Ashwagandha is a herb that holds significant health benefits, backed by research findings. For millennia, this traditional Ayurvedic remedy has been used to lessen stress, boost energy, and sharpen attention. The word “Ashwagandha,” which means “horse smell” in Sanskrit, denotes the herb’s propensity to boost power.
Also known as Withania somnifera, Indian ginseng, or winter cherry, this herb is a small shrub with yellow flowers native to India and Southeast Asia. People use extracts or powder from its roots and leaves to address various conditions, including anxiety and fertility issues.
Here are eight possible health advantages of Ashwagandha based on research:
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: As an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps the body deal with stress.
Heat shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol, and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1) are a few examples of stress mediators that it might help regulate.
Studies suggest that Ashwagandha supplements can significantly reduce perceived stress and cortisol levels, leading to improvements in sleep quality.
- Athletic Performance: Research indicates that Ashwagandha may enhance physical performance, including strength and oxygen utilization during exercise. Additionally, it might aid in enhancing muscle strength, particularly when combined with resistance training.
- Mental Health Support: Evidence suggests that Ashwagandha might help reduce symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. In one study, individuals with schizophrenia experiencing depression and anxiety showed significant improvements after taking Ashwagandha extract. It may also aid in managing cognitive impairment in people with bipolar disorder.
- Male Fertility and Testosterone Boost: Some studies indicate that Ashwagandha supplements can positively impact male fertility by increasing testosterone levels. It has been associated with higher testosterone production and improved sperm count, motility, and volume.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Limited evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may benefit people with diabetes or high blood sugar levels. The anti-diabetic properties of ashwagandha may lower oxidative stress indicators, hemoglobin A1c, insulin, blood lipids, and blood sugar levels.
- Ashwagandha includes compounds that may help the body by lowering inflammation.
Studies on both animal and human subjects have revealed a decline in inflammatory proteins.
It may be beneficial in mitigating inflammation-related conditions.
- Cognitive Function Improvement: Ashwagandha may positively impact cognitive function, including memory, attention, and information-processing speed. Preliminary evidence indicates that it could benefit older adults with mild cognitive impairment and individuals with schizophrenia.
- Brain Health: Compounds in Ashwagandha, such as WA, possess antioxidant effects that may contribute to better cognitive health.
While Ashwagandha shows promising potential, more comprehensive and well-designed studies are required to fully understand its efficacy and dosage recommendations for various health conditions. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any herbal cure or supplement.