By Reviewed by Published on September 24, 2018 Updated on November 22, 2018
ashwagandha-supplement

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a plant native to the dry regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and India. Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5000 years to manage conditions like weak immunes system, constipation, chronic fatigue, insomnia, rheumatism, goiter, hormonal imbalance, and much more. In recent times, ashwagandha has been found to contain properties that may be useful for assisting patients with anxiety, depression, diabetes, acne, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, obesity, inflammation, and cancer, just to name a few.

Also, it has been found to be beneficial for relieving stress, improving memory and cognition, increasing muscle mass, delaying the onset of aging, increasing sperm count, relieving menopausal symptoms, amongst other things. If you are looking to gain any of these benefits through supplementation, read on below to get a detailed breakdown of how ashwagandha works and how to use it for the best result.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is the common name of a medicinal plant known as Withania somnifera. It is also referred to as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry. The plant is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for a variety of conditions.

It has served as an alternative treatment option for the sick for over 5000 years. Ashwagandha is native to the dry regions of North Africa, the Middle East, and India. However, the herb is now widely grown in countries that have mild climates including Nepal, China, Yemen, and the Americas.

The botanical name of the herb – somnifera is translated to mean “sleep-inducing”, in Latin, while Ashwagandha derived from two Sanskrit words “Ashva,” and “gandha,” means “horse,” and “smell,” respectively.

In Ayurvedic medicine, specialists believe that the health benefits of Ashwagandha in terms of boosting energy and stamina is the major force behind its name. It is reported that this herb may be beneficial in boosting the strength of its users up to a level that it may be comparable to that of a horse. [1]Priyalatha, B. & Rath, S. K. (2017). Medicinal Uses of Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng) – A Historical Review. International Journal of Science and Research Methodology, 7(1), 149-162. Retrieved from http://ijsrm.humanjournals.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/12.Dr_.-Pratibha-Dr.-Sudipta-Kumar-Rath.pdf

Other reports suggest that the name of the plant is also because of the smell of its root which is similar to the smell of horse sweat. Ashwagandha is sometimes confused with a similar plant commonly referred to as Physalis alkekengi because the two are called winter cherry.

Ashwagandha is a plump-looking plant with oval leaves and yellow-colored flowers. It belongs to the Solanaceae family, which is the same family as the tomato. Ashwagandha plants are bell-shaped with green leaves and it grows up to 75 cm tall. The herb bears small fruits in winter, which are roughly about the size of a grape.

The color of Ashwagandha fruit varies from orange to dark red when it is ripe. Since the plant is a perennial, it is usually not harvested until a few years after planting. It is believed that the older the plant, the more beneficial it becomes for medicinal purposes.

What is Ashwagandha Root?

All parts of the plant – stems, fruit, roots, seeds, and leaves are medicinal but the root of the plant is predominantly utilized. Ashwagandha is rugged and can thrive in harsh weather conditions that range from 40°C to 10°C.

Ashwagandha root extract offers both rejuvenating and restorative benefits to its users. It has traditionally been prescribed as an adaptogen or tonic for general illnesses.

Ashwagandha Root

Centuries ago, the fresh root and powder made from the dried root of the herb were used to treat a number of conditions including a weak immune system, weakness of the body, constipation, rheumatism, insomnia, goiter, hormonal imbalance, and inflammation, just to name a few.

Today, the herbal supplement is still used as an immune system booster for convalescents and those suffering from chronic health conditions. It is also used to manage diabetes, reduce stress, boost cognition and increase energy. Ashwagandha has grown over the years in both usage and acceptability. [2]Kumar, S., Gautam, P. K., & Acharya, A. (2015). Aqueous extract of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) root an indigenous medicinal plant enhances antigen specific cell-mediated immune response (CMIR) in a T cell lymphoma. International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Applied Sciences, 4(8), 12-28. Retrieved from http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:ijareas&volume=4&issue=8&article=002

This has warranted a number of clinical trials geared toward ascertaining the safety and efficacy of Ashwagandha root extract. While much of that research found the herb was both safe and effective in treating many health conditions, other studies concluded that the herb was not at all effective.

