The ashwagandha root is found in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Medicine can be made out of the roof and berry of the small green shrub.
The most common use of the ashwagandha root is to combat stress. Many other uses have been reported, but more scientific research needs to be before anything can be confirmed. (1)
Ashwagandha root offers multiple benefits for your brain and body. For example, it can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Some commonly known benefits of Ashwagandha root that are proven scientifically are written below:
Benefits of Ashwagandha Root
1. Is an Ancient Medicinal Herb
Based on the Indian principles of natural healing, Ashwagandha is an essential herb in alternative medicine, Ayurveda.
It has many uses like relieving stress, increasing energy levels, and improving concentration.
The reason for it being so beneficial is its high concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to fight inflammation and tumor growth.
2. Can reduce blood sugar levels
Many studies have reported that ashwagandha can help lower blood sugar levels.
A test-tube study reported that insulin secretion was increased, and insulin sensitivity in muscle cells improved after using ashwagandha.
Many studies have reported that ashwagandha can reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those with diabetes.
A 4-week study was conducted with people who had schizophrenia; those treated with ashwagandha had an average decrease in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared with 4.5 mg/dL in those who received a placebo.
3. Might have anticancer properties
Studies conducted on animals and test tubes have shown that a particular compound found in ashwagandha can induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells.
Ashwagandha also hinders the growth of new cancer cells in multiple ways.
Animal studies have reported that it may help treat several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancer.
A study conducted on mice showed that when mice with ovarian tumors were treated with withaferin alone or in combination with an anti-cancer drug showed a 70–80% reduction in tumor growth. This treatment also prevented the spread of cancer to other organs
4. Can reduce cortisol levels
Your adrenal glands release cortisol, a stress hormone, in response to your blood sugar levels dropping.
Some instances may lead to cortisol levels becoming chronically elevated, which may cause high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.
Many studies have reported that Ashwagandha may help in reducing cortisol levels.
A recent study reported that when stressed adults are supplemented with ashwagandha, they face a drastic decrease in their cortisol levels compared to the control group. The highest reduction reported was 30%.
5. May help reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is most commonly known for its benefits concerning stress reduction.
Researchers have observed that the brains of rats have stress pathways that can be blocked by the regulation of the chemical signalling in the nervous system through ashwagandha.
Multiple studies on humans have reported that ashwagandha reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety disorders.
A 6-week study concluded that 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported an anxiety reduction, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo.
6. May reduce symptoms of depression
A 60-day study conducted with 64 stressed adults reported that individuals who took 600 mg of high-concentration ashwagandha extract per day faced a 79% reduction in severe depression. In contrast, the placebo group reported a 10% increase.
It is to be noted that only one of the study participants had a history of depression. This might affect the findings.
7. Can boost testosterone and increase fertility in men
Ashwagandha supplements have many benefits for testosterone levels and reproductive health.
A study conducted with 75 infertile men found that sperm count and motility increased in the group that used ashwagandha. This process also leads to an increase in testosterone levels.
Researchers found that the individuals who consumed the herb had increased antioxidant levels in their blood.
A study also said that men who took ashwagandha for stress had higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality. After three months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant.
8. May increase muscle mass and strength
Studies have reported that body composition and strength can be increased with the use of ashwagandha.
A study was conducted to find the dosage of ashwagandha that would be safe and effective; healthy men who took 750–1,250 mg of pulverised ashwagandha root per day gained muscle strength after 30 days.
The drastic increase in muscle strength and size was reported by individuals taking ashwagandha in a study. Compared with the placebo group, it was found that their reduction in body fat percentage had more than doubled.
9. May reduce inflammation
Multiple studies conducted on animals show that ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation.
A study conducted on humans reported that the activity of natural killer cells which are immune cells that help fight infection is increased by ashwagandha.
Markers of inflammation have also been known to decrease with the ashwagandha, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). An increased risk of heart disease is linked with this marker.
A study reported that the group who took 250 mg of standardised ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared with a 6% decrease in the placebo group. (2)
Many studies support the benefits of ashwagandha root. To stay healthy and active, you may consider incorporating the ashwagandha root into your diet.
Aside from the physical benefits, ashwagandha root is most commonly known to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
It is also used to increase energy levels and to keep you productive throughout the day.
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