9 Proven Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha


For centuries, people have been using roots and herbs for medicinal purposes. Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is a nontoxic herb that is gaining public attention for its many health benefits. This herb, also known as winter cherry, or Indian Ginseng, has been used in Ayurveda for hundreds of years. 

Ayurveda is a traditional medicine system Indians use to treat various conditions like insomnia and rheumatism.  Practitioners use the ashwagandha root as a general tonic to increase vitality and reduce stress.

Also, some experts believe that the ashwagandha root extract may be beneficial in treating Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. 

In this article, we’ll cover the nine proven health benefits of ashwagandha. We’ll also look at other topics like the potential risks of ashwagandha and how to take ashwagandha.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is a popular traditional form of alternative medicine in Ayurveda. The ashwagandha root, so named for its “horsey” smell, is said to give its users the strength and vitality of a horse.

‘Ashva’ is the Sanskrit word for “horse,” while ‘gandhi’ means “smell.” The various parts of the ashwagandha plant have different uses. However, the ashwagandha supplement most people take is derived from an extract of its roots.

9 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha Root Extract

Adaptogens like ashwagandha increase the body’s natural resistance to stress. Research on rodents and cell cultures suggests that ashwagandha appears to have various health benefits. With that said, here are nine proven ashwagandha health benefits.

  • Stress And Anxiety Relief

The ability of ashwagandha to reduce anxiety is one of its most well-known effects. Stress, regardless of its form (physical, emotional, or psychological), usually involves cortisol.

The adrenal glands secrete cortisol, the “stress hormone,” in response to emotional or physical stress. However, this may be an advantage as several studies show that ashwagandha root may help reduce users’ anxiety and stress levels.

Also, experts believe that consuming ashwagandha may help improve the overall sleep quality of users. Furthermore, studies have also shown that people who take ashwagandha supplements have much lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who take placebos.

On the other hand, high doses of ashwagandha root extract are believed to considerably lower serum cortisol levels. One study found that ashwagandha reduced participants’ stress levels and improved their overall life quality.

When combined with other treatments, ashwagandha significantly improved mental clarity, physical stamina, social interaction, and vitality.

  • Lowers Fat And Blood Sugar Levels

Taking ashwagandha supplements won’t stop you from getting diabetes. However, they may help reduce the blood sugar spike from eating something like cake. Preliminary studies show that taking ashwagandha may improve blood glucose control and reduce the occurrence of blood sugar spikes and dips.

Although the mechanism is still unclear, animal studies suggest that ashwagandha’s antioxidant activities may have a role. According to several small clinical studies, ashwagandha treatment may effectively reduce triglycerides and blood glucose levels.

Experts also believe that ashwagandha can lower blood sugar levels similarly to conventional treatments for type 2 diabetes.

  • Increases Overall Physical Performance

Using ashwagandha powder or ashwagandha testosterone booster pills can increase strength and speed. According to studies, consuming this herb can help increase muscle power and reduce cholesterol levels and body fat percentage. However, more research on the effects of ashwagandha on increasing muscle mass and strength is ongoing.

  • Enhances Women’s Sexual Performance

Experts believe that ashwagandha’s stress-reducing properties may help women with libidinal issues. Additionally, this herb may help improve female sexual dysfunction by raising androgens.

At least one clinical study suggests that ashwagandha can help women dealing with sexual dysfunction. According to the study, participants reported a significant increase in orgasm, arousal, lubrication, and satisfaction following the administration of ashwagandha.

The study also showed that ashwagandha significantly boosted the number of fulfilling sexual encounters.

  • Boosts Male Fertility And Testosterone Production

The ashwagandha plant is also popular because of its positive effects on male fertility. Studies show that taking ashwagandha can boost sperm quality in infertile men by restoring hormonal balance.

Additionally, ashwagandha was found to raise testosterone levels in men but not women in a study involving stress. A considerable increase in testosterone was also observed in another study evaluating ashwagandha’s effect on muscular strength in men.

  • Improves Mental Health And Brain Function

Using the ashwagandha plant may cause improvement in cognitive function and memory. Additionally, this herb has shown promising results in improving motor response performance following instructions.

Studies show that ashwagandha performs far better at improving users’ reaction times during psychomotor and cognition tests than a placebo. These tests measure the ability to follow instructions and complete tasks.