It is important o state that even though research on the safety and efficacy of Ashwagandha was inconclusive, the herb is accepted and used by a growing number of individuals in different regions across the globe.

Common Names of Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)

Ashwagandha goes by many different names in different regions and communities around the world. It is commonly known as Withania somnifera, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry.

In Hindi, this herb is referred to as Asgandh, ajagandha, kanaje hindi, nagouri asgandh, nagori asagandha, rasbhari, and in Sanskrit – Ashvagandha, Balada, Gandhpatri, Ashwagandha, vajeekari, varahakarni, palasparni, pivari, pushtida, bajikari, turagi, ashwakandika , ashwaroha , kamrupini, vajini.

In kamrupini Ashwagandha is refered to as Vajini, in Gujarati – Asam, Asoda, Ghodasoda, Punjabi – Asgand, Telugu – Asvagandhi, Pennereu, Vajigandha, Tamil – Asuragandhi, Amukkira, amukkara, Bengali – Ashvagandh, dhuppa, Urdu – Asgandanagaori, Marathi – Asgundh, Kanchuki, Askandha and in Canarese – Amangura, Hirimaddina-gadde, and Sogada-bery.

In arabic this herb is commonly known as hajarat el dib, in modern arabic as marjan, yemen, – ubad, persian – meheman, malayalam – amukkuram, trittavu, ayamodakam, kannada – keramaddinagaddi, kanchuki, marathi – askandha, dorgunj, ghoda, tilli, gujrati – asod, ghoda ahan, ghoda akan, asun, asam, ghodasoda, assyrian – harhumbashir, timbuttieqli, syrian – sekran, and in latin – physalis flexousa, vithania somnifera.

Other common names – achuva gandhi, amkulang kalang, amikkira gadday, amukkira kilzhangu, amukran kizhang, asagandha, asana, asundha, fatarfoda, hirimaddina gadday, hirre gadday, pevette, kuthmithi, bitterappelliefi, orovale, samm al ferakh, ashtwarg, punir, ashwanga, asoda, avarada, ghoda asoda, hayahvaya, thurangi gandha, avarada.

What Are the Components of Ashwagandha (Composition)

Ashwagandha has grown in usage and acceptability over the years. The herb is now used as a remedy for many different conditions. It is believed that the health benefits of this herb may be attributed to it varieties of phytochemical constituents.

The major phytochemical constituents of Ashwagandha are withanolides, which include triterpene lactones (withanolides), withaferin A, alkaloids, steroidal lactones, atropine, and cuscohygrine.

It is reported that this herb contains 12 alkaloids, 40 withanolides, and several sitoindosides. Also among the chemical components of Ashwagandha are anferine, somnine, iron, fatty acids, glyco withanolides, and potassium nitrate. [3]Devkar, S., Jagtap, S., Katyare, S., & Hegde, M. (2014). Estimation of antioxidant potential of individual components present in complex mixture of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root fraction by thin-layer chromatography-2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhdrazyl method. JPC-Journal of Planar Chromatography-Modern TLC, 27(3), 157-161. doi.org/10.1556/JPC.27.2014.3.2

How Ashwagandha Works

This section will explain how Ashwagandha works in the body. Ashwagandha serves as a diuretic, a mild sedative, and a tonic. The herb has been found to offer adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, antioxidant, anti-apoptotic, anxiolytic, neuroprotective, anti-cancerogenic, gabaergic, antiinflammatory and antiseptic benefits.

