Ashwagandha Benefits And Side Effects
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs of Ayurveda, a form of traditional alternative medicine based on the principles of natural healing in India.
People have been using Ashwagandha for thousands of years to relieve stress, increase energy levels and improve concentration.
“Ashwagandha” in Sanskrit stands for “Horse Smell”, which refers to both the aroma of the herb and its potential to increase potency.
Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, but it is also known by many other names, including Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry.
The Ashwagandha plant is a small, yellow-flowered shrub native to India and Southeast Asia. Extracts or powders from plant roots or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety and fertility problems.
Here are 9 possible benefits of Ashwagandha based on research.
It can help reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress. It is classified as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body cope with stress.
Ashwagandha appears to help regulate stress mediators, including heat shock protein (Hsp70), cortisol, and the stress-driven C-June N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1).
It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system in the body, which controls the stress response. Numerous studies have shown that Ashwagandha supplements can help relieve stress and anxiety.
In a small study of 58 participants, those who took 250 or 600 mg of Ashwagandha for 8 weeks had significantly lower levels of stress and stress hormone cortisol compared to placebo users.
In addition, participants who took Ashwagandha supplements experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality compared to the placebo group.
Another study of 60 people found that those who took 240 mg of Ashwagandha daily for 60 days had significantly lower anxiety compared to those who took placebo treatment.
Therefore, preliminary studies suggest that Ashwagandha may be a beneficial supplement for stress and anxiety.
However, a review of recent studies concludes that there is insufficient evidence to reach a consensus on the most appropriate dose and form of Ashwagandha for the treatment of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders, such as anxiety.
Ashwagandha can be effective in reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety. However, more research is needed to develop a consensus on the appropriate form and diet for the treatment of stress and stress-related disorders.
It can improve sports performance
Research shows that Ashwagandha can have a beneficial effect on athletic performance and can be a beneficial supplement for athletes.
An analysis of one study included 12 studies in men and women who took 120 to 1,250 mg of Ashwagandha daily. The results show that herbs can improve physical performance, including the use of strength and oxygen during exercise.
An analysis of five studies found that taking Ashwagandha significantly increased the maximum amount of oxygen (VO2 max) in healthy adults and athletes.
VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense activity. It is a measure of the condition of the heart and lungs.
The best VO2 is important for most athletes and non-athletes. A lower VO2 is associated with a higher risk of death, while a higher VO2 is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
In addition, Ashwagandha can help increase muscle strength. In one study, male participants who took 600 mg of ashwagandha daily and participated in resistance training for 8 weeks had significantly increased muscle strength and size compared to the placebo group.
Ashwagandha can help improve physical performance measures in athletes and healthy adults, including VO2 Max and Strength.
Can reduce the symptoms of certain mental illnesses
There is some evidence that Ashwagandha can help reduce the symptoms of other mental illnesses in some populations, including depression.
In one study, researchers studied the effects of Ashwagandha on 66 people with schizophrenia who suffered from depression and anxiety.
They found that participants who took 1,000 mg of Ashwagandha daily for 12 weeks had a greater reduction in depression and anxiety than those who took placebo.
In addition, the results of other studies suggest that taking Ashwagandha may help improve the overall symptoms and stress felt in the schizophrenics.
A limited study in 2013 also suggested that Ashwagandha may help reduce cognitive deficits in people with bipolar disorder. However, further study is needed.
In addition, a 2012 study found that depressed adults who took 600 mg of Ashwagandha daily for 60 days had a 77% reduction in depressive symptoms, while the placebo group reported a 5% reduction.
However, only one participant in this study had a history of depression, so the consistency of the results was not clear.
Although some evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may have antidepressant effects in some people, you should not try to use it as an antidepressant alternative.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, talk to a healthcare professional so you can get the help or treatment you need.
The limited research available shows that Ashwagandha can reduce the symptoms of depression and benefit people with certain mental illnesses. However, further study is needed.
It can help increase testosterone levels and increase male fertility
Numerous studies have shown that Ashwagandha supplements increase male fertility and increase testosterone levels.
In one study, 43 overweight men between the ages of 40 and 70 who experienced mild fatigue took Ashwagandha liqueur or placebo tablets daily for 8 weeks.
Treatment of Ashwagandha is associated with an 18% increase in DHEA-S, a sex hormone involved in the production of testosterone. Participants who took the herb also had a 14.7% increase in testosterone levels compared to those who took the placebo.
In addition, a review of four studies found that Ashwagandha treatment significantly reduced sperm count, sperm count, and sperm motility. It also increases sperm concentration and motility in men with normal sperm count.
However, the researchers concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to support the potential benefits of Ashwagandha for male fertility, and more high quality research is needed.
Ashwagandha can help increase testosterone levels and have some potential benefits for male fertility. However, further study is needed.
It can lower your blood sugar level
Limited evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may have some benefits for people with diabetes or high blood sugar.
