7 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Dicle Belul

Recently, there are natural choices that can help with stress. One of them is the roots of Ashwagandha. Therefore, I wanted to share with you a scientific article for Ashwagandha.

Research on ashwagandha continues to evolve as scientists around the world study its efficacy against a variety of ailments.

Here are a few science-backed benefits of ashwagandha.

1. 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 [2,3]

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[4].

2. 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)[5]. One study likened ashwagandha’s blood sugar-lowering effects to those of medications prescribed for type 2 diabetes[6].

3. 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[7]. Another study observed an increase in muscle power, alongside a lower body fat percentage and reduced cholesterol levels when ashwagandha was consumed[8]. Some participants also experienced better sleep, but this study did not compare ashwagandha consumption against a placebo.

4. Improves Sexual Function in Women

At least one clinical study indicates ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction[10]. 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.

5. Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men

Ashwagandha may also provide reproductive benefits for men. Administering ashwagandha to infertile men has been shown to improve sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels[11]. After one study, 14% of the male patients’ partners became pregnant[12].

Separately, in a stress-related ashwagandha study, researchers found the herb increased testosterone levels in male but not female participants[13]. Another study testing ashwagandha’s effect on muscle strength in men also measured a significant increase in testosterone[14].

6. 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)[15].

7. 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[17][18]. 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.

With that said, this one study’s results may not apply universally since it was conducted with healthy, athletic adults exclusively as opposed to a more diverse group of participants.

References

Ashwagandha. Medline Plus. Accessed 6/8/2021.

Triglycerides. MedlinePlus. Accessed 6/9/2021.

Oral Hypoglycemic Drugs. Boulder Medical Center. Accessed 6/9/2021.

Psychomotor. The Free Dictionary Medical Dictionary. 6/9/2021.

Footnotes

Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, Gilca M. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-213.

Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014;20(12):901-908.

Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186.

Salve J, Pate S, Debnath K, et al. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus. 2019;11(12): e6466.

Agnihotri AP, Sontakke SD, Thawani VR, Saoji A, Goswami VS. Effects of Withania somnifera in patients of schizophrenia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial study. Indian J Pharmacol. 2013;45(4):417-418.

Andalou B, Radhika B. Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of winter cherry (Withania somnifera, Dunal) root. Indian J Exp Biol. 2000;38(6):607-609.

Sandhu JS, Shah B, Shenoy S, Chauhan S, Lavekar GS, Padhi MM. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(3):144-149.

Raut AA, Rege NN, Tadvi FM, et al. Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012;3(3):111-114.

Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:43.

Dongre S, Langade D, Bhattacharyya S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:284154.

Gupta A, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, et al. Efficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: a proton NMR study at 800 MHz. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013;149(1):208-214.

Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, et al. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility [published online ahead of print, 2009 Sep 29]. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009;2011:576962.

Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186.

Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:43.

Pingali U, Pilli R, Fatima N. Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants. Pharmacognosy Res. 2014;6(1):12-18.

Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Bose S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. J Diet Suppl. 2017;14(6):599-612.

Choudhary B, Shetty A, Langade DG. Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults. Ayu. 2015;36(1):63-68.

Sandhu JS, Shah B, Shenoy S, Chauhan S, Lavekar GS, Padhi MM. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(3):144-149.

Harris ES, Cao S, Littlefield BA, et al. Heavy metal and pesticide content in commonly prescribed individual raw Chinese Herbal Medicines. Sci Total Environ. 2011;409(20):4297-4305.

Ćwieląg-Drabek M, Piekut A, Szymala I, et al. Health risks from consumption of medicinal plant dietary supplements. Food Sci Nutr. 2020;8(7):3535-3544.

Comments / 0

Published by

Certified Vegan Nutritionist Personal Trainer Content Creator

New York, NY
2610 followers

More from Dicle Belul

Comments / 0