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11 Benefits of Ashwagandha For Women

By Reviewed by Ashwagandha, Women Published on July 9, 2018 Updated on November 14, 2018
Benefits of Ashwagandha For Women

Ashwagandha is a powerful herb used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine as a Rasayana, to treat and alleviate the symptoms of varieties of conditions related to physical, mental, and emotional health. In herbal medicine, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen. These are non-toxic plants that help the body “adapt” by increasing your ability to resist the effects of stress and by promoting overall balance. [1]Panossian, A., & Wikman, G. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals, 3(1), 188–224. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from http://doi.org/10.3390/ph3010188

The benefits of the herb include reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, boosting the immune system, controlling blood sugar levels, balancing hormones in the body, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and enhancing metabolism, among others.

Ashwagandha benefits for women

Ashwagandha has many benefits for women of all ages.  It helps by regulating the menstrual cycle, preventing premenstrual symptoms, increasing breast milk secretion for lactating mothers, treating sterility, treating vagina pain and preventing uterine infections.

Here are a few other amazing benefits the herb offers to women.

Ashwagandha For Menopausal Symptoms

An amazing health benefit of ashwagandha for women is that it helps alleviate the symptoms that accompany menopause. Challenges are common during this phase in a woman’s life. It is characterized by symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, changes in eating habits, anxiety, low libido, mood swings, depression, stress, sleep disturbances, and many other unpleasant symptoms. It is believed that these symptoms are caused by hormonal imbalances that occur in the body as a result of menopause [2]Li, J. & Songlin, L. (2017). Exploring Hormonal “Imbalances”. EC Gynaecology SI.01 (2017), 15-16. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ecronicon.com/ecgy/si/ECGY-01-SI-04.pdf

Ashwagandha has been prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine and is now widely used to balance hormones in the body thus alleviating menopause-related symptoms.  [3]Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines, 8(5 Suppl), 208–213. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from http://doi.org/10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9 The herb does this by stimulating the activities of the endocrine system thus balancing hormones. [4]Modi, M. B., Donga, S. B., & Dei, L. (2012). Clinical evaluation of Ashokarishta, Ashwagandha Churna and Praval Pishti in the management of menopausal syndrome. AYU: An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, 33(4), 511–516. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665193/ It is recommended to start taking ashwagandha supplement just before the onset of menopause. A dose of about 300-500 mg of the herb has proven effective in regulating hormonal imbalance thereby managing perimenopausal symptoms.

Ashwagandha For Revitalization And Better Mood

Ashwagandha is used to enhance revitalization in women. It is reported that people who take the herb stated that they had enhanced energy levels, strength, and stamina. Ashwagandha performs this function by regulating cortisol levels in the body thus making the body more vibrant and active.

Ashwagandha benefits for women

The benefits of the herb for women also include boosting mood. A study conducted on the effect of ashwagandha for menopausal women found that it is effective in making them calmer and more relaxed. ) [5]Jayanthi, M. K., Prathima, C., Huralikuppi, J. C., Suresha, R. N., & Dhar, M. (2012). Anti-depressant effects of Withania somnifera fat (Ashwagandha ghrutha) extract in experimental mice. International Journal of Pharmacy and Bio Sciences, 3(1), 33-42. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Murali_Dhar4/publication/249656563_Anti-depressant_effects_of_Withania_somnifera_fat_Ashwagandha_Ghrutha_extract_in_experimental_mice/links/0046351e67abca148b000000/Anti-depressant-effects-of-Withania-somnifera-fat-Ashwagandha-Ghrutha-extract-in-experimental-mice.pdf This benefit will go a long way in preventing stress, anxiety and even depression.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Stress And Anxiety Relief

Ashwagandha has been found to be effective in regulating the level of cortisol in the body, thus reducing stress, anxiety, and depression and creating a feeling of calmness and relaxation in the body. In addition, high levels of cortisol invariably mean rapid muscle loss and weakness, and weight gain. It also encourages cognitive impairment, wrinkles, and other age-related conditions. Stress could also lead to different health conditions and even affect one’s ability to concentrate on day to day activities thus having a negative impact on the entire life of the sufferer.