Ashwagandha Root Health Benefits

Ongoing studies are being conducted and new health benefits of Ashwagandha are emerging on a daily basis. These benefits of the herb are attributable to the rich and active phytochemicals contained in the plant. [4]Filipiak-Szok, A., Kurzawa, M., Szłyk, E., Twarużek, M., Błajet-Kosicka, A., & Grajewski, J. (2017). Determination of mycotoxins, alkaloids, phytochemicals, antioxidants and cytotoxicity in Asiatic ginseng (Ashwagandha, Dong quai, Panax ginseng). Chemical Papers, 71(6), 1073-1082. doi: [10.1007/s11696-016-0028-0]

Ashwagandha is referred to as Rasayana (a rejuvenator) in many books on health. This simply means that the herb does not have one specific function but if functions to improve the overall health and well being of the body. [5]Baliga, M. S., Meera, S., Shivashankara, A. R., Palatty, P. L., & Haniadka, R. (2015). The Health Benefits of Indian Traditional Ayurvedic Rasayana (Anti-aging) Drugs: A Review** Modified from an earlier publication: The health benefits of the Ayurvedic Antiaging drugs (Rasayanas): an evidence based revisit [In: Watson RR and Preedy VR (eds.) Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for the Aging Population, Academic Press. San Diego, USA]. pp. 209–226. In Foods and Dietary Supplements in the Prevention and Treatment of Disease in Older Adults (pp. 151-161). https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-418680-4.00016-6 Ashwagandha also serves as a powerful adaptogen, which means, it helps the body cope and adapt to both physical and emotional stressors.

Stress is the major cause of discomfort and health conditions such as insomnia, depression and even anxiety. Reducing its level may help improve overall health and prevent the development of these conditions. The herb does this by helping to regulate the levels of stress hormone – cortisol and creating a calm and relaxed feeling in the body.

The functions of this herbal supplement are attributable to the major active components of the herb called withanolides. Furthermore, Ashwagandha is widely used for its antioxidant benefits. The herb functions in this regard by reducing the activities of free radicals as well as to lessen oxidative stress in the body. [6]Shah, N., Singh, R., Sarangi, U., Saxena, N., Chaudhary, A., Kaur, G., … & Wadhwa, R. (2015). Combinations of Ashwagandha leaf extracts protect brain-derived cells against oxidative stress and induce differentiation. PLoS One, 10(3), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120554.

This superfood also serves as a hypolipidemic. This means that it may be beneficial in reducing the levels of lipids (fats) in the body. As already mentioned above, Ashwagandha offers anti-inflammatory benefits as well [7]Edwards, S. E., da Costa Rocha, I., Williamson, E. M., & Heinrich, M. (2015). Ashwagandha Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal. Phytopharmacy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Herbal Medicinal Products, 32. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KGu5BgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA32&dq=Ashwagandha+Withania+somnifera+(L.)+Dunal.+Phytopharmacy:+An+Evidence-Based+Guide+to+Herbal+Medicinal+Products&ots=Z6AwIqQDOY&sig=YSwfdM57qdHPAOptBYiVUYh4P2c#v=onepage&q=Ashwagandha%20Withania%20somnifera%20(L.)%20Dunal.%20Phytopharmacy%3A%20An%20Evidence-Based%20Guide%20to%20Herbal%20Medicinal%20Products&f=false to its users thus reducing swelling and pain as well as aiding in the fast recovery from stressful workouts and injuries.

In addition, Ashwagandha has been known to function as an anticoagulant, which can prevent the clotting of blood. It was found that the herb can also imitate the activities and functions of the Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA). It is important to state that this is a neurotransmitter that serves as a tranquilizer for the body and mind. [8]Sandhir, R., & Sood, A. (2017). Neuroprotective Potential of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in Neurological Conditions. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 373-387). Springer, Cham. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_18

Ashwagandha functions to help delay the degenerative changes that occur in the bones. Conditions like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are common as we age or even during hormonal imbalance, like that which occur during menopause. A study conducted on bone health [9]Shubhashree, M. N., Naik, R., & Doddamani, S. H. (2018). An updated review of single herbal drugs in the management of osteoporosis. International Journal of Complement Alternative Medicine, 11(2), 82-86. DOI:10.15406/ijcam.2018.11.00372 found that women experience conditions that may increase their risk of developing conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Ashwagandha helps to balance the formation and breakdown of bones in the body thus aiding in the prevention and development of bone health-related conditions. The herb does this by helping to delay the degeneration in the chondroblasts (cells that maintain cartilage). It also contains a phytochemical called Withaferin A that functions to stimulate the growth of cells that help build bone in the body.

