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  • How Ashwagandha Can Help Treat PCOS?

    How Ashwagandha Can Help Treat PCOS?

    The Ayurveda Experience September 08, 2023 2 Comments

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects millions of women worldwide, leaving them in pursuit of relief. When it comes to holistic health and Ayurvedic wisdom, there is one special herb that has caught the attention of both the ancient-world and modern researchers alike – Ashwagandha. Today, as we seek to understand the intricate mechanisms of PCOS, ashwagandha emerges as a powerful ally on the path to wellness.  Let us unveil to you the promising and wondrous benefits of the power herb that is ashwagandha.  

    Understanding PCOS  

    PCOS stands for Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, which is basically a common endocrine disorder. It is a hormonal condition that affects women who are of reproductive age. More than anything else, your lifestyle is one of the major reasons leading to PCOS. Excess amounts of androgen (male hormones) and irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are two features that frequently characterize it.1  

    Did you know? PCOS affects 4%-20% of women of reproductive age across the globe.1 

    Wondering how PCOS affects your entire body? 1 

    PCOS usually occurs due to hormonal imbalances in your body, forming cysts around the ovaries that prevent them from performing their normal functions. It starts with imbalance in one hormone leading to the other and just like that, it forms a vicious cycle.  

    You would be shocked to know that as many as 5 million US women of childbearing age have PCOS, making it one of the most prevalent causes of female infertility. 

    It also brings along a host of other health problems including irregular periods, excessive hair growth due to increased androgen levels, anxiety, stress, sleeping disorders, and acne. PCOS can also lead to diabetes and high blood pressure as well.   

    A founding member and former Secretary of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, Maryis a Certified Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and Pancha Karma Specialist.In 2008, she received the Charaka Award for Excellence in Ayurvedic Teaching.If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda and women’s health,check out this course here.  

    Treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome - PCOS with Ayurveda

    What causes PCOS? 1 

    PCOS affects irregular periods as it is mostly a hormone related disorder. It is mainly categorized into four types8:  

    • Insulin-resistant PCOS 
    • Inflammatory PCOS  
    • Post-pill PCOS  
    • Unknown cause of PCOS  

    High levels of androgens and insulin play a major role in causing PCOS. These compromised adrenal functions create a negative impact on one’s blood pressure, energy level, resistance to infection, immunity, and stress levels.  

    Insulin resistance is a common finding in PCOS that is independent of obesity. However, obesity negatively impacts insulin resistance and can make it worse.1 Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, the common symptoms of PCOS such as ovarian cysts, acne etc. can get worse if one is overweight or obese. 

    Due to stress and the overeating of foods high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates the fat percentage in the body increases. It can further lead to the development of obesity linked PCOS.  

    However, PCOS can affect both lean and obese females. 

    Origin - According to Ayurveda 2 

    In Ayurveda, this condition is not explained as a single disease entity; but it can come under the category of vaginal disorders (Yoni Vyapat). When the deranged Vata vitiates, the muscles (mamsa), blood (shonita), and fat (meda) mix with Kapha and forms a circular, raised, knotted inflammatory swelling called ‘granthi’3 

    This type of glandular swelling has been compared with the modern term ‘cyst’ which is an abnormal closed epithelium-lined cavity in the body, containing liquid or semisolid material.  

    In PCOS, the development of follicles gets arrested at any level, and remains as it is. The cysts are follicles at varying stages of maturation and atresia.  

    So, these cysts are not destined to become ovum. Thus, this pathology is referred to as the formation of cyst-causing anovulation (granthibhuta artava dusti) as in PCOS, the follicles become cysts instead of developing into a mature ovum. 

    Mary graduated from the first graduating class of the California College of Ayurveda in 1997 and now is a senior teacher there.Mary Thompson, is a Certified Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist (C.A.S.) and Pancha Karma Specialist (P.K.S).In 2008, she received the Charaka Award for Excellence in Ayurvedic Teaching.If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda and women’s health,check out this course here. 

