Ashwagandha is a shrub that is mostly grown in Africa and Asia. Due to its anti-stress properties, ashwagandha root extract has been widely used in supplements and medicine. It can help improve physical and mental health with prolonged usage. The ashwagandha root helps improve brain function, but it can also help remove symptoms of insomnia, aging, and anxiety. This article covers the 9 proven health benefits of ashwagandha regardless of using medicines or ashwagandha supplements.
Ashwagandha has other names like Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or Withania somnifera. So, if you check a supplement or a traditional medicine with these names, it means the supplement contains ashwagandha. Here are some potential benefits.
It Helps Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Ashwagandha lies in the category of adaptogens, which help cope with stress. In this modern day, where every other person is stressed, an ashwagandha root is an excellent option since it is natural and doesn’t have side effects. On the other hand, it also helps remove symptoms of anxiety and helps get you the confidence you require in socializing with people. While there was much research related to ashwagandha being a good anti-stress material, some research doesn’t back this benefit. It works by controlling hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, which regulates the stress hormone levels in your body. After two months of research, the patient also showed less stress hormone cortisol compared to an average person.
Can Improve Athletic Performance
One piece of research was done to check if ashwagandha can help improve athletic performance and be a good option for athletes. The researchers gave them 120 mg and 1,250 mg ashwagandha daily. The results show that people who took ashwagandha had an improvement in their athletic performance. It helped improve their oxygen levels which further helped improve their stamina, and they were able to move around a lot more than normal.
Ashwagandha can improve the maximum oxygen levels (VO2 max) in most healthy athletes and adults. VO2 max is a measurement of lung and heart fitness; higher levels indicate better health. Having better VO2 max levels is vital for everyone. Even if you are not an athlete, higher levels indicate that blood can pump smoothly in your body without tiring you. Using ashwagandha supplements for a long time can leave long-lasting positive impacts on your body and improve your physical performance.
Can Improve Your Mental Health
One potential benefit of ashwagandha is that it can help improve your cognitive function by decreasing signs of depression. Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that can affect people’s interpretation of reality. It can lead to hallucinations, delusions, and aggressive behaviors due to extreme fear. In severe cases, it can even cause mild cognitive impairment. This happens because of your lower mental health because of extreme stress. Ashwagandha can help improve mental health by reducing the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Help Boost Testosterone
Ashwagandha powder can help improve testosterone levels in men. This is why you see ashwagandha in mostly testosterone-boosting supplements. However, the amount is low since other ingredients also have a role. One study was conducted to check for improved testosterone in men after giving them ashwagandha extract daily for eight weeks. The results showed an 18% increase in the hormones involved in testosterone production. On the other hand, ashwagandha also improves sperm concentration, volume, and motility in men with low sperm counts. You can use alternative medicine containing ashwagandha instead of a testosterone supplement and still get the same results.
It May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
There is limited evidence for this benefit, but the evidence is solid, which proves that ashwagandha can help reduce blood sugar levels. That study showed that using ashwagandha for four to eight weeks can significantly reduce blood lipids, blood sugar, insulin, and hemoglobin A1c. The withaferin compound inside this root extract has powerful antidiabetic activity. It helps stimulate cells to take in glucose from your blood. The only problem here is that this research is less, and it needs more time to back up this benefit properly.
It Can Reduce Inflammation
Ashwagandha has WA, a compound that can significantly reduce inflammation after a bit of use. This compound targets inflammatory pathways, as some animal studies have shown that ashwagandha reduces inflammatory proteins. Taking ashwagandha medicines for a prolonged time can help remove symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Typically, you must take a supplement for almost 60 days before your body starts showing a notable improvement. In case of extreme pain, those patients were given double doses of ashwagandha for seven days, and their pain levels started decreasing significantly.
Can Improve Your Memory
Taking ashwagandha daily for almost three months can improve your cognitive functions. It can help improve your reaction time as your brain will take information much faster than usual. On the other hand, since it calms your mind, you can pay more attention to your work. It improves your executive functioning, which leads to an improvement in your cognitive control of behavior. To enjoy this benefit, you must take 400-600 mg of ashwagandha daily for almost eight weeks. The antioxidant compounds in ashwagandha are responsible for improving your cognitive functions.
Can Help Improve Sleep
Most people experience sleep disorders because of excessive stress on their minds. Using ashwagandha significantly reduces their stress, which helps improve their sleep. Taking this root for up to 12 weeks can improve your sleep quality and your mental awareness after waking up.
No Severe Side Effects
Ashwagandha is nature’s best medicine for multiple issues, and since it is not synthetic, it doesn’t pose health threats. If you follow its optimum or recommended dosage, this root won’t affect you severely. Some common side effects include vomiting and diarrhea, but they go away quickly.
Ashwagandha has multiple benefits, whether you use it in supplements or medicine. We mentioned nine potential and proven benefits of this root in your article. While this evergreen shrub has no severe side effects, you must not take large doses of it for long. Moreover, consult your doctor if the minor side effects stay more than 24 hours.