Interestingly, the herb also functions to help regulate the activities of the adrenal glands. This gland produces many important hormones in the body, including but not limited to cortisol, progesterone, and estrogen. Ashwagandha helps the adrenal glands to perform their functions properly thus stimulating the production and regulation of hormones like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. [10]K Thakur, A., Dey, A., S Chatterjee, S., & Kumar, V. (2015). Reverse Ayurvedic pharmacology of Ashwagandha as an adaptogenic anti-diabetic plant: a pilot study. Current Traditional Medicine, 1(1), 51-61. Retrieved from https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/ctm/2015/00000001/00000001/art00009

The herb also functions to help balance sex hormones in the body, possibly preventing sexual health-related conditions like erectile dysfunction, decreased libido, low sperm count and even infertility. These benefits of Ashwagandha can also help to improve heart health, cognition and the overall well being of the body. [11]Sengupta, P., Agarwal, A., Pogrebetskaya, M., Roychoudhury, S., Durairajanayagam, D., & Henkel, R. (2017). Role of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in the management of male infertility. Reproductive biomedicine online. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1472648317306259

In addition to the numerous health benefits of Ashwagandha, this herb has been found to be generally safe with only mild to moderate side effects in a small number of users. This is just a few of the functions of Ashwagandha, more health benefits of the herb are highlighted below.

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, [12]Meher, S. K., Das, B., Panda, P., Bhuyan, G. C., & Rao, M. M. (2016). Uses of Withania somnifera (Linn) Dunal (Ashwagandha) in Ayurveda and its Pharmacological Evidences. Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics, 8(1), 23. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/b796a296ab208d8f049c33cd4142104a/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1096437 the benefits of Ashwagandha extract include decreasing sterility in women, white leprosy, skin diseases, and fatigue, as well as increasing energy. In Unani, [13]Anand, R. K., Dwivedi, S. V., & Sagar, V. (2016). Effect of sowing methods on growth, yield and economics of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal) under rainfed conditions. Progressive Horticulture, 48(2), 136. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/G_Rai/publication/327645885_PROGRESSIVE_HORTICULTURE_Indian_Society_of_Horticultural_Research_and_Development_ISHRD/links/5b9b7f2592851ca9ed06b427/PROGRESSIVE-HORTICULTURE-Indian-Society-of-Horticultural-Research-and-Development-ISHRD.pdf#page=18 the herb is used to diminish a cough, and the symptoms of uterine diseases, asthma, and many other conditions. This herb is constantly growing in terms of usage and acceptability.

It has also grown to be one of the most widely used herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It is believed by herbal specialists that the adoption of Ashwagandha as an alternative treatment by many people is due to the efficacy and safety of the herb.

Unlike many pharmaceutical medications, it has been found to be beneficial in helping the body perform its normal functions as well as regulating the activities of many organs in the body with little or no adverse side effects. This brings us to the question of many aspiring users – What is Ashwagandha used for?

Here we dive deeper into the health benefits of Ashwagandha:

Ashwagandha Benefits For Stress

Ashwagandha for Stress

One of the major uses of Ashwagandha root extract in ancient Ayurvedic medicine is for stress relief. Herbal specialists usually prescribe this herb as a quick relief for stress. In recent times, the herb is utilized in the western world and other regions around the world to manage stress.