A study conducted on the effectiveness of ashwagandha in reducing stress and anxiety found that it may be beneficial in controlling stress levels. [6]Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255-262. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/ Furthermore, a study conducted by researchers from the Central Drug Research Institute, found that Ashwagandha may be beneficial in reducing irritability, stress, anxiety, and edginess in women. [7]Reay, J. L.,  Scholey, A. B., & Kennedy, D. O. (2010). Panax ginseng (G115) improves aspects of working memory performance and subjective ratings of calmness in healthy young adults. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental, 26(6), 462-471. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.1138. It was also found that the herb is effective in increasing energy, strength and stamina, thus making the body more active.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Low Libido

Ashwagandha has libido-boosting benefits for women. A 2015 study conducted on the benefit of ashwagandha found that it is effective in alleviating the symptoms of FSD (Female Sexual Dysfunction) as there was an increase in the level of orgasm, sexual satisfaction, libido, enhanced levels of arousal and lubrication, increase in the number of sexual encounters, and a decrease in sexual distress. [8]Dongre, S., Langade, D. & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. BioMed Research International, 87(2):589-598. DOI: 10.1210/jcem.87.2.8201. Retrieved September 12, 2018 from, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/284154/. The study also found that the herb does not have any adverse effect on women suffering from low libido.

The herb may be effective in enhancing sexual potency in women by acting as a stimulant for sexual activities, improve mood, reduce tension, enhance blood circulation, as well as relieves stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is mentioned in Kama Sutra as a sexual stimulant for women as it is beneficial in enhancing sexual health and boosting vitality.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Thyroid Dysfunction

This super-herb is prescribed as a remedy for women diagnosed with different types of thyroid dysfunction. This is because it is beneficial in regulating the activities of the thyroid glands by enhancing the conversion of the T4 hormone into active T3. An animal study conducted in 1999 on the effect of ashwagandha root extract in balancing thyroid hormones found that the herb may be beneficial in increasing the levels of the T4 hormone in the body. [9]Panda, S. & Kar, A. (1999). Withania somnifera and Bauhinia purpura in the regulation of circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in female mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 67(2),233-239. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10619390 In addition, the herb leads to a significant increase in the activities of liver enzymes that are involved in the metabolism of thyroid hormones.

Ashwagandha benefits for women

A more recent study found that ashwagandha may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of individuals diagnosed with HYPOthyroidism. [10]Sharma, A.K., Basu, I., & Singh, S. (2018). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 24(3),243-248. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0183. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28829155 The herb does this by regulating the levels of the TSH, T4, and T3 hormones, with only a mild side effect experienced by 1 of 25 participants. These thyroid hormones play a lot of role in the female body, and if they are not balanced, then many other things can go wrong. However, it is important to state that the herb may negatively affect women with HYPERthyroidism since it is beneficial in increasing the production of thyroid hormones. [11]Gannon, J. M., Forrest, P.E., & Roy Chengappa, K. N. (2014). Subtle changes in thyroid indices during a placebo-controlled study of an extract of Withania somnifera in persons with bipolar disorder. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 5(4),241-245. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.146566, Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296437/ Patients with hyperthyroidism,  who are taking the herb, should constantly monitor the levels of their hormone. It is also recommended to consult with your doctor before taking ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha And Breast Cancer

Ashwagandha is prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine for treating and alleviating the symptoms of cancer. Several animals and in vitro studies have found that ashwagandha extract contains properties, particularly its Withania somnifera (WS) root extract, that may be effective in the treatment of breast cancer. [12]Khazal, F. K. & Hill, D. L. (2015). Withania somnifera extract reduces the invasiveness of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer and inhibits cytokines associated with metastasis. Journal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment, 1(2), 94–100. DOI: 10.4103/2F2394-4722.157601 It is also found to be as effective in preventing tumor activities in the mammary gland [13]Khazal, K. F., Hill, D. L., & Grubbs, C. J. (2014). Effect of Withania somnifera Root Extract on Spontaneous Estrogen Receptor-Negative Mammary Cancer in MMTV/Neu Mice. Anticancer Research, 34(11), 6327-6332. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4386658/and does this by inhibiting the process of cell division in certain types of breast cancer including ER-, ER+, and triple-negative cancers. [14]Szarc vel Szic, K., Op de Beeck, K., Ratman, D., Wouters, A., Beck, I. M., Declerck, K., … Berghe, W. V.  (2014). Pharmacological Levels of Withaferin A (Withania somnifera) Trigger Clinically Relevant Anticancer Effects Specific to Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells. PLoS ONE, 9(2): e87850. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087850

