Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbal ingredients in Ayurvedic medicine, which has been used as an alternative medicine based on the Indian principles of natural healing.
People have used Ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve physical and mental stress, insomnia, aging, and anxiety, increase energy levels and improve concentration, and more.
“Ashwagandha’s” botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it is also known by several other names, including “Indian ginseng “winter cherry.” But don’t confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherries. Also, don’t confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.
The Ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers native to India and Southeast Asia. Extracts or powders from the plant’s roots or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and fertility problems.
What are the main benefits of ashwagandha?
The herb Ashwagandha appears to be safe, but long-term scientific studies are needed to fully assess its safety. Ashwagandha may cause mild drowsiness and sedation in some people.
Best 5 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Research on ashwagandha continues to evolve as scientists around the world study its effectiveness and response against various diseases.
Ashwagandha is perfect for those who prefer herbal medicine for various reasons, here are some science-backed benefits of Ashwagandha.
1. Helps to Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress. A substance that helps the body deal with stress. One particular study indicated that ashwagandha may also benefit sleep quality—researchers confirmed that participants slept much better with doses of the herb compared to placebo doses. Several studies have shown that ashwagandha supplements can help relieve stress and anxiety.
2. May reduce Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat
A review of 24 studies, including 5 clinical studies in people with diabetes, found that ashwagandha treatment significantly reduced blood glucose levels and triglycerides (the most common type of fat in the blood), hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), insulin, blood lipids, and oxidative stress markers.
One study compared the blood sugar-lowering effects of ashwagandha with medications prescribed for type 2 diabetes. Limited evidence suggests that ashwagandha may be of some benefit to people with diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
3. May help boost testosterone and increase fertility in men
Additionally, a review of four studies found that Ashwagandha treatment significantly increased sperm concentration, sperm volume, and sperm motility in low sperm counts. Ashwagandha may also offer fertility benefits for men.
Administration of ashwagandha to infertile men has been shown to significantly improve sperm quality by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels. After one study, 14% of male patient partners became pregnant.
However, the researchers concluded that there is currently insufficient data to confirm the potential benefits of ashwagandha for male fertility and that more high-quality research is needed.
4. It May Increases Muscle and Strength
Researchers continue to study the effectiveness of ashwagandha in improving strength and muscle mass. One study found that participants increased their speed and strength. Another study found an increase in muscle mass along with a decrease in body fat percentage and lower cholesterol when taking ashwagandha. Some participants also experienced better sleep, but this study did not compare ashwagandha consumption with a placebo.
The ashwagandha treatments exhibited positive results in an additional study conducted solely with male participants. Compared to the placebo group, men saw significant gains in muscle strength (measured using a bench press and leg extension exercises) and muscle size in their arms and chests, as well as a significant reduction in body fat percentage. Post-workout damage was also reduced for those who received ashwagandha compared to the placebo group.
5. May improve brain function, including memory
Taking ashwagandha may benefit cognitive function.
One review that included five clinical studies noted there was early evidence that ashwagandha could improve cognitive functioning in certain populations, including older adults with mild cognitive impairment and people with schizophrenia.
Cognitive functions it may benefit include:
- executive functioning
- reaction time
- performance on cognitive tasks