Natural and herbal remedies have become widely popular over the last few years. One such herb is Ashwagandha which has been held up against many similar herbs such as Kratom, Kanna, Mucuna and others. For the purpose of bringing out the benefits of Ashwagandha, we will compare some of the uses, benefits, tolerance, appearance, side effects, modern data related Ashwagandha use, and how to consume Ashwagandha with Kratom.
Why Kratom? Well, Kratom has come out on top as an herb with interesting clinical, medical, and psychological manifestations. It has for long been a controversial drug and with its popularity ever increasing, it only seems fair to compare the two herbs.
Overview: Kratom and Ashwagandha
First, Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit name which means “Horse smell” The name does not infer to the odor produced by the herb but refers to the potency and strength it causes to the users. It has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years to treat ailments and making various medicines. One of the active ingredients is flavonoids, which belongs to the withanolide class. The active ingredients in the herbs are highly potent, so much so that it is referred to as the Indian Ginseng.
On the other hand, Kratom active ingredients consist of alkaloids. Kratom has a long history that can be traced to Asia and Africa. Kratom is also referred to as Thom, Baik, and Thang. Due to its opioid effects, it is used around the world as a stimulant and other psychological benefits. Kratom is indigenous to Southeast Asia and has been used for psychoactive applications for centuries. Today it is used as a recreational herb due to its pleasant opioid-like effects.
Ashwagandha belongs to the tomato family and the tomato’s physical appearance is seen on the herb. It has oval leaves and appears as a shrub with yellow flowers. The shrub produces fruits that are red in color and almost equal to the size of a raisin. The plant commonly grows in dry areas of North Africa, India, and Middle Eastern regions. Advancements in horticulture have seen the growth of the herb in milder climates such as the United States. The most important parts of the plant are the roots and the reddish-orange fruit.
Kratom is a derivative of the Mitragyna speciosa leaves. The tree belongs to the same family as coffee. Kratom is mostly available in powder form when processed. Other forms include liquid or Kratom tea.
Health benefits: Kratom vs Ashwagandha
Both have an extensive array of benefits. For instance, Ashwagandha offers benefits which include
- suppression of cancer cells,
- prevention of arthritis,
- reducing inflammation.
- It also relieves stress,
- and rheumatism.
Kratom is used mainly as a stimulant and to combat opiate symptoms. Ashwagandha boosts the distribution of antioxidants in the body hence improving the immune system, therefore it has antibacterial qualities. It has applications in erectile dysfunction treatment. Basically, Ashwagandha is a powerhouse of chemicals containing some medicinal value such as withanolides, amino acids, fatty acids, and a variety healthy of sugars. The fruits and roots of the herb have some therapeutic applications. In children and old people it is known to improve memory. It mimics the renowned GABA which fastens the formation of dendrites. Its anxiolytic property helps in improving energy levels in the body thus stress and anxiety are significantly reduced. Other significant benefits of Ashwagandha include:
- Protects and boosts the immune system.
- Boosts moods; decrease anxiety and stress.
- Improves brain retention abilities.
- Decreases the rate of brain cells degeneration
- Regulation of blood sugar
- Optimizes cholesterol levels.
- Contains anti-inflammatory benefits
- Also has anti-malaria qualities
- Improve libido in both women and men.
Kratom, on the other hand, helps in relieving the symptoms of opioid withdrawal such as depression, stress, and anxiety. The clinical effects of the herbs are yet to be properly defined and studies are still limited. However, the limited data suggest that overdose effects exist. In the past, it was used in the South Eastern Asia countries by workers to combat fatigue With over 40 compounds and 25 alkaloids some of the health benefits of Kratom include:
- Pain relief with similar effects such as that of morphine.
- Overcoming addiction
- Relieves depression, anxiety, and stress due to its psychostimulating effect.
- Improves focus and concentration
- Enhances motivation by engaging the sympathetic nerves in the body.
- Improves sex drive.
- Also improves heart health
- Peaceful sleep and for longer
- Reduces inflammation
- Has antioxidants
- Combats weight loss.
Informants reporting the interaction of Ashwagandha and Kratom did not report any concerns. Rather, some reported the combination as being synergistic. Other users who prefer taking a break from either of the two prefer Kratom and Ashwagandha as great alternatives.
How they are taken
The most common form of Kratom is the powder which is obtained from crushed Kratom leaves. In southeastern Asia, the powder was chewed, brewed into tea, or smoked. Today Kratom can be ingested as capsules, liquid, pills, and raw powder. The powder is sometimes added to hot water to make it more palatable. Some users prefer toning down the bitter taste with alcohol, adding it in food, or mixing it with homemade pastries.
Ashwagandha is sold in different forms but like Kratom, its dominant form is powder. Other forms include fresh or dried root. The dosage and administration of the herb depend on factors such as age, medical history and health of an individual. If the herb is intended for general well-being and staying ahead of illnesses 1-2 teaspoons or 5-6 grams of powder will suffice. For treatment of any medical conditions, it’s important to seek some advice from a medical professional. It is preferably taken with meals or brewed with tea.
Side effects; Kratom vs Ashwagandha
In moderate and small amounts Ashwagandha is considered well-tolerated. However, there are no studies showing the long-term effects of the herb. Pregnant women are advised to abstain from taking the herb because it can result in early delivery. A study by NCCI found out that 22 out of the 193 products made in India and the United Stated had dangerous levels of mercury and arsenic compounds.
Despite having little scientific data to back up the side effects caused by Kratom some effects are common and are observed almost immediately. The American Kratom Association warns children and pregnant women against the use of Kratom. The side effects, of course, vary depending on the dosage.
Short-term side effects include
- increased urination,
- hallucinations and seizures,
- loss of muscle coordination,
- increased heartbeat,
- and liver damage.
Some of the long-term side effects include:
- Weight loss
- Hyperpigmentation especially on the cheeks
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Loss of appetite
Kratom and Ashwagandha have reputable health benefits when taken correctly. They are both natural supplements which significantly improve the quality of life significantly. They both have some speculations especially their link to Ayurvedic medicine. For this reason, most health practitioners prefer using alternative means unless the circumstances force their hand. But their benefits cannot be ignored.