Many studies have been conducted on the benefits and safety of taking Ashwagandha and have confirmed that the herb may offer adaptogenic benefits to its users. [14]Shara, M., Kakish, E., & Stohs, S. J. (2017). Effects of an Adaptogen-Based Supplement on Stress Parameters in Healthy Volunteers. International Journal of Complementary Alternative Meicine, 10(1), 00321. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ce3b/d9d317faebfe4edc68c360341ed74f5a4a5b.pdf Although the findings of some of these studies have been inconclusive, Ashwagandha is believed by many to be a powerful adaptogen, amongst other benefits. [15]Kumar, G., Srivastava, A., Sharma, S. K., Rao, T. D., & Gupta, Y. K. (2015). Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 141(1), 100–106. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405924/

This superfood helps the body to resist physical and emotional stressors which are inevitable in the modern everyday life. Ashwagandha functions as an adaptogen by regulating the level of stress hormones (cortisol) in the body. [16]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. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(3), 243-248. Retrieved from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2017.0183 This is extremely beneficial as the levels of cortisol significantly increase when a person is stressed out.

An increase in the level of cortisol negatively affects other hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. This may give rise to other stress-related conditions such as depression, insomnia, and even anxiety. [17]Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(12): 901–908. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177 Stress offers a negative impact on the body. If left untreated, it may lead to a number of other conditions including heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, just to name a few.

It is important to state that increased levels of cortisol may lead to rapid weight gain and muscle loss, fatigue, premature aging, as well as age-related cognitive impairment. Stress may also have a negative impact on the entire life of an individual as well as affecting a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities. [18]Scott, S. B., Graham-Engeland, J. E., Engeland, C. G., Smyth, J. M., Almeida, D. M., Katz, M. J., … & Sliwinski, M. J. (2015). The effects of stress on cognitive aging, physiology and emotion (ESCAPE) project. BMC Psychiatry, 15(1), 146. Retieved from https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-015-0497-7

The herb has been shown to be beneficial in reducing the level of cortisol in the body of stressed individuals by as much as28 percent. [19]Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(12), 901-908. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25405876 Ashwagandha also offers protective benefits for the body by helping it reduce the degenerative effects caused by stress to the immune systems. The herb has also been found to offer antioxidant benefits that may be beneficial for inhibiting free radicals that cause oxidative stress, mutation, and even premature cell death.

Another amazing benefit of Ashwagandha for stress is that the herb helps to minimize the damage caused to cells and tissues by chronic stress. Additionally, the herbal supplement has been found to be beneficial in increasing energy and stamina [20]Choudhary, B., Shetty, A., & Langade, D. G. (2015). Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults. Ayu Journal, 36(1), 63. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.169002 as well as creating a calm and relaxed feeling in the body.

All of these are positive contributing factors towards making the body active and vibrant. Ashwagandha helps to reduce tension thus combating stress and related conditions like depression and anxiety. Interestingly, Ashwagandha reportedly has shown little or no adverse effect when used for stress relieve.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Anxiety

Ashwagandha is beneficial for individuals suffering from anxiety. [21]Chengappa, K. R., Gannon, J. M., Acharya, L., & Rai, A. (2017). The Potential Utility of Ashwagandha for Improving Cognitive Dysfunction in Persons with Bipolar or Other Neurocognitive Disorders. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 345-371). Springer, Cham. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_17 The herb is widely used as an alternative treatment option for all types of anxiety disorders. Anxiety is a challenging condition for individuals diagnosed with it and it is characterized by feelings of fear, panic, and uneasiness.

Anxiety is most commonly accompanied by symptoms such as muscle twitches, tension, irritability, dry mouth, inability to focus, nausea, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, tingling hands, insomnia, upset stomach, shortness of breath, excessive sweat, and much more. If symptoms are left unchecked, they can pose a serious medical threat to the individual. [22]Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Anxiety and physical illness. Understanding and treating anxiety can often improve the outcome of chronic disease, such as GI tract problems and heart disease. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness

As previously mentioned, this herb offers powerful adaptogenic benefits to its user. It is a safe and effective option for reducing the level of cortisol and NADPH diaphorase in the body thus preventing stress and anxiety. This herb also functions to manage anxiety by reducing tension, thus creating a calm and relaxed feeling in the body and mind.