A review of 24 studies, including 5 clinical studies in diabetic patients, found that Ashwagandha treatment significantly reduced blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), insulin, blood lipids and oxidative stress markers.
Many compounds in Ashwagandha, including Vitafrin A (BA), are thought to have strong anti-diabetic activity and can stimulate cells to draw glucose from the bloodstream.
However, research is currently limited and requires more carefully designed studies.
Limited evidence suggests that ashwagandha may lower blood sugar levels due to its effects on insulin secretion and the ability of cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
Can reduce inflammation
Ashwagandha contains compounds including WA that can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Researchers have found that WA affects inflammatory pathways in the body, including a signaling molecule called nuclear factor Capa B (NF-κB) and nuclear erythroid factor-related factor 2 (Nrf2).
Animal studies suggest that WA may also help reduce levels of inflammatory proteins, such as antiloxin-10 (IL-10). There is some evidence that Ashwagandha can also help reduce the signs of inflammation in humans.
In a 2008 study, adults with stress took Ashwagandha juice for 60 days. As a result, they experienced a significant reduction in C-reactive protein compared to placebo takers, a sign of inflammation.
In another study, researchers gave COVID-19 patients an ayurvedic drug containing 0.5 grams of ashwagandha and other herbs twice a day for 7 days. This reduced the levels of CRP, IL-6, and TNF in the participants, compared to placebo.
Medicinal composition also includes:
- 1 gram of giloy ghanvati (Tinospora cordifolia)
- 2 grams of swasari ras (a traditional herbo-mineral formulation)
- 0.5 grams of tulsi ghanvati (Ocimum sanctum)
Although these results are promising, research on the possible effects of Ashwagandha on inflammation is currently limited.
Ashwagandha can help reduce the signs of inflammation in the body. However, more research is needed.
Improves brain functions, including memory
Taking Ashogandha can improve cognitive functions. The study, which included five clinical studies, found that there was preliminary evidence that Ashwagandha could improve cognitive performance in some populations, including the elderly with mild cognitive impairment and those with schizophrenia.
Knowledgeable resources that can benefit you include:
- Executive Functioning
- Reaction Time
- Performance On Cognitive Tasks
A study of 50 adults found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for 8 weeks resulted in the following significant improvement over placebo:
- Immediate And General Memory
- Information-Processing Speed
Researchers have noted that compounds found in Ashwagandha, including WA, have antioxidant effects on the brain, which can benefit cognitive health.
However, more research is needed before experts can draw strong conclusions.
Ashwagandha supplements can improve memory, reaction time, and work efficiency in some populations. However, more research is needed.
May help improve sleep
Many people take Ashogandha for a good night’s sleep, and there is some evidence that it can help with sleep problems.
For example, a study of 50 adults between the ages of 65 and 80 found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily for 12 weeks significantly improved sleep quality and mental alertness on placebo compared to placebo. There is improvement.
In addition, a review of five high-quality studies found that Ashwagandha had a small but significant positive effect on overall sleep quality.
Taking Ashogandha reduces people’s anxiety level and helps them to feel more alert when they are awake.
The researchers noted that these results were more pronounced in people with insomnia and those who ate more than 600 mg a day for 8 weeks or more.
Recent evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may be an effective natural sleep aid and may help people with insomnia in particular.
Relatively safe and widely available
Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people, although its long-term effects are unknown. A review of 69 studies found that the root of Ashwagandha is safe and effective in treating certain health conditions including stress, anxiety and insomnia.
A study of 80 healthy men and women found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha daily for 8 weeks was safe and had no adverse effects on participants’ health.
However, some people cannot accept this. For example, pregnant women should avoid it as it can lead to miscarriage if used in large quantities.
In addition, people with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and those taking certain medications, such as benzodiazepines, anticoagulants, or barbiturates, should avoid taking Ashwagandha.
Many side effects have been reported in people taking Ashwagandha supplements, including upper gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, and diarrhea.
In addition, Ashwagandha can affect the thyroid gland, so people with thyroid problems should consult their doctor before taking it.
Ashwagandha’s diet recommendations vary. For example, doses of 250 to 1250 mg per day have been shown to be effective in a variety of conditions. Consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions about Ashwagandha diet.
Research shows that the effects of Ashwagandha do not appear immediately, so keep in mind that you may need to take it for several months before you feel the effects.
You can take Ashwagandha in different ways, such as one dose or several doses a day. And you can take it with food or on an empty stomach.
It is manufactured by various supplement manufacturers and sold by various retailers, including health food stores and vitamin stores.
Although Ashwagandha is safe for most people, it is not safe for everyone. It is important to consult your doctor before taking Ashwagandha.
The Bottom line
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that has many health benefits. Research shows that it helps reduce anxiety and stress, promotes restful sleep, and even improves cognitive function in some populations.
Ashwagandha is considered safe for most people. However, this is not for everyone, so it is important to talk to your doctor before incorporating Ashwagandha into your daily routine.