Ashwagandha is an excellent support for your menopause symptoms! It also balances your body, calms your mind and keeps your body functioning in harmony.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb for women. It's widely studied for its libido and fertility boosting effects. Ashwagandha is a true wellness promoter that I love!
Relieve menopause discomforts, regain hormone balance, boost your energy and make your menopause journey more enjoyable by tapping into 6 of the best Ashwagandha benefits!
Mood swings, Anxiety and Depression. Ashwagandha balances your emotion-regulating hormones like serotonin and dopamine. These hormones make you calmer, which enables you to gain better control of your emotions. This is helpful in managing mood swings, anxiety and depression during menopause.
Sleep troubles. Elevated cortisol caused by stress impedes sleep and causes serious sleep problems such as insomnia. When your cortisol is high, your body is always on alert mode, which explains your sleep troubles. Aside from releasing your calming hormones, Ashwagandha also stimulates melatonin production, a hormone that aids in better sleep.
Sluggish metabolism. Your metabolism usually slows down during menopause, as a result, you tend to gain weight. Ashwagandha increases the conversion of the T4 hormone into active T3 hormone, which is responsible for boosting metabolism.
Low libido. Loss of sexual desire is a common menopause symptom. There are many reasons for this. Vaginal dryness, anxiety, depression and stress are some of the culprits. Ashwagandha is a powerful aphrodisiac according to the Kama Sutra. It increases reproductive health by promoting better blood circulation to your vagina. This can promote better lubrication and increased sexual sensitivity. You don’t need to go through a long dry spell even if you hit menopause!
Hot flashes and night sweats. Although the herb does not affect estrogen production, Ashwagandha can decrease the occurrence of vasomotor symptoms such as your hot flashes and night sweats. Stress has a profound effect on the frequency and severity of these vasomotor symptoms (VMS). Taking Ashwagandha reduces stress, thereby allowing you to manage these symptoms better.
Memory lapses. Ashwagandha helps in reducing memory decline according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. The herb protects the brain from oxidative stress and halts neuro-degeneration. To experience memory improvement, you need to take this herb daily.Used for over 3,000 years, Ashwagandha is a revered botanical in Ayurveda and a go-to herb in menopause. Click To Tweet
What is Ashwagandha?
This herb has many names. It's also known as the winter cherry or Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha is a popular Ayurvedic herb from India, but women all over the world use it for a variety of health reasons.
If you translate the word Ashwagandha, it means “odor of horse”. Sounds pretty weird, right? But there's a logical explanation for this!
Ashwagandha got this funny name because of its distinct smell, which is similar to horse sweat. According to many users of the herb, the smell is so strong, that taking the herb in its raw form can sometimes be intolerable. Aside from this, Ashwagandha gives you so much energy, endurance and strength – just like a horse!
In Ayurveda, this herb is known as Rasayana. It helps calm the mind and body and lengthens life. Ashwagandha also belongs to the class of small shrubs called Solanaceae where tomatoes and eggplants are part of. You can identify this herb because of its red berries and five-petal flowers.
Although most of its parts are usable, its roots are the most important part of the plant. They are made into powders, tinctures and extracts.
Dr. Axe highly recommends Ashwagandha to his patients and he has a great video where he talks about Ashwagandha benefits and how you can use it to improve overall health and well-being [8:04]:
How Ashwagandha Works
Ashwagandha is rich in adaptogens, natural compounds in plants which fights off stress. Sometimes, we blame our discomforts and symptoms in menopause to hormonal imbalance, but the reason can be as simple as stress. Contrary to what many of us believe, adaptogens are not plant-based estrogens, nor do they directly affect estrogen levels.
According to freelance health and nutrition writer Edward Wallace, an adaptogen “demonstrates a nonspecific enhancement of the body's ability to resist a stressor.”
He further adds that such herbs, like Ashwagandha, “exert a normalizing influence on the body, neither over-stimulating nor inhibiting normal body function, but rather exerting a generalized tonifying effect.”
This means the herb doesn't really have a specific effect, but it is effective in maintaining our body's balance. So how can this herb help us in menopause?
First, Ashwagandha acts on our adrenal glands by recharging them. During menopause, the dance of hormones can come in full swing. Our hormones can drop or increase at any given time, causing menopause symptoms. Ashwagandha helps our adrenal glands to function at an optimum level, preventing hormonal imbalance. Our adrenal glands produce just enough estrogen, progesterone and cortisol (stress hormone) with the help of this herb.