Additionally, studies show that taking ashwagandha can improve attention spans and general memory across different tests.  Experts believe that the chemicals from this herb can help with brain cell regeneration.

Also, this herb has shown promise in treating Parkinson’s disease and mild cognitive impairment. Besides the above benefit, some scientific evidence suggests that this herb may help alleviate symptoms of other mental health conditions like depression and bipolar disorder.

Although studies suggest ashwagandha may have antidepressant properties, you shouldn’t use it in place of standard antidepressant medication. If you are experiencing depression symptoms, the best thing to do is visit a healthcare professional for advice or treatment.

  • Supports Heart Health

In addition to improving physical and mental health, this herb is also known to support heart health. At least two studies prove that Withania somnifera increases VO2 max. The VO2 max level measures the maximum amount of oxygen intake during exercise.

Scientists also use the VO2 max levels to measure cardiorespiratory endurance. This level also measures the efficiency of the lungs and heart in supplying oxygen to muscles during exercise.

Therefore, a healthy heart that performs well under certain conditions may have a higher-than-average VO2 max.

  • Boosts Immunity

In this modern age, intrinsic factors like inflammation, chronic stress, and lack of sleep can weaken your immune system. By improving all of these factors and enhancing general physical health and stamina, ashwagandha has considerably boosted our immunity.

Also, this ancient medicinal herb helps to improve the activity of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are the immune cells responsible for fighting infection.

  • Improves Rheumatoid Arthritis

Ashwagandha extract has also shown promising results in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Ashwagandha root appears to possess anti-inflammatory properties, making it a viable treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

The use of ashwagandha as an anti-inflammatory dates back centuries ago. Experts in ayurvedic medicine would make a paste from the root and administer it topically to treat pain and inflammation. 

According to a small study, combining ashwagandha powder with another ayurvedic treatment for arthritis can help ease painful joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Further studies also show that consuming ashwagandha helps decrease C-reactive protein levels (CRP).

CRP is an inflammatory marker that causes heart disease. However, more research needs to be done to fully understand this herb’s anti-inflammatory properties.

Potential Risks And Side Effects Of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a safe herbal plant that benefits the body in several ways. This herbal plant helps to promote restful sleep, boost cognitive functions, and relieve stress and anxiety symptoms.Furthermore, you can read about how to cure anxiety through ashwagandha or any other natural herbs. Although ashwagandha is generally considered safe, this herb isn’t for everyone.

Consuming ashwagandha root may trigger adverse side effects in certain groups of people. For example, people with thyroid issues should avoid using this herb. . Do not use this herb without consulting a doctor if you have thyroid problems.

Ashwagandha augments thyroid function by converting T4 to T3. T3 is the more active form of the thyroid hormone, while T4 is the less potent thyroid hormone. While ashwagandha could improve thyroid function in healthy adults, it could contribute to frank hyperthyroidism.

This usually happens in people with borderline overactive thyroids. On a related note, ashwagandha may be unsafe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. This herb may also trigger side effects in immunocompromised individuals and people about to undergo surgery. 

Additionally, if you have certain grass allergies, talk to your doctor to determine whether this herb is safe. If any of these situations apply to you, talk to your doctor or a health specialist to determine whether it’s safe for you to take ashwagandha.

Furthermore, this herb is known to weaken or enhance the effects of other medications. So, if you are currently on medications, inform your doctor before adding ashwagandha to your health routine. If you fall into any of these groups, you should talk to a professional physician before taking this herb.

If you don’t, taking ashwagandha may trigger side effects like drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach upset. Other people who should consult a doctor before using ashwagandha are those with stomach ulcers, diabetes, and hormone-sensitive prostate cancer.

How Does Ashwagandha Work?

Ashwagandha is rich in bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, steroidal lactones, glycosides, and steroids. This plant also contains withanolides, a class of steroidal lactones widely credited with contributing to the plant’s beneficial effects.

The ashwagandha plant is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. These qualities are responsible, at least partly, for most of its beneficial effects. Consuming ashwagandha can increase the levels of antioxidant enzymes in the body.

This includes antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. Additionally, this herb effectively inhibits lipid peroxidation, which is a major benefit. On the other hand, ashwagandha appears to affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which may account for some of its stress-relieving properties.

