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How I ended 20 years of salt cravings in 1 week with Ashwagandha herb

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by CFS_for_19_years, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    I never knew salt cravings were treatable. I had read that Ashwagandha was good for stress because it reduces cortisol levels, so I thought, OK, I've had a very stressful 24 months or so (not kidding), and I thought I'd see how it made me feel. I do seem a bit calmer, but I'm much more ECSTATIC that I finally don't crave salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips any longer.

    I did a Google search just to be sure I was attributing this change to the right supplement, since I do take other supplements. I Googled "herbal supplements for salt cravings" and found this page:

    http://www.womentowomen.com/adrenal-health-2/eating-to-support-your-adrenal-glands-2

    (This is a good article all-around on how to support your adrenals and I'm not affiliated with them in any way.)

    If you scroll down to the very last paragraphs, there is a list of herbal supplements:
    • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
    • Eleuthero / Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
    • Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus)
    • Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
    • Rhodiola rosea
    • Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
    Of that list, the only herb I was taking was Ashwagandha. In the past I've always supplemented with a lot of B vitamins, which I still take, but my salt cravings never went away with just B vitamins.

    Here is how Ashwagandha helps with salt cravings:

    "Salt cravings in adrenal insufficiency are related to low levels of a steroid hormone called aldosterone. This hormone helps the body maintain salt and water as a way to help regulate blood pressure. When cortisol goes up, aldosterone goes down. Like cortisol, aldosterone fluctuates throughout the day, and is also influenced by stress. Chronically low levels of aldosterone can impact electrolyte balance, and sodium intake is one way to help correct this imbalance."

    I took 450mg of Ashwagandha root (non-standardized extract) once daily in the morning with food. The directions say take two capsules one to two time per day with water.

    There is an all-inclusive non-commercial review of Ashwagandha here:
    http://examine.com/supplements/Ashwagandha
    http://examine.com/supplements/Ashwagandha/#summary12-5

    There appears to be some interaction with MAOI inhibitors, so be aware of that.
     
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  2. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

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    Ashwagandha gave me a slamming headache. Fortunately I don't crave salt.
     
  3. Beyond

    Beyond Juice Me Up, Scotty!!!

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    I am trying ashwagandha 5% withanolides since some days. No discernible effects... :(
     
  4. shah78

    shah78 Senior Member

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    ashwaganda was the first adaptogen I ever took. (1994). the only discernible effect: improved erections and performance. Not bad for $1.oo and ounce.
     
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  5. Beyond

    Beyond Juice Me Up, Scotty!!!

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    I might be "feeling" that one shah... hard to know because my libido is strangely erratic since ill so it could be just my random system...
     
  6. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    Now that you mention it, I noticed some increased libido and couldn't figure out why as I live alone....and I'm a chick. Oh well, party for one.;)

    OK, less salt AND more sex...silly sick people.:whistle:
     
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  7. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

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    I noticed the title and wondered if it helped with blood volume or anything (salt helps retain water: probably a possible reason for salt cravings would be too little fluid in the body, maybe due to problems with ion exchange, although hormones would be another possibility), so I looked it up.

    Ashwagandha is a nightshade, for people who watch those.

    Some sites I found:

    http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/ashwagandha

    http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21532
     
  8. chilove

    chilove

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    My adrenals LOVE ashwaganda. It is an amazing plant.
     
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  9. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

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    Are you sure you're actually getting enough salt? Those cravings might have been justified! Lots of us have POTS, low blood pressure or similar, and need loads of fluids and salt. My friend's ex died from severe ME at the age of 28 due to his water-salt balance getting so bad he effectively had water poisoning. He'd never heard that we need salt, and *had* heard all the anti-salt stuff in the media, so was avoiding it.
     
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  10. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    I'm pretty sure I'm getting enough salt as my blood pressure is adequate and in the mild hypertensive zone. I get a lot of salt from the meals I ordinarily eat. I just don't have the urge to dig into potato chips and cheese-flavored pretzels like I used to. I might have had POTS earlier in my illness, like back in 1990 - 2005, but since I've become a senior (age 60) things have changed.
     
  11. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    For me, it's a really friendly and helpful nightshade, like goji berries. Other nightshades give me trouble, but not those.
    They have been classified in the same family but have very different actions/compounds going on.
     
  12. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

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    Fair enough, then. It was worth checking. Has your appetite been involved with this at all?
     
  13. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    No change in appetite at all. (See edit below.) Except that I used to crave these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Snyders-Hanover-Cheddar-Pretzel-12-Ounce/dp/B004NNFEA6

    Now I can only eat a few at a time. This was a great snack when I was craving salt.

    (Edited to add a few days later: I'm now craving protein, as in, I want a sandwich, now, right now. Something of substance with animal protein.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  14. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    Stop one rolling out of bed haha
     
  15. SOC

    SOC

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    You can be mildly hypertensive, get a lot of salt in ordinary food, and STILL have electrolyte imbalance and low blood volume. You'll still crave salt because your blood volume is too low. In some people, the body tries to accommodate for the low blood volume by raising blood pressure. The better indicators of low blood volume are symptoms, aldosterone, and maybe norepinephrine testing. And the salt craving. ;)
     
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  16. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    As far as I can tell, ashwagandha has now successfully treated one symptom of adrenal exhaustion: salt craving. Yes, we should give in to the urge to eat salty things because that is the way we retain water. When our adrenals are weak or when we don't consume enough salt, we lose water and can become light-headed. (Does this sound familiar?)

    I believe ashwagandha is helping me retain sodium since my salt cravings have gone away. In theory, this should help with low blood volume because the more salt you take in, the better your body can retain fluids. If all your salt is leaking out, water follows it and now your blood volume is low and you feel lightheaded.

    Edited to add: My appetite has changed in the sense that I want to eat more meat, something of substance. The light stuff like yogurt or fruit doesn't fill me up.

    Here is an article on salt and the adrenals that looks worthwhile:
    http://www.healing.org/your-body-needs-salt/

    Here are a couple of paragraphs taken from the article above:

    "Sodium and potassium levels are primarily controlled by the hormones of the adrenal glands. Our adrenal glands secrete a hormone called aldosterone that controls our ability to hold onto salt (sodium, to be more specific). The stronger our adrenal glands, the stronger our aldosterone levels, and the better our ability to hold onto salt.

    In the body there is a basic rule that “water follows salt;” therefore, if we have weakened adrenals, and hence have lower aldosterone, we will have lower salt/sodium. Since water follows salt, we will lose water as well. If we lose water (primarily by making us urinate frequently), we lose most of our blood volume; we can then become lightheaded and chronically dehydrated."
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
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