Herbs

Ashwaghandha

ashwagandha

“Studies found that ashwagandha significantly reduced stress, anxiety levels, reduced sleeplessness and fatigue, and reduced serum cortisol levels. Additionally, research suggests that ashwagandha may support memory and cognitive function, lower blood sugar, build muscle and increase strength, support cardiovascular and immune health and improve reproductive health.”

Ashwaghandha

Ashwagandha is part of a class of plants called adaptogens known for their health benefits when ingested as teas, powders, tinctures and supplements, or in their raw forms. Also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry or by its scientific name Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is a herbal shrub whose roots and berries are used for their medicinal properties. Here are a few science-backed benefits of ashwagandha.

Relieves Stress and Anxiety

Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its stress-relieving properties. Several studies highlight this advantage, observing ashwagandha’s ability to decrease participants’ stress and anxiety levels significantly. One particular study indicated that ashwagandha can benefit sleep quality as well—researchers confirmed participants slept much better with doses of the herb compared to placebo doses

Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat

A couple of small clinical studies found ashwagandha to be helpful in reducing blood glucose levels and triglycerides (the most common type of fat in the blood). One study likened ashwagandha’s blood sugar-lowering effects to those of medications prescribed for type 2 diabetes.

Increases Muscle and Strength

Researchers continue to study ashwagandha’s efficacy in improving strength and muscle size. One study found participants experienced increased speed and strength. Another study observed an increase in muscle power, alongside a lower body fat percentage and reduced cholesterol levels when ashwagandha was consumed. Some participants also experienced better sleep, but this study did not compare ashwagandha consumption against a placebo. Ashwagandha treatments produced positive results in another study conducted solely with male participants. Compared to the placebo group, men who received ashwagandha saw significant gains in muscle strength (measured using bench press and leg extension exercises) and muscle size in their arms and chests, as well as a significant reduction in body fat percentage and post-workout muscle damage.

Improves Sexual Function in Women

At least one clinical study indicates ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction. The administration of ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction, as self-reported by the participants. It also significantly improved the number of successful sexual encounters and improved metrics of distress around their sex lives and sexuality.

Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men

Ashwagandha may also provide reproductive benefits for men. Administering ashwagandha to infertile men has shown to improve sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels. After one study, 14% of the male patients’ partners became pregnant. Separately, in a stress-related ashwagandha study, researchers found the herb increased testosterone levels in male but not female participants. Another study testing ashwagandha’s effect on muscle strength in men also measured a significant increase in testosterone.

Sharpens Focus and Memory

Ashwagandha may help improve cognition, memory and the ability to perform motor responses after instruction. Small studies have found that, compared to a placebo, ashwagandha significantly improved participants’ reaction times during cognition and psychomotor tests (which measure the ability to respond to instructions and perform an indicated action). One study even found that ashwagandha significantly improved participants’ attention spans, as well as their immediate and general memory across a variety of tests.

Supports Heart Health

At least two studies have shown that ashwagandha can increase VO2 max levels, which is the maximum amount of oxygen you take in while physically exerting yourself. These levels are used in measuring cardiorespiratory endurance—how well the heart and lungs deliver oxygen to muscles during physical activity. Thus, higher VO2 max levels can indicate a healthy heart that performs well under those circumstances.

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Ashwaghandha

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Ashwagandha may have a calming effect on anxiety symptoms. In a 2019 study , researchers found that taking a daily dose of 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha significantly reduced people’s stress levels when compared with a placebo. This included reduced levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone.

The long-term safety of ashwagandha is not known. Large doses of ashwagandha might cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems, including severe liver failure and a need for liver transplantation, might occur.

It improves the function of the reproductive system promoting a healthy sexual and reproductive balance. Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body’s resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body’s defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity.

Ashwagandha does not begin working immediately. In fact, according to most studies, results typically appear within 4-12 weeks. Still, some may feel a difference before then. Of course, there are factors that contribute to how long before it begins working.

when is the best time of day to take ashwagandha? To see the best results, most research recommends also taking Ashwagandha in the morning. Taking it twice a day can help your body maintain equilibrium in your adrenal system. You can buy ashwagandha in capsule form or as a powder to mix with coffee or tea.

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Ashwagandha has been shown to enhance muscle strength and size by stimulating protein synthesis. By promoting the growth of lean muscle, the herb supports a higher metabolic rate, aiding in the body’s ability to burn calories and fat more effectively.

Yes, ashwagandha supplements have been found to boost testosterone in both men and women.

It can take days to weeks before you begin to notice its effects.

Although ashwagandha is most often used to relieve stress and anxiety or to improve athletic performance, it also can be used as a sleep aid. By regulating the body’s stress response, it indirectly helps promote sleep by relaxing you. There also is some evidence that ashwagandha can cause drowsiness, too.

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that may offer several health benefits, such as improved blood sugar, inflammation, mood, memory, stress, and anxiety, as well as a boost in muscle strength and fertility. Dosages vary depending on your needs, but 250–500 mg per day for at least 1 month 

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