Is Ashwagandha a Steroid? The Indian Super Herb’s Nature & Benefits Explained

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Ashwagandha can help you deal with stress and anxiety. (Image via Instagram @8oayurveda)
Ashwagandha can help you deal with stress and anxiety. (Image via Instagram @8oayurveda)

Indian ginseng, aka 'Ashwagandha', also known as Withania somnifera, is a tree belonging to the nightshade family. Its berries and leaves are traditionally used for medicinal purposes in India, although they are now grown in other countries as well.

Today, Ashwagandha is used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia. It may even boost the immune system, aid digestion, and improve memory.

Curious to know more about it? Here's everything you need to know about this ‘super herb.'


What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a supplement derived from the roots of an herb of the same name. These edible roots originate in South Asia, particularly India and Nepal.

In recent years, Indian ginseng has gained popularity for its multifaceted set of benefits. This is particularly true among those who practice Ayurveda, where it is prized as a medicinal herb with the potential to promote not only physical health and wellness but emotional and spiritual well-being as well.


Is Ashwagandha a Steroid or Not?

The key point to remember here is that Ashwagandha is an herb, meaning that it's a plant-based substance. There aren't any steroids in the herb; rather, they contain steroidal lactones, which are natural compounds usually found in plants.

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These compounds do have some similarities to steroids, but they don't have the same chemical structure. The only quality that this Indian herb shares with anabolic steroids is that it has the ability to build muscle strength.

Understanding that ashwagandha is not a steroid does little to diminish the positive effects it may have on your health. While scientific research has yet to definitively pinpoint the mineral and nutritional makeup of this super herb, as well as its potential benefits, we know that it is capable of promoting a state of homeostasis, helping to restore balance and ease anxiety when taken at appropriate dosages.

Remember that this affects everyone differently; not everyone will have the same reactions as someone else who uses it. Be sure to monitor yourself carefully during the first few weeks of taking this supplement (or any other supplement) so that if there are any adverse effects they can be caught early on before they become serious problems!


Ashwagandha Benefits

Here are some of the advantages of consuming this super herb:

1) Fights stress and anxiety

This is a super herb that can help you deal with stress and anxiety. Studies show that this Indian herb reduces levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, by up to 24%, and reduces symptoms of stress-related disorders.


2) Improves cognitive functions

It has been shown to improve cognitive function, including learning and memory, in both rats and humans. It can also help counteract the negative cognitive effects caused by stress.

Improves cognitive function. (Image via Unsplash / Katherine Hanlon)
Improves cognitive function. (Image via Unsplash / Katherine Hanlon)

3) Boosts Immune System

It can enhance the immune system and improve your body’s ability to fight off foreign substances, including bacteria and viruses.


4) Increases sexual health

Indian ginseng has been used as an aphrodisiac to improve sexual health. It may increase libido, stamina, and potency.


5) Improves your sleep

This can help promote relaxation and calmness, which can improve sleep quality. Studies show that taking Ashwagandha before bed helps increase sleep duration and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

Boosts your immunity system. (Image via Unsplash / Towfiqu Barbhuiya)
Boosts your immunity system. (Image via Unsplash / Towfiqu Barbhuiya)

6) Reduces Inflammation

It has potent anti-inflammatory effects, which can help protect against numerous diseases.


Ashwagandha Side Effects

There are some side effects to be aware of. Some people experience nausea, diarrhea, and an upset stomach when taking ashwagandha for the first time. This is a normal reaction to something new in your body, and it will go away with time.

One of the most powerful adaptogen. (Image via Pexels / Karolina Grabowska)
One of the most powerful adaptogen. (Image via Pexels / Karolina Grabowska)

If you find that these side effects continue to interfere with your life, consult your doctor immediately because it may be an allergic reaction to the herb itself.

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Edited by Babylona Bora