Over the years, adaptogens have earned their rightful place in the world of wellness. Primarily known as anti-stress agents, adaptogenic substances have helped legions of people conquer the demands of modern times.
One popular adaptogenic herb is ashwagandha. The wonderful health benefits of ashwagandha are celebrated all over the globe. It’s no surprise, then, that ashwagandha supplements are highly sought by people who are looking to maintain good health in spite of their busy lifestyle.
Ashwagandha benefits your body in a variety of ways. It not only protects you against the harmful effects of stress, but it also improves and supports other aspects of your health in ways that may surprise you.
Below, we’ve listed eight benefits of ashwagandha along with several studies that illustrate this herb’s massive potential. From reducing cortisol to fighting anxiety to combating inflammation, this herb may just be what you need to upgrade your productivity, disposition, and overall wellbeing.
But first, what is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, whose scientific name is Withania somnifera, has been a mainstay in the world of Ayurvedic healing. Prized by traditional healing systems for its ability to relieve stress, improve focus, and boost energy levels, ashwagandha is also called Indian ginseng and winter cherry in other parts of the world.
The ashwagandha plant is a shrub that bears yellow flowers. Supplements are typically made from the root of the plant, although the leaves have some medicinal uses, as well.
Health experts attribute many of ashwagandha’s healing properties to its withanolide content. Withanolides are naturally-occurring steroids that have anti-inflammatory and tumor-fighting properties.
8 Ashwagandha Benefits
Now that you know more about ashwagandha’s background and history, let’s move on to its benefits. Here are eight ways this medicinal herb can help improve your health.
1. Ashwagandha can help fight the effects of stress.
Feeling stressed is already bad in itself. But what makes it really burdensome is that it produces a ripple effect in the body.
Stress leads to heightened levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This then leads to a bunch of unpleasant health effects like increased belly fat, poorer brain function, acne, and high blood pressure, among others.
Ashwagandha may help the body fight the effects of stress by lowering cortisol levels. In one study, consumption of high-concentration ashwagandha root extract made a significant difference in stress resistance among adults. As a result, those that received the extract reported an increase in their quality of life.
Researchers suggest that ashwagandha’s stress-reducing properties could be attributed to its ability to block the stress pathway in the brain. This effect has also been illustrated in animal studies.
2. It may help reduce symptoms of anxiety
Ashwagandha’s anxiety-fighting properties have been illustrated in several human and animal studies.
In a controlled trial among employees with anxiety, naturopathic care that included supplementation with ashwagandha extract led to a significant decrease in anxiety and an improvement in quality of life indicators.
In a different study, human subjects with a history of chronic stress and anxiety symptoms received Ashwagandha extract every day for two months. By the end of the treatment period, those who took ashwagandha supplements reported a bigger reduction in insomnia and anxiety compared to those who did not take the supplement.
Another study that investigated ashwagandha’s anxiety-reducing ability showed the herb’s promising anxiolytic potential even more. In it, as much as 88% of people who took the supplement experienced a reduction in anxiety symptoms.
3. Ashwagandha can help lower blood sugar levels.
Ashwagandha can also help combat high glucose levels in the blood. This effect is chiefly attributed to the herb’s positive impact on insulin production and sensitivity. However, ashwagandha’s cortisol-lowering properties may also be a factor, knowing that high cortisol is associated with high blood sugar.
In a study involving 98 adults with chronic stress, ashwagandha extract was able to help lower fasting blood glucose.
In a separate smaller study, ashwagandha was able to lower fasting blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients. According to the study, the result obtained from ashwagandha was comparable to that of an oral diabetes drug.
At this point, of course, it hasn’t been established if ashwagandha can replace conventional hypoglycemic medication. Nonetheless, its effects are promising for individuals who are looking to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
4. It supports heart health.
In addition to its blood glucose-lowering effects, ashwagandha also supports heart health by lowering the risk of heart disease and reducing triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Research involving hypercholesteremic rats showed ashwagandha’s cholesterol-lowering ability. In the study, taking ashwagandha powder led to a 53% decrease in total cholesterol and a 45% decrease in triglycerides among the subjects.
In human studies, the impact of ashwagandha consumption on cholesterol and triglyceride was less pronounced, but nonetheless significant.
In one study with 98 human subjects, those who took a total of 500 mg of ashwagandha extract per day enjoyed a 17% decrease in bad cholesterol. On average, their triglyceride levels also dropped 11%.
The same study also found that supplementing with ashwagandha extract led to a 36% decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a protein that is linked to higher risks of heart disease. This result points to ashwagandha’s potential to reduce heart disease risk.
5. Ashwagandha can help fight inflammation and infection.
According to animal studies, ashwagandha may be a useful anti-inflammatory agent.
On top of this, ashwagandha also demonstrated immune system-boosting properties. The herb was able to increase natural killer (NK) cell activity. NK cells play a vital role in the body’s immune response to infections. That said, this effect of ashwagandha can help you fend off sickness and stay healthy.
In another human study, taking ashwagandha root extract had a positive impact on immune cell activation in human subjects. This indicates the herb’s potential in supporting the function of lymphocytes or immune cells.
6. Ashwagandha is good for brain function and memory.
In Ayurvedic practice, ashwagandha has traditionally been used to improve memory. In recent years, several studies have explored its ability to boost brain function and memory. According to research, ashwagandha helps protect nerve cells from cell damage by promoting antioxidant activity.
In a study of 50 adults, taking ashwagandha root extract daily resulted in an improvement in the subjects’ attention, general memory, and performance.
In another double-blind research, standardized ashwagandha extract was able to improve cognitive and psychomotor performance among 20 healthy adult men.
Moreover, animal studies involving rats showed that ashwagandha can potentially be used to fight the negative effects of sleep loss on learning and memory. According to the research, ashwagandha supplements may help control the negative impact of sleep deprivation on brain function.
7. It can help raise testosterone levels and support fertility in men.
Ashwagandha extract may have a positive impact on testosterone levels and help men who are suffering from fertility issues.
One study investigated the effect of ashwagandha on stress-related male fertility. After three months of daily ashwagandha supplementation, the treated subjects experienced a reduction in stress and an improvement in their overall semen quality.
A separate study concluded that ashwagandha may be used as an empirical therapy for the management and treatment of infertility.
Lastly, ashwagandha root was shown to help improve sperm count and motility among 75 infertile male subjects in a 2010 study. Along with this, the treatment also led to reduced oxidative stress.
8. Ashwagandha promotes strength and muscle building.
Ashwagandha isn’t only an excellent supplement for internal health and fighting stress. This promising herb has got something to offer in support of physical strength and muscle building, as well.
In one study, ashwagandha has been found to help boost muscle strength and mass in combination with weight training or resistance training. In addition, body fat percentage was significantly lowered among the subjects after taking ashwagandha for eight weeks.
In another study, ashwagandha capsules helped improve sleep quality, boost muscle activity, and reduce body fat among healthy male and female volunteers.
Buy Ashwagandha Supplements Philippines
Ashwagandha supplements are now available in the Philippines via www.puritansprideph.com.
Puritan’s Pride Ashwagandha capsules contain 500 mg of Ashwagandha root extract each. Each capsule has been standardized to contain 1.5% withanolides. With just two capsules a day, you’ll get to experience ashwagandha’s stress-fighting properties and other natural health benefits.
Learn more about the best ashwagandha supplement in the Philippines by clicking this link. Looking for something else? Puritan’s Pride offers a variety of other herbal supplements for various needs.