benefits that add their credence). It is best to know that ashwagandha might help improve these conditions, but that it’s not guaranteed due to this lack of substantial evidence.
May Help Regulate the Thyroid and Other Hormones
Many people who have struggled with constant stress can often, over time, develop two thyroid conditions: hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. (Although stress is not always the cause of these disorders). The claim goes that Ashwagandha helps the thyroid function better by signaling the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to travel to the pituitary, which then stimulates the thyroid itself to upregulate the metabolism of the body, help cells to more efficiently extract vital energy, and better regulate hormones.
Two studies, one done on humans and another one on rats, both indicate that it does indeed stimulate the thyroid regulating hormone, therefore improving thyroid disorders. But again, more research needs to be done to put thorough credence to these claims.
May Boost Testosterone
Sufficient quantities of testosterone are very important to have in men because the hormone helps in maintaining optimal male health. When this hormone starts to dip below sufficient amounts, it can start causing a plethora of problems.
It is suspected that Ashwagandha can help the body to produce more testosterone for testosterone deficient men. However, the studies do not indicate a testosterone boost in men with normal hormone levels, suggesting that it may only help those who already have a deficiency. Again, there has not been enough widespread proof of its testosterone boosting efficiency to make big claims that this is a major benefit of Ashwagandha.
May Boost Immune System Function
The main evidence that suggests ashwagandha improves immunity is through reducing stress in the body. Stress manifests as cortisol in the body, which then suppresses the immune system, among many other damaging effects it causes in the body.
The other way ashwagandha might help the body’s immune system is through supporting the immune system directly through such things as increasing platelet counts or increasing the number of antibodies. Although one study does show an improvement in human immunity after just 96 hours, most of the studies that have been done to try and prove this claim were done on rats, not humans.
May Relieve Pain
Ashwagandha is thought to aid in pain relief through lowering inflammation in the body. The way that the Indian Ginseng does this is by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, despite this knowledge, there has been little real proof of this is actually the case.
Certain animal studies claim that it is more powerful than a hydrocortisone cream for arthritis. Another study done with 77 patients claimed that 75 percent of the patients had improvements in pain; however, they combined the ashwagandha with turmeric and frankincense, two other strong anti-inflammatory herbs. Therefore, much more research is needed for this claim to become a solid truth.
May Help Increase Red and White Blood Cell Counts
Both red blood cells and white blood cells are incredibly important for the body to not only survive but to remain healthy. If a person does not have enough red blood cell counts, then you can develop anemia. If you do not have enough white blood cells, the immune system is compromised and diseases can develop.
Because Ashwagandha has been studied in rats, the results revealing raised white and red blood cell counts, it is automatically assumed that it will benefit humans as well. However, these two studies reveal that when human studies were done, white and red cell counts were not affected.
The Recommended Ashwagandha Dosage
Ashwagandha comes in Ashwagandha capsules or powder form and comes in many different brands. One important thing to remember when considering which brand of ashwagandha to buy is that not all supplements are standardized. For this reason, you want to look for high-quality ashwagandha supplements that have high ratings and that are also standardized. This way, you know you are getting your bang for your buck and also, that it will be the exact milligram dosage claimed on the bottle.
As far as how many milligrams to take, it really depends on your unique body and how it responds to certain dosages. Most directions instruct a person to take around 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams. However, if treating a more serious health issue, as much as 6,000 milligrams have been recommended (under the supervision of a doctor).
If you do decide to start taking the herb, start out low, around 300-500 milligrams daily (always taking it with a meal) and then work your way up slowly, closely monitoring any adverse side effects. If you do notice any negative effects, stop taking it immediately. Additionally, do not take over 2,000 milligrams unless consulting your physician or naturopathic doctor first and also be leery of taking it alongside other medications (again, consult your doctor).
The Ashwagandha Side Effects
Ashwagandha, taken in recommended dosages (and not exceeding these dosages), generally does not give people side effects. However, some people might be super sensitive to the herb and experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If this is the case, stop taking it immediately. But overall, the herb is safe for human consumption.
Ashwagandha is a great herbal resource for many health ailments. There are two beautiful aspects about this herb that make it a wonderful option for people:
- The first thing is that it’s all natural and has not shown any harsh side effects in most people (therefore making it a safe supplement); therefore, a person can take it to see if it does indeed help them with their health issue and not worry about it doing damage to their body.
- Secondly, it treats so many different disorders that, if you have more than one ailment (which many people these days do because one ailment is often related to another), you can treat all of your ailments at once!
Therefore, if a person is struggling with depression, anxiety, infertility, energy and strength levels, high cholesterol, diabetes, imbalanced thyroid, low immunity, or weight issues (or several of these at one time), this Indian Ginseng is a great resource to try!
Where to Buy Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha can be found online where it is generally sold cheaper (wholesale), although some online stores function like a physical health food store and charge retail prices. Two big wholesale sites to buy from are Vitacost and Amazon. Both of these sites carry big name brands that are high quality and can be shipped immediately.
You can also find a local health food store that will quickly be able to provide you with great quality ashwagandha supplements; although generally, their prices lean more towards the retail side. Either way, this herb is easily accessible and most brands are reasonably priced.