In addition, the herb helps to inhibit the process of metastasis thus preventing cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. [15] Yang, Z., Garcia, A., Xu, S., Powell, D.R., Vertino, P.M.,  Singh, S. & Marcus, A. I. (2013). Withania somnifera Root Extract Inhibits Mammary Cancer Metastasis and Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition. PLoS ONE, 8(9): e75069. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075069 However, it is important to state that there are only a few human studies that have been published on this topic. One of such studies found that ashwagandha is active in reducing cortisol levels and increasing the quality of life in women diagnosed with breast cancer and who were undergoing chemotherapy at the time. [16]Biswal, B.M., Sulaiman, S.A., Ismail, H. C. ZaKaria, H. & Musa, K. I. (2013). Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on the development of chemotherapy-induced fatigue and quality of life in breast cancer patients. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 12(4):312-22. doi: 10.1177/153473541246455 Ashwagandha helped to significantly reduce the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy such as loss of appetite, insomnia, pain, and constipation.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Aging

Ashwagandha has been proven to be active in slowing down the process of aging in women, by inhibiting the activities of free radicals that accelerate this process. [17]Sumathi, S., Padma, P. R., Gathampari, S., & Vidhya, S.  (2007) Free radical scavenging activity of different parts of Withania somnifera. Ancient Science of Life, 26(3):30-34. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22557238. The antioxidant benefits of the herb are believed to be the reason why ashwagandha has a potent effect in inhibiting the production of free radicals that cause DNA damage in the body. [18]Buehler, B. A. (2012). The Free Radical Theory of Aging and Antioxidant Supplements: A Systematic Review. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 17(3), 218-220. DOI: 10.1177/2156587212441939 A study conducted on the effectiveness of ashwagandha supplement in delaying the onset of aging found that the herb may prevent the body from spinal cord damage that results from the natural process of aging. [19]Gupta, S.K., Dua, A., & Vohra, B. P. (2013). Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) attenuates antioxidant defense in an aged spinal cord and inhibits copper-induced lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modifications. Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions, 19(3), 211-222. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14682611

A human study that was conducted on the effect of ashwagandha on aging, found that the herb may be useful in promoting a healthy process as it counteracted the effects of two proteins that are downregulated by aging. [20]Pradhan, R., Kumar, R., Shekar, S., Rai, N., Ambashta, A., Banerjee, J. … Dey, A. B. (2017). Longevity and healthy aging genes FOXO3A and SIRT3: Serum protein marker and new road map to burst oxidative stress by Withania somnifera. Experimental Gerontology, 95,9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2017.05.013 A different study found that ashwagandha extract is effective in inhibiting the production of AGE (advanced glycation end products), which has been linked with several health-related issues. [21]Babu, P. V., Gokulakrishnan, A., Dhandayuthabani, R., Dowlath, A., Kumar, C., & Ahamed, M.  (2007). Protective effect of Withania somnifera (Solanaceae) on collagen glycation and cross-linking. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 147(2),308-313. DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2007.01.011 Furthermore, it was discovered that because of its antioxidant benefits, ashwagandha is effective in preventing premature aging and oxidative stress, by reducing the activities of MDA (malondialdehyde) and enhancing the activities of SOD (superoxide dismutase). [22]Kuchewar, V. V., Borkar, M. A., & Nisargandha, M. A. (2014). Evaluation of antioxidant potential of Rasayana drugs in healthy human volunteers. AYU: An international quarterly journal of research in Ayurveda, 35(1), 46-49. DOI: 10.4103/0974-8520.141919

Stress is known to have a negative impact on the aging process as it contributes to wrinkles, depression, weakness, anxiety, muscle loss, and even cognitive impairment. Ashwagandha may be effective in regulating cortisol levels in the body thus reducing stress and slowing down the aging process.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Memory Cognition

Another amazing benefit of ashwagandha is that it may be effective in delaying the onset of memory loss in both men and women. Memory loss is mostly associated with the process of aging. It is believed that this herb helps to prevent memory loss in women, even if it is common in the same age bracket. Ashwagandha performs this function by deleting the onset of brain cell degeneration, which is the major cause of memory loss.

Ashwagandha benefits for women

When consumed on a regular basis, ashwagandha is believed to be effective in healing nerve cells and preventing age-related cognitive issues like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. A study conducted to check the effectiveness of ashwagandha in treating mild cognitive impairment, found that this herb helps by improving executive function, memory, attention, and speed in processing information as well as reducing oxidative stress. [23]Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S.(2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14(6), 599-612. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2017

Ashwagandha and Fertility

Ashwagandha is found to be effective in treating and reversing infertility in men. However, there are no current human trials to prove the same for females. Even with this, it is believed that ashwagandha is promising in the treatment and reversal of infertility in women. This is because of the proven effectiveness of this herb in treating conditions that may lead to infertility in women such as illness, stress, depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, nutritional deficiencies[24]Jayanthi, M. K., Huralikuppi, J. C., Suresha, R. N. & Murali, D. (2013). Anti-depressant effects of Withania somnifera fat (Ashwagandha Ghrutha) extract in experimental mice. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, 3(4), 511-516. Retrieved September 12, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665193/, just to name a few.

