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  • Drew Herb Lesser

8 Health benefits of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Updated: Dec 20, 2023




Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a popular Ayurvedic herb that has been traditionally used to improve overall health and well-being. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with ashwagandha:

  1. Reducing stress and anxiety: Studies have found that ashwagandha can help to reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and symptoms of stress and anxiety.

  2. Improving cognitive function: Ashwagandha has been found to improve memory and reaction time in healthy adults.

  3. Promoting cardiovascular health: Ashwagandha has been found to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  4. Increasing muscle mass and strength: Ashwagandha has been found to increase muscle mass and strength in young men who participate in resistance training programs.

  5. Improving fertility and testosterone in men: Ashwagandha has been found to increase sperm count and improve testosterone levels in men.

  6. Helping with symptoms of ADHD: Some preliminary studies have showed Ashwagandha may help with some symptoms of ADHD by helping to improve focus and attention.

  7. Anti-inflammatory properties: Ashwagandha has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which might be beneficial for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

  8. Antioxidant effects: Ashwagandha has been found to have antioxidant effects, which can help to protect the body against damage from free radicals.


One study, published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine in 2012, found that taking ashwagandha extract for 60 days reduced cortisol levels (a stress hormone) by an average of 27%, while also reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety by 44% in individuals with a history of chronic stress. Another study, published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine in 2014, found that taking ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks improved memory and reaction time in healthy adults.




In terms of cardiovascular health, an animal study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2010 found that ashwagandha extract helped lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduced the risk of heart disease. Another study, published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure in 2013, of patients with chronic heart failure found that taking ashwagandha helped improve heart function and reduce symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue.



Additionally, ashwagandha is found to have some benefit for physical fitness. An study published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in 2019, showed that supplementation of ashwagandha for a period of 8 weeks can help to increase muscle mass and strength in young men who participate in resistance training program.


In terms of usage and dosage, ashwagandha is available in various forms including capsules, tablets, powder, and liquid extract. Studies have used doses of ashwagandha root powder or extract, typically between 300-500 mg, two to three times per day. However, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplement, as they can help determine the best dosage and usage for your individual needs.


It's worth noting that while these studies indicate potential benefits, it is important to note that further research is needed to confirm the effects and safety of Ashwagandha as a treatment for any conditions. Self-treating with ashwagandha and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.


In conclusion, Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. The recent studies suggest that ashwagandha may have a variety of benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving cognitive function, promoting cardiovascular health, and increasing muscle mass and strength. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects and to determine the optimal dosage and usage. As with any supplement, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before starting to take ashwagandha.




References:

  • Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, "A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults"

  • Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers

  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology, "Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males




Disclaimer:


This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is provided for educational purposes only. It should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The author is NOT a Doctor. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.





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