Ashwagandha Benefits – Latest Research Included

Full Disclosure

The potential benefits of Ashwagandha are improved athletic performance and better sleep. There is evidence that suggests the herb could help those who suffer from conditions such as anxiety and infertility. However, more research studies are needed.

Ashwagandha is among the most significant herbs used in Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine based upon Indian fundamentals for natural cures.

For many years, people have used ashwagandha to ease tension, boost energy levels, and increase concentration.

“Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of a horse,” which refers to the herb's scent and potential capacity to improve a horse's strength.

Its botanical title is Withania somnifera. It's also known by various names, such as “Indian Ginseng” or “winter cherries.”

The ashwagandha plant is a tiny shrub with yellow flowers indigenous to India and Southeast Asia. People use extracts or powder from the roots and leaves to cure a range of disorders, including fertility and anxiety.

Here are 8 benefits of Ashwagandha, according to research.

1. Can help ease anxiety and stress.

Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its capacity to ease stress. It's an adaptogen, a chemical that helps the body deal with stress.

Ashwagandha could help regulate stress-related mediators like Hsp70, heat-shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol, and stress-activated N-terminal c-Jun protein kinase (JNK-1).

It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a system in your body that regulates the stress response.

The research suggests Ashwagandha supplements can help ease anxiety and stress.

In a tiny study involving 58 people, those who took 250 to 600 mg of Ashwagandha extract over 8 weeks showed significant reductions in perceived stress levels and levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, as compared to those who took the placebo.

Ashwagandha supplements also improved sleep quality compared to the placebo group.

A second study with 60 participants discovered that those who consumed the ashwagandha extract of 240 mg every day for 60 days experienced significant reductions in anxiety when compared with those who were given the placebo.

According to research, the early evidence suggests that ashwagandha could be a beneficial supplement for anxiety and stress.

A review in 2021 of research found that there was no evidence sufficient to establish an opinion on the most effective dosage and type of ashwagandha to treat anxiety-related neuropsychiatric disorders that are triggered by stress like anxiety.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha can be effective in decreasing anxiety and stress-related symptoms. However, more research is needed to come up with a consensus regarding the best methods and dosages to deal with stress and stress-related disorders.

2. Could improve the performance of athletes

Studies have shown that ashwagandha can improve athletes' performance. It could be a beneficial addition to athletes' diets.

One analysis contained 12 studies of people who consumed ashwagandha dosages between 120 and 1,250 mg daily. The results suggest that the herb can improve physical performance, such as endurance and oxygen consumption, when exercising.

Another study, which examined five studies, showed that taking Ashwagandha significantly increased the intake of oxygen (VO2 max) in healthy adults and athletes.

Vo2 max is the most oxygen a person can use in intense exercise. It's a measure of the fitness of the heart and lungs.

Achieving a high VO2 max is crucial for all athletes and non-athletes. A low VO2 max is linked with a higher risk of mortality; however, a higher VO2 max has been associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease.

In addition, Ashwagandha can assist in increasing muscle strength.

In a 2015 study, the male participants who consumed 600 milligrams of Ashwagandha each day and engaged in a resistance-training program for eight weeks showed significantly more increases in size and strength than the placebo group.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha can help improve the physical performance measures for healthy adults and athletes, including VO2 max and strength.

3. Might help alleviate symptoms of certain mental health disorders.

A few studies suggest that ashwagandha can help to reduce symptoms of mental health issues, such as depression, in certain groups.

One study examined how ashwagandha affected the brain of schizophrenia sufferers with anxiety and depression.

The researchers found that those who consumed 1,000 mg of Ashwagandha extract each day for 12 weeks experienced higher reductions in depression as well as anxiety than participants who were taking a placebo.

The limited research conducted in 2013 suggests that ashwagandha could help to improve the cognitive performance of people suffering from bipolar disorder.

A review in 2021 concluded that ashwagandha could help in managing insomnia, depression, anxiety, as well as other mental health and neurological problems.

However, there is a need for more research into these applications.

SUMMARY

The little research available suggests that Ashwagandha can aid in the reduction of symptoms of depression and help those suffering from mental health disorders. But further research is required.

4. It may boost testosterone and increase the chances of men becoming fertile

Ashwagandha supplements have been proven in a few studies to improve male fertility and boost testosterone levels.

One study showed that 43 men between the ages of 40 and 70 who were overweight and fatigued were prescribed tablets with Ashwagandha extract or placebo every day for eight weeks.

The treatment was linked to an increase of 18% in DHEA-S, the testosterone-related sex hormone that is involved in production. People who used the herb also saw the benefit of a 14.7 percent higher rise in testosterone than those who used the placebo.

In addition, a review showed four studies that showed that ashwagandha treatment significantly improved the quantity of sperm, semen, and sperm motility among males with low sperm counts.

It also increased sperm count and motility in males with average sperm counts.

However, further research is required.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha could help increase testosterone levels. It could also provide some benefits to male fertility. However, more research is necessary.

5. May reduce blood sugar levels

There is limited evidence to suggest that ashwagandha might have advantages for those suffering from high blood sugar or diabetes levels.

A study review comprising 24 studies, including 5 clinical trials, of people suffering from diabetes concluded that treatment with ashwagandha significantly decreased blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), insulin levels, blood lipids, and other markers of oxidative stress.

It could be because certain components in ashwagandha—such as one called withaferin A (WA)—have a potent anti-diabetic effect and can help stimulate cells to take glucose from the bloodstream.

Research is, however, currently limited, but more well-designed studies are needed.