This herb has been found to contain anxiolytic and neuroprotective properties. [23]Kaur, G., Kataria, H., & Mishra, R. (2018). Medicinal Plants as Novel Promising Therapeutics for Neuroprotection and Neuroregeneration. In New Age Herbals (pp. 437-453). Springer, Singapore. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-981-10-8291-7_20 This means that the herb may be able to help its users maintain a calm and relaxed mental state, providing them with self-control when they find themselves in the middle of stressful activities and situations.

The benefits of Ashwagandha in reducing emotional and psychological tension may also help individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. It can help to manage as well as reduce the severity of chronic panic and other anxiety attacks. This herb may also be used to help prevent the occurrence of such attacks if taken on a regular basis. [24]Bongiorno, P. (2014). Ashwagandha for Anxiety. Ancient herbal remedy for modern life stress. Psychology Today, Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/inner-source/201401/ashwaganda-anxiety

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for anxiety found that the herb may be beneficial in reducing the level of stress compared to placebo. [25]Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 20(12): 901–908. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177 It is important to state that one of the leading causes of anxiety disorder is stress. This comprehensive literature review was conducted to investigate the metrics of stress and their relation to Ashwagandha. The information that was collected revealed that just a limited number of human clinical trials have tested Withania somnifera as a treatment for anxiety and stress. The general finding among these studies however, was that Withania somnifera produced a significant improvement in the symptoms associated with anxiety.

Another clinical trial that looked into the relationship between Ashwagandha and anxiety found that the herb may be active in lowering the concentration of the compounds that cause stress in the blood. [26]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

Ashwagandha Benefits For Depression

Another health benefit of Ashwagandha is the herb’s ability to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. [27]Chengappa, K. R., Gannon, J. M., Acharya, L., & Rai, A. (2017). The Potential Utility of Ashwagandha for Improving Cognitive Dysfunction in Persons with Bipolar or Other Neurocognitive Disorders. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 345-371). Springer, Cham. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_17 Just like anxiety, depression is difficult for individuals that are diagnosed with the condition. Depression is characterized by a feeling of sadness and hopelessness for an extended period of time.

Individuals diagnosed with depression need to be monitored because the condition can lead to suicidal thoughts. It can be hereditary but it may also be caused by a number of other things including chronic illness, anxiety, sexual and/or physical abuse, ADHD, drug abuse, childhood difficulties s, and other life-changing events.

Depression is accompanied by symptoms like sadness, anxiety, insomnia, hopelessness, emptiness, guilt, irritability, fatigue, lack of concentration, loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach upset, headaches and many others. [28]WebMD, (n.d.). Symptoms of Depression, Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/detecting-depression#1 The condition is prevalent in recent times and a large number of individuals are currently battling depression.

It is reported that over 16 million American adults suffer from depression. [29]National Institute of Mental Health Site. (n.d.). Major Depression. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml The report also revealed that, contrary to what many people may think, depression affects people of all genders and age brackets At least one in every 8 adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 is diagnosed every year with major depression in the United States.

If you are currently suffering from depression, Ashwagandha may be able to help you manage the condition. The herbal supplement is reportedly as effective as some prescription antidepressants out there. Interestingly, Ashwagandha unlike most pharmaceutical medications prescribed to manage depression, has little or no adverse side effects.

As readers already know, many pharmaceutical antidepressants are accompanied by unpleasant adverse side effects. Additionally, these medications function by simply numbing the symptoms in individuals diagnosed with the condition. These symptoms may return, worse than ever, after a short period of time.

Ashwagandha, when used for depression, may help create a calm and relaxing mental state thus enhancing self-control, and preventing confusion. It may also help to create a feeling of happiness, peacefulness, mental clarity and better sleep. All of which may have a positive influence and help sufferers manage their condition properly.

Although Ashwagandha is not a strong sedative, the herb may offer mild sedative benefits for the nervous system of its users, if taken in larger doses. The herb has also been found to be a powerful muscle relaxant. [30]Amarprakash, D., Anaya, P., Shubhangi, K., & Anjna, K. (2018). A Clinical Study to Evaluate Efficacy of Agnikarma (Locally) and Ashwagandha Ghanavati (Internally) in the Management of Manyagata Vata wsr Cervical Spondylosis. International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, 9(3), 208-213. Retrieved from https://www.ijam.co.in/index.php/ijam/article/view/1109 This may go a long way in helping patients with depression to regain calmness, sleep well and eventually return to their normal lives.