According to a study by the University of Buffalo, menopausal women who experienced hot flashes had high IL-8 (Interleukin-8). When the body is under stress, it releases a protein, IL-8. This also happens when estrogen decreases. Ashwagandha neutralizes this protein. This can be a potential explanation why the herb is an effective solution to hot flashes.
Aside from all these, healthy adrenal glands mean that they can regulate the secretion of our emotion-regulating hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphin. These three hormones, when imbalanced, can cause anxiety, depression and mood swings, which are common menopause symptoms.
In a study by the Indian Journal of Medical Research, Ashwagandha mimics the activities of GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid). This neurotransmitter is a natural tranquilizer. It relaxes the mind and body. Since Ashwagandha can stimulate GABA activity, menopausal women will generally feel calmer and better.
Ashwagandha delays degenerative changes in our bones. When we go through menopause, or as we age, we tend to be more prone to osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. And more than men for that matter! Estrogen fluctuation is not the only explanation. One study claims that women have preconditions which can place them at risk of osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
Before we reach menopause, we have regular periods every month and we lose about 70 ml of blood each time. To replenish this loss and maintain enough circulating blood, our body increases hematopoietic activity, this is the creation of new blood.
For hematopoietic cells to create new blood, it needs spaces in our bones where it can work. To accommodate this need, our osteoclasts or cells which are responsible in breaking down our bones will also increase its activity. This is to provide a space for hematopoiesis. With many holes or spaces forming within our bones, we can develop osteoporosis. However, by taking Ashwagandha, you can balance bone breakdown and bone formation, thus preventing the condition.
A study by the National Institutes of Health also explained how taking ashwagandha can combat osteoporosis. The herb delays degeneration in our chondroplasts. The main function of chondroplasts is to support the bones and fill in spaces caused by bone break down. Apart from this, it also has Withaferin A, which stimulates cell proliferation that can synthesize the bones.
Balance Your Hormones With Dr. John Douillard!
Dr. John Douillard is one of my favorite natural medicine experts! He is an advocate of Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient healing system which I truly believe in. Natural herbs like Ashwagandha are a big part of Ayurvedic medicine. Dr. Douillard even calls Ashwagandha the “herbal intelligence” because of its strong adaptive properties. Check out Dr. Douillard's wide variety of natural herbal supplements, which he formulated himself!
If you struggle to get through the day because of fatigue and stress, join Dr. Douillard's 28-Day Ayurveda Challenge eCourse! The program will help you boost energy, have better mood, improve digestion, sleep better and more. Join Dr. Douillard's 28-Day Ayurveda Challenge eCourse and feel your best during menopause!
Ashwagandha Side Effects
Dr. Ray Sahelian says there are no known side effects related to the use of Ashwagandha. However, those who are going to operate machinery and go on long drives must observe proper caution because Ashwagandha supplements have sedative effects.
Sometimes, supplements may also give you too much energy and you may become hyperactive. You may want to take the supplement in cycles, this way:
- First, take Ashwagandha supplements every day for one week, and then leave it off the next week.
- After one full week, you can go back to taking the herb or supplement.
This is to ensure that your body gets ample rest and the herb has time to take effect as a sedative.
In some rare cases, the herb can cause some minor digestive problems. If this happens, reduce your dose and gradually increase once you get more used to it. Pregnant women should consult their doctors first, before taking Ashwagandha.
More Ashwagandha Benefits!
Ashwagandha is more than just a hormone balancer! It also strengthens your immune system by activating fighter or killer cells. This makes it easier for the body to fight off allergens or antigens (toxins).
According to a write-up by drugs.com, the herb also has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects. It prevents swelling, redness and pain, which are characteristic signs of inflammation. Arthritis pain is reduced with the help of this superfood. With its antipyretic property, it can relieve fevers and regulate body temperature.
Have you tried Ashwagandha? Did it help you feel better? Check out a full list of the best herbs for menopause in our article!
Have a Happy Journey!
- Sanders, Karen “Ashwagandha can cure insomnia and anxiety“
- University Health News “Ashwagandha Benefits: Ease Stress and Anxiety by 44%“