Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal problem among women of reproductive age. In fact, almost 1 out of 10 women has PCOS. Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include::
- Irregular periods
- Unwanted hair growth due to excess male hormone (androgen) levels
- The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.
- Anxiety and depression
Eating the right foods and avoiding certain ingredients may help to manage these symptoms. Ashwagandha powder is one such ayurvedic herb which has been traditionally known to be a powerful adaptogen. Adaptogen herbs help to aid the body in balancing hormones which could in turn alleviate stress and symptoms of PCOS.
By regulating the stress response and nourishing the endocrine system (ovaries, thyroid, adrenals) Ashwagandha powder helps to combat several PCOS related symptoms such as fatigue, increase stamina, decrease anxiety, balance blood sugar and mood swings, improve sleep, hormone production and libido.
How Does Ashwagandha Help PCOS?
1. Reduces Weight in Obesity-linked PCOS
Ashwagandha helps in reducing stress related weight gain by regulating the cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps the body to mobilize a “fight or flight” response to a perceived imminent danger. Modern day stress chronically activates the cortisol stress response. It actively stimulates glucose production and triggers a hunger response in the brain which in turn leads to overeating and weight gain. Ashwagandha promotes a healthy stress response and reduces cortisol levels which in turn supports healthy weight management.
2. Corrects Hormonal Imbalance
Due to its adaptogen property, it corrects the imbalance between the immune and neuroendocrine system to normalize the bodily functions under stressful conditions.
3. Helps to Alleviate Anxiety and Depression
Ashwagandha produces calming, anti‐anxiety, highly‐stabilizing effects. It contains tryptophan which is the building block of serotonin, the mood-lifting hormone. Ashwagandha also helps activate GABA or Gamma aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain to block signals of anxiety and stress.
4. Reduces Insulin Resistance
If your body is resistant to insulin, it means you need high levels of insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. In young women with PCOS, high insulin levels can cause the ovaries to make more androgen hormones such as testosterone. This can cause increased body hair, acne, and irregular or few periods. Having insulin resistance can also increase your risk of developing diabetes. Using ashwagandha can help in reversing PCOD symptoms by reducing insulin resistance in the body.
5. Treats Infertility and Irregular Periods
PCOD suppresses ovulation, which is one of the major causes of female infertility. Using ashwagandha can help in relieving this condition.
Ashwagandha’s ability to reduce stress helps in supporting women’s reproductive system. Stress can play an important role in regulating female hormones. Cortisol levels increase during stress. The stress hormone cortisol in-turn reduces progesterone levels and negatively impacts fertility and healthy menstruation cycles. By reducing cortisol levels and reducing body tension, Ashwagandha has a positive effect on reproductive system, libido and menstrual cycles.
6. Treats Fatigue, Insomnia and Thyroid Imbalance
Stress can cause lethargy and disturbed sleep. When ashwagandha fights stress, it kills fatigue and improves your sleeping patterns.
Thyroid imbalance is one of the effects of PCOS. This in turn causes fatigue and lethargy. The thyroid stimulating effect of Ashwagandha has also proven helpful for under-active thyroid glands commonly associated with PCOS. It’s adaptogenic properties help to stimulate the central nervous system and fight stress by reducing cortisol levels and balancing thyroid hormones.
How To Use Ashwagandha Powder
About 1 tsp (5g) can be consumed twice a day with on its own or with honey ,ghee or milk. You can also make a simple yet comforting ashwagandha tea in the following way:
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 of water
-1 teaspoon Ashwagandha powder (5 grams)
– A dash of honey (only if you need it for sweetening your drink)
Mix the milk, water and Ashwagandha powder together and heat it till it’s lukewarm. Add the cardamom while the mixture is lukewarm and drink it twice in the day.
While herbal supplements and alternative therapies can help PCOS treatment, they aren’t a substitute for a customized, ongoing dialogue with your doctor about your symptoms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With over 10 years of experience in the organic industry, Priya is a strong believer in using healthy and easy to use alternatives in daily life. She passionately advises her friends, family and customers by sharing with them practical and easy ways to include healthy alternatives in their daily life.