Ashwagandha is a medicinal plant that’s been used for centuries among cultures in India, North Africa, and the Middle East. In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha supplementation is part of a holistic healing practice that focuses on the connection between the mind, body, and spirit, and each part of the ashwagandha plant offers benefits to humans when consumed: The flowers are known for their detoxifying and purifying effects, while the root is known to reduce inflammation and swelling. But there are even more surprising benefits to taking ashwagandha that you may not have heard of yet.
1. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Lowers Stress and Anxiety
Everyone experiences a general level of daily stressors from our environment, but ashwagandha can decrease anxiety by supporting the body’s natural ability to handle oxidative stress. It’s known as an adaptogen, which is a select group of herbs that have the ability to adapt to the needs of the body and promote balance, making ashwagandha for anxiety a great natural remedy. A study conducted by researchers from the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Asha Hospital in India has shown that ashwagandha root extract can improve resistance toward oxidative stress when taken consistently for 60 days. It also showed a reduction of cortisol levels by nearly 30 percent. By consuming ashwagandha as part of your daily routine along with stress-reducing exercises and activities, such as yoga, meditation, and getting plenty of sleep, the adaptogenic herb can help decrease your risk of chronic stress and the effects that come with it.
2. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Part of ashwaganhda’s health benefits include reducing blood sugar levels. Research has shown that it also can help decrease cholesterol and triglycerides. Too much sugar in the body over a long period of time can lead to serious health problems including hyperglycemia, diabetes, and heart disease, but when you pair an ashwagandha supplement with a balanced diet and exercise routine, you’ll help regulate blood sugar levels.
3. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Supports Reproductive and Sexual Health
In a collaborative study among several research departments at the University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, it was found that ashwagandha benefits extended to reproductive health in both men and women: Regular consumption led to decreased infertility among males, with extracts specifically from the roots enhancing sperm quality. Additionally, research has shown its effectiveness for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction, which could affect a female’s level of sexual arousal, orgasms, and libido. The ashwagandha benefits for women include improvement in hormonal imbalance.
4. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Improves Brain Functioning
Fatty fish, dark chocolate, nuts, and leafy greens have long been touted as top foods to boost cognitive reactions, but research has shown ashwagandha also benefits brain function by protecting nerve cells from free radicals. An eight-week study conducted by the Indian Red Cross Society and Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Kolkata, India showed taking 300 mg of ashwagandha twice a day vastly improved the participants’ general memory, attention span, and information processing. There’s also been research showing improvement of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s after taking a recommended ashwagandha dosage. Studies show evidence of how it may slow, stop, or reduce neuritic atrophy and synaptic loss.
5. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Prevents Insomnia
Due to its anti-stress capabilities, ashwagandha is great for sleep: It’s often used to prevent insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. Research from Patil University School of Medicine, Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences, and Prakruti Hospital show that 600mg of ashwagandha daily can improve sleep quality and time asleep for patients with insomnia. The amount and quality of sleep you receive every night play a huge part in your mental and physical health. A lack of sleep leads to daytime fogginess, problems concentrating, irritability, and a range of other side effects that can cause problems to your state of mind and ability to function.
6. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Relieves Arthritis Pain
Ashwagandha has been used as a pain reliever for the way it prevents and reduces inflammation caused by arthritis. It is an analgesic that soothes the nervous system’s response to pain. Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Science studying the efficacy of ashwagandha treatment for rheumatoid arthritis found a significant positive change in swollen joint counts and pain assessment over a seven-week treatment period. Arthritis usually sets in as a person ages as joints become stiffer. However, it can creep up at any stage of life for those who work primarily with their hands. Although more research is needed, the study presents the potential for ashwagandha as an effective and safe treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
7. Benefits of Ashwagandha: Aids in Cancer Treatment
Preliminary research shows evidence that ashwagandha’s health benefits include inhibiting cell growth of certain types of cancers. In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, PA, researchers found that ashwagandha had anti-tumorigenic properties as they explored modern cancer prevention and therapies. The study points out the ashwagandha dosage administered as a treatment for cancer is different from the general supplement promoting good health. The study also references evidence that demonstrated ashwagandha root extract lowered cancer incidences.
Other Uses for Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has also been used as a remedy to help fight infection and improve muscle strength and growth. It’s beneficial for both men and women as a safe and effective herbal dietary supplement to general healthcare. However, consult with your physician if you are currently taking blood pressure or thyroid medication, as ashwagandha may interact and interfere with these.
How to Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a natural therapy that alleviates several common ailments and conditions that may affect quality of life. Although available in many forms, including capsule, powder, liquid, and in our real-food Daily Essentials bite, the best way to take ashwagandha is with consistency.
Pair your ashwagandha supplement with a balanced diet, exercise, and a mental health regimen like daily meditation to get the most out of it.