This also plays an important role in the body’s stress response due to the plant’s ability to lower cortisol levels. Furthermore, ashwagandha appears to change the signaling of various neurotransmitters, which are dysfunctional in anxiety and stress-related disorders.

The beneficial effects of this herb for sleep may be attributable to its ability to enhance signaling through GABAA receptors. On the other hand, ashwagandha could help you improve your endurance by increasing hemoglobin levels.

Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells (RBCs) that carries oxygen throughout the body. However, more research is required to confirm this effectiveness. On a side note, ashwagandha’s effectiveness on reproductive health is due to its antioxidative properties and ability to boost testosterone production.

This effect is more evident in males who suffer from infertility and have low testosterone levels. However, some preliminary research suggests that ashwagandha may also increase testosterone levels in healthy males.

How To Take Indian Ginseng

The berries and roots of the ashwagandha plant have medicinal properties, so you can harvest and consume them. However, thanks to technology, ashwagandha is now available in tablet, tincture, powder, supplement capsule, and tea form.

If you’re a newbie, ashwagandha tea is a great way to ease into this herb’s benefits and add to your daily water intake. However, if you want to spice things up, try mixing in some ashwagandha powder with your food.

For example, you can get some ashwagandha powder and mix it into smoothies, granola, or nut butter. Just ensure you don’t expose the powder to high temperatures. Note that exposing your ashwagandha to heat will nullify the herb’s medicinal properties and perhaps make it carcinogenic.

The best way to keep your ashwagandha powder is over medium heat. You can also add some ashwagandha to dishes near the end of cooking time. However, note that it is also safe to add raw ashwagandha directly to your food. 

Dosage Information

The daily dose of ashwagandha root extract ranges from 250 to 600 milligrams. The standard recommended dosage is 600 milligrams (mg) daily. However, you can divide the dosage into two doses; one in the morning and the other in the evening.

Doses higher than 600 mg per day may produce better results. However, this theory needs more investigation. According to scientific evidence, 600 mg/day is a more effective dose than lower levels for enhancing sleep quality.

Also, athletes engaging in strenuous exercise may benefit from dosing between 600 and 1,000 mg daily. Most experts believe that the body may not completely absorb a single 300-milligram dose of ashwagandha.

Larger doses are more likely to trigger unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. As a result, it’s best to introduce your body to smaller doses at a time. Doing so will allow your body to enjoy the herb’s balancing effects.

Besides, it is unknown whether the frequency with which you take ashwagandha affects its efficacy. Plus, it is unknown if taking breaks affects the herb’s effectiveness.

Factors To Consider When Buying Ashwagandha Supplements

Ashwagandha is available in different forms. Most brands offer ashwagandha gummies, tinctures, capsules, and tea. Regardless of your option, ensure you follow the dosage instructions of the brand.

You can find the dosage instructions on the product’s label or the brand’s official website. Note that you may suffer certain side effects if you choose to go overboard. On the other hand, look for ashwagandha products that have been tested and verified by independent labs. 

Looking for lab testing is one of the best ways to know if an ashwagandha supplement is good and safe for consumption. Independent labs you can trust include United States Pharmacopeia (USP), National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF International), and ConsumerLab.

Furthermore, always question the origin of the ashwagandha. If you are buying capsules, always check the source of the herbs. If you are buying your supplement from supplement stores or health food stores, ensure you ask the staff for recommendations.

When buying ashwagandha online, ensure you research the brand before making purchases. Check if the brand buys its herb from a reputable source and subjects its product to independent labs for testing. Also, check the brand’s certifications, product standards, and customer service policies. 

Conclusion: Ashwagandha Is A Safe Herb To Use? 

Ashwagandha is a popular herbal plant in the Ayurvedic treatment system. This herbal plant is gaining public attention due to the many health benefits it provides to the body. We’ve already made a list of the 9 proven health benefits of ashwagandha in this article.

For example, this herb helps in reducing stress, improving arthritis, boosting the central nervous system, and improving cognitive functioning. However, although this herb is beneficial, it isn’t suitable for everyone.

Pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, immunocompromised individuals, and people currently on medication should avoid using this herb. Also, if you have any thyroid problems, we advise you to see a doctor before using this herb.



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