All of these conditions put together may negatively affect the reproductive health of women thus making it extremely difficult to have babies. Ashwagandha is effective in regulating the activities of the thyroid glands thus regulating important hormones in the body. Since this herb helps regulate cortisol levels and reduce stress, it aids in encouraging regular menstrual cycles and ovulation which is imperative for conception. An animal study conducted on the benefits of ashwagandha in treating and reversing infertility in females found that use of this herb leads to the significant increase of GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) neurons, which are important in stimulating ovulation. [25]Bhattarai, J.P., Ah Park, S., & Han, S. K.. (2010). The methanolic extract of Withania somnifera ACTS on GABAA receptors in gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in mice. Phytotherapy Research, 24(8),1147-1150. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3088

Ashwagandha Benefits For Hair

Ashwagandha may be effective in treating and reversing certain hair conditions in women. The herb act as a stress reliever by calming the body and improving overall health. Stress is one of the major causes of hair loss and graying, as it makes the body age faster than it should. Slowing down the aging process by regulating cortisol levels is a key benefit of ashwagandha for women. In addition, it helps to aid increased metabolism which invariably means improved digestion and easier absorption of nutrients, thus improving overall physical health.

Ashwagandha benefits for women

Ashwagandha has been found to be effective in preventing the loss of melanin hence preventing premature graying of the hair in both men and women. It is also used as a potent herbal hair conditioner and shampoo. It is effective in stimulating follicles and promoting hair growth, preventing dandruff and other hair conditions, enhancing the scalp’s “grip” on the hair root, as well as preventing hair loss. Furthermore, ashwagandha is found to be effective in preventing excessive hair loss in women diagnosed with non-classical adrenal hyperplasia (NCAH). [26]Kalani, A., Bahtiyar, G., & Sacerdote, A. (2012). Ashwagandha root in the treatment of non-classical adrenal hyperplasia. BMJ Case Reports, 2012, bcr2012006989. http://doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2012-006989

Ashwagandha For Osteoporosis

Ashwagandha is prescribed to treat and prevent osteoporosis. A study conducted on the effects of this herb on treating osteoporosis found that it is effective in increasing bone strength, increasing bone formation by boosting osteoblasts and preventing bone loss by lowering osteoclastic genes. [27]Nagareddy, P. R. & Lakshmana, M. (2006).Withania somnifera improves bone calcification in calcium-deficient ovariectomized rats. The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 58(4), 513-519. DOI: 10.1211/jpp.58.4.0011, [28]Khedgikar, V., Ahmad, N., Cushwaha, P., Gautam, J., Nagar, G. K., Singh, D. … Trivedi, R. (2015). Preventive effects of withaferin A isolated from the leaves of an Indian medicinal plant Withania somnifera (L.): comparisons with 17-β-estradiol and alendronate. Nutrition, 31(1), 205-213. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.05.010, [29]Khedgikar, V., Kushwaha, P., Gautam, J., Verma, A., Sharma, S. … Trivedi, R. (2013). Withaferin A: A proteasomal inhibitor promotes healing after injury and exerts an anabolic effect on osteoporotic bone. Cell Death and Disease, 4:e778. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.294 Women may experience differences in the level of estrogen in the body at different stages of life, which may result in osteoporosis. Ashwagandha is proven to be effective in balancing hormones, thus reversing or preventing these conditions.

Final Thoughts On the Benefits of Ashwagandha For Women

As you have learned there are a lot more benefits of ashwagandha for women than just anxiety and stress relief. It’s a great supplement for overall women’s health. If you think ashwagandha may be a good fit for your supplement regimen, you can learn more about ashwagandha here or buy ashwagandha here.

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Fran Sanchez, BSc MSc

About Fran Sanchez, BSc MSc

Fran Sanchez, founder of Herbolab, graduated from Uppsala University (Sweden) with a master in molecular biology and Karolinska University (Sweden) with a degree in medical sciences and business. He then moved to Singapore to run e-commerce operations in a pharmaceutical company, until eventually he could fulfil his dream of creating a brand dedicated to help men reach their peak performance. Drawing on his experience as a lifelong multi-sport athlete and cutting edge medical and scientific research, Fran launched herbolab tongkat ali as flagship supplement in April of 2014. Fran now spend most of his time weight lifting and creating content dedicated to improve people’s lives.

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