    Treatment of Polycystic ovary syndrome - PCOS with Ayurveda

    How ashwagandha helps treat PCOS  

    Ashwagandha(Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, is said to reduce Kapha and Vata (Vata-kapha-hara).2 

    It thereby assists in normalizing imbalanced Vata and Kapha, which are responsible for PCOS. It also has a therapeutic effect on problems pertaining to the reproductive system and inflammatory swelling (granthi). 

    Ashwagandhais indicated as one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic formulations, recommended for pregnancy in infertile women. 

    It is also one of the components of bala oil, an Ayurvedic herbal oil formula known to destroy all types of diseases due to imbalanced Vata (Vataroga).  

    Read more: Know Why You Should Drink Ashwagandha With Milk | Ayurvedic Benefits Of Ashwagandha For Your Skin And Body | Can Ashwagandha Be Used For Muscle Growth? Know Ayurveda's Take 

    How does ashwagandha manage the risks associated with PCOS? 4 

    • Helps Lower Stress & Obesity 

    Ashwagandha has adaptogenic properties (anti-stress agents) which help to balance hormone levels and thyroid function, manages cortisol levels, and maintains insulin levels in the body. Lethargy, obesity, and irregular sleep patterns are also symptoms of stress that can have long term negative effects on your body, both internally and externally. Ashwagandha dodges weariness and enhances sleep quality while combatting stress.  

    • Manage Infertility and Irregular Menstrual Cycles 

    The ability of ashwagandha to lessen stress by lowering cortisol levels in the body, contributes to a healthy female reproductive system.  The regulation of female hormones is significantly impacted by stress. With the ability to help balance hormones, this powerful herb manages irregular menstrual cycle7.   

    • Helps with Anxiety & Depression 

    Ashwagandha acts like a GABAergic drug binding to GABA receptors, and produces calming, anti‐anxiety, highly stabilizing effects.5  

    Moreover, ashwagandharoot also helps uplift the mood and energy levels by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain It also helps correct irregular menstrual cycles and reduces menstrual pain. 

    Ashwagandha reduces weight in obesity-linked PCOS  

    The wonder herb ashwagandha helps in reducing stress related weight gain by regulating the cortisol levels. Cortisol stimulates glucose production and triggers a hunger response in the brain that may lead to stress-eating behaviors.6 

    It supports the female reproductive system and assists the body in harmonizing hormone levels, which may therefore lessen stress and PCOS symptoms.8   

     Along with a healthy diet and exercise, ashwagandha helps PCOS undoubtedly.  

    Recommended dosage of ashwagandha for PCOS4 

    For PCOS related concerns, the recommended dosage of ashwagandha varies from person to person. It is generally advised to take 500-600 mg of ashwagandha root extract in the form of capsule, daily. It is not advised for pregnant or lactating females due to lack of research on the same. Females suffering from PCOS can also consume ashwagandha powder by mixing in smoothies, soups, or other food items, but it advised to be taken in low dosages and gradually increase with time until results start to show up.  

    It is always suggested to consult with a health professional before starting any type of supplement regimen.   

    Remember, excess consumption of ashwagandha can lead to nausea, or diarrhea. It is best to follow the product label before consumption. 

    Consult your healthcare provider before havingashwagandhafor PCOS or any other uses.  

    References  

    1. The Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Brief Systematic Review - PMC (nih.gov)
    2. (PDF) AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND PCOS IN AYURVEDA CONTEXT (researchgate.net)
    3. Polycystic ovarian syndrome: Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies, Diet (easyayurveda.com)
    4. Ashwagandha Benefits for PCOS - Ashwagandha Info
    5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26068424
    6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871210/
    7. CASE STUDY ON PCOS: AN AYURVEDIC APPROACH Dr. Swati Kimothi and Dr. Kapil
    8. https://www.mdpi.com/2673-9992/21/1/46

      2 Responses

      Uditi Gupta
      Uditi Gupta

      September 13, 2022

      I m suffering from pcos n high prolactin (56).can I take aswagandha powder in June summer time…also facing infertility problem

      Puza Bhusal
      Puza Bhusal

      September 13, 2022

      I m 20 years old.
      I m having too much symptoms of PCOS
      Severe acne,too much hair loss,pelvic pain ,hair growth in body ,leakage of white discharge
      What can I do to cure it.

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