SUMMARY

A limited amount of evidence suggests that ashwagandha can lower blood sugar levels by affecting insulin production and the cells' capacity to remove glucose from the bloodstream.

6. May reduce inflammation

Ashwagandha is a source of compounds, such as WA, that can help reduce inflammation within the body.

Animal studies have demonstrated that WA can also help reduce the levels of inflammation proteins, such as interleukin-10 (IL-10), and there's some evidence that ashwagandha can help reduce inflammatory markers in humans, too.

In a study in 2021, researchers administered to people suffering from COVID-19 an Ayurvedic medicine containing 0.5 milligrams of Ashwagandha along with other herbs twice daily for 7 days. The participants' levels of the inflammatory markers CRP, TNF-a, and IL-6 were reduced in comparison to an untreated placebo.

The formulation of the treatment also included:

  • 1 gram of giloy-ghanvati (Tinospora cordifolia)
  • 2 grams of swasari rasas (a traditional herbal-mineral formula)
  • 0.5 grams of the tulsi ghanvati (Ocimum sanctum)

However, research on Ashwagandha's effects on inflammation is restricted.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha could help in reducing inflammation markers within the body. However, further research is required.

7. Improve the function of the brain and memory

Taking ashwagandha may benefit cognitive function.

A study of five clinical studies revealed the first evidence of ashwagandha's ability to enhance cognitive performance in a few groups, such as older adults suffering from mild cognitive decline, as well as those suffering from schizophrenia.

Cognitive functions that could be beneficial include:

  • executive functioning
  • Pay attention
  • Reaction time
  • performance in cognitive tasks

A study conducted on 50 adults found the consumption of 600 mg of extract from ashwagandha every day for eight weeks led to significant improvements in the following aspects when compared to taking the placebo

  • General and immediate memory
  • Attention
  • information-processing speed

The researchers found that the antioxidants found in ashwagandha, which includes WA, may affect the brain, improving cognitive health.

But, further research is required before experts draw firm conclusions.

SUMMARY

Ashwagandha supplementation may help increase memory, reaction speed, and the ability to accomplish tasks in certain groups. However, further research is needed.

8. Could aid in improving sleep

Ashwagandha is a popular herb used to aid in restful sleep, and some studies suggest it could also help with sleep problems.

A study of 50 adults aged 65-80 showed that consuming 600 mg of ashwagandha daily for 12 weeks improved the quality of sleep and mental alertness when waking up compared to a placebo.

A review of five quality studies showed that ashwagandha could:

  • are a minor but significant positive impact on sleep quality
  • lower anxiety levels
  • Help people feel more alert as they wake up.

The effects were more prominent for insomnia sufferers and in people who consumed over 600 mg per day for 8 weeks or more.

SUMMARY

Recent research suggests that Ashwagandha is a natural remedy for enhancing sleep, particularly for people suffering from insomnia.

Safety and adverse negative effects

Ashwagandha is probably beneficial for most people if consumed for up to three months, but its long-term effects remain a mystery.

But, ashwagandha might not be safe for someone who:

  • Is pregnant, because dosages can result in loss of the pregnancy
  • Is breastfeeding a necessity?
  • Hormone-sensitive prostate cancer
  • are taking certain medicines like benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or anticonvulsants in the process of having surgery
  • is an autoimmune thyroid disorder.
  • Has liver problems

Certain people who take Ashwagandha supplements have reported adverse reactions that follow:

  • Upper gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

The effects of Ashwagandha may not be instantaneous; however, it might take some time before you notice them.

Always consult a physician to confirm that ashwagandha or other supplements are suitable.

Dosage

The recommended dosage for ashwagandha varies. Studies have revealed doses ranging from 250 to 1,250 mg per day that are effective for a variety of ailments. Talk to a doctor if you have any questions about the Ashwagandha dosage.

Ashwagandha can be a supplement to your diet in various ways. You can take one dose or multiple doses throughout the day. You can also take it with meals or even on unfulfilled stomachs.

How much Ashwagandha should you consume daily? Learn more.

SUMMARY

While ashwagandha is safe for most people, it's certainly not safe for all. It is important to consult an expert in your medical field prior to taking ashwagandha to ensure that it's suitable for you and that you take the right dosage.

Frequently asked questions

What are the advantages of Ashwagandha?

The potential benefits of Ashwagandha are:

  • reducing stress
  • Improved sleep
  • Enhancing the performance of athletes
  • Improved memory
  • male fertility increases
  • reducing inflammation
  • controlling blood sugar

What happens if you take ashwagandha regularly?

The effects of Ashwagandha take time to manifest and a medical professional might suggest taking one dose per day. But the long-term effects remain a mystery, and the experts recommend taking it for 3 months.

Who is not safe to drink Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is not always secure:

  • during pregnancy
  • during nursing
  • If you suffer from thyroid or prostate cancer or an autoimmune disorder
  • If you are planning to undergo surgery, you should know.
  • If you suffer from liver issues
  • If you are taking benzodiazepines or any other medication

Always consult with a healthcare expert prior to using Ashwagandha.

Why is Ashwagandha not FDA-approved?

Because Ashwagandha is a natural herbal supplement that the FDA does not control. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Bottom Line

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that can provide a variety of health benefits.

Research findings suggest that it could help reduce stress and anxiety, promote restful sleep, and improve cognitive function in certain groups.

Ashwagandha is probably safe for most people in the short term. However, it's not recommended for everyone. It's essential to consult an expert in the field prior to adding ashwagandha to your daily routine.

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