One of the most crucial herbs in Ayurveda, a traditional alternative medicine founded on Indian ideas of natural healing, is ashwagandha.
For thousands of years, people have taken ashwagandha to reduce stress, boost energy, and sharpen focus.
Ashwagandha, which translates as “smell of the horse” in Sanskrit, alludes to both the herb’s aroma and its propensity to boost strength.
Withania somnifera is its scientific name, although it is commonly referred to by several other names, such as “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry.”
Ashwagandha is a tiny shrub with yellow blooms that is indigenous to Southeast Asia and India. Several illnesses may be treated using extracts or powder from the plant’s roots or leaves, including anxiety and problems with conception.
1. Might lessen tension and anxiety
The potential of ashwagandha to lessen stress is likely its most well-known use. It falls under the category of an adaptogen, a drug that aids the body in coping with stress.
Heat shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol, and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase are among the stress mediators that ashwagandha appears to assist regulate (JNK-1)
Additionally, it lessens the activity of the body’s HPA axis, which controls how your body responds to stress.
Supplements containing ashwagandha may help reduce stress and anxiety, according to several research.
In a short trial with 58 individuals, those who consumed either 250 or 600 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for eight weeks experienced considerably lower levels of perceived stress and cortisol than those who consumed a placebo.
2. May aid in increasing testosterone levels and male fertility in males
Some research has indicated that ashwagandha supplements can improve male fertility and raise testosterone levels.
In one research, for eight weeks, 43 overweight men aged 40 to 70 who had mild fatigue were administered ashwagandha extract pills or a placebo.
DHEA-S, a sex hormone involved in the synthesis of testosterone, increased by 18% more during the ashwagandha therapy. A 14.7% larger rise in testosterone was seen in those who took the herb compared to those who took a placebo.
An analysis of four trials also revealed that males with low sperm counts saw a considerable improvement in sperm concentration, semen volume, and motility when given ashwagandha.
3. May lower blood glucose levels
There is some evidence that ashwagandha may help those with diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
Ashwagandha administration significantly lowered blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), insulin, blood lipids, and indicators of oxidative stress, according to an analysis of 24 investigations, including 5 clinical studies in persons with diabetes.
Withaferin A (WA), a component in ashwagandha, is thought to have potent anti-diabetic properties and may encourage your cells to absorb glucose from your circulation.
4. May enhance mental processes, including memory
Ashwagandha supplementation could enhance cognitive function.
Early research suggests that ashwagandha may enhance cognitive performance in several populations, including older persons with moderate cognitive impairment and those with schizophrenia. This review, which comprised five clinical investigations, made this observation.
It may enhance several cognitive processes, including:
executive function, attention, response time, and cognitive task performance
In comparison to taking a placebo, research on 50 individuals found that consuming 600 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for 8 weeks significantly improved the following measures:
information processing speed for the short-term and long-term memories
Researchers point out that ashwagandha’s constituents, especially WA, have antioxidant effects in the brain that may improve cognitive function.
5. Might enhance sleep
Ashwagandha is commonly used to encourage sound sleep, and some research indicates it may be effective for other sleep-related problems.
For instance, a study of 50 people between the ages of 65 and 80 revealed that consuming 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily for 12 weeks significantly increased mental alertness when awake compared to a placebo.
An evaluation of five high-quality trials also revealed that ashwagandha improved total sleep quality in a minor but substantial way.
People who took ashwagandha reported feeling less anxious and more awake when they woke up.
The benefits were more obvious, according to the researchers, in individuals with insomnia and in those who took more than 600 mg per day for at least eight weeks