It is believed that the benefits of Ashwagandha for depression are primarily due to the adaptogenic properties of the herb. A study that looked into the relationship between Ashwagandha and depression found that the herb functions to improve the symptoms of this condition by enhancing adrenergic signaling. This, in turn, minimizes the effects of chemicals linked with depression such as clonidine and reserpine. [31]Wadhwa, R., Kalra, R. S., Chaudhary, A., & Kaul, S. C. (2017). Ashwagandha for Brain Health: Experimental Evidence for Its Neuroregenerative Activities. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 283-304). Springer, Cham. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_14

Ashwagandha Benefits For Better Mood

Ashwagandha has been used for stabilization and mood enhancement for centuries. Due to the adaptogenic benefits of Ashwagandha, the herb may effectively enhance mood and boost mental clarity. This is the reason why it is prescribed as an alternative treatment option for individuals suffering from depression.
The herbal supplement functions to improve mood by reducing the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. This, in turn, leads to reduced levels of stress, tension, confusion, and anxiety, as well as creating a feeling of calmness, peacefulness, and happiness. In addition, the herb also actively increases the user’s level of energy thus making them more active, vibrant, and full of strength at all times. [32]Shrivastava, S., Mishra, R. P., & Dwivedi, S. N. (2016). Ashwagandha, A rejuvenator of Ayurveda: An overview. International Journal of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, 7. Retrieved from http://www.ijplsjournal.com/issues%20PDF%20files/Archive-2016/Oct-nov-2016/10.pdf

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for mood found that it was active in managing the constant mood swings associated with menopause, by making women feel calm and relaxed. [33]Steels, E., Steele, M., Harold, M., Adams, L., & Coulson, S. (2018). A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating safety and efficacy of an ayurvedic botanical formulation in reducing menopausal symptoms in otherwise healthy women. Journal of Herbal Medicine. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2018.01.001 It is believed that it may also offer the same benefits to individuals suffering from conditions that may significantly affect mood and mental clarity.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Thyroid

Ashwagandha for Thyroid

Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in regulating the activities of the thyroid gland and effective in alleviating the symptoms of the different categories of thyroid disorders. [34]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. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(3), 243-248. doi.org/10.1089/acm.2017.0183 The two common types of thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is characterized by the production of excessive thyroid hormones in the body which in turn leads to the utilization of more energy than normal. Hypothyroidism on the other hand, is characterized by the production of too little thyroid hormones thereby making the body utilize energy a little less than it should.

Hyperthyroidism is usually accompanied by unpleasant symptoms like muscle weakness, nervousness, a sudden increase in the size of the thyroid gland (causing a goiter), and heat intolerance. Other symptoms of the condition are insomnia, weight loss, irritability, diarrhea, shaky hands, warm skin, reduced menstrual cycle and flow, eye changes, thinning hair, and increased perspiration.

Meanwhile, those with hypothyroidism may experience symptoms like rapid weight gain, fatigue, constipation, depression, cold intolerance, forgetfulness, dry skin, dry hair, and increased menstrual cycle and flow. There are different factors that may affect the normal synthesis of the thyroid hormones thus leading to the development of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

However, a study conducted on the causes of these conditions found that it may be hereditary. [35]Persani, L. (2017). Genetics of thyroid disorders. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 31(2), 127-128. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beem.2017.05.002 / Hyperthyroidism can be detrimental to your health and if left untreated may lead to liver damage and chronic mental health conditions. Thyroid hormones like the TSH, T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) are essential for the general well being of the body. These hormones perform important functions including increasing the basal metabolism rate, stimulating the production and growth of long bones, as well as converting iodine into thyroid hormones.

Additionally, these hormones also help to aid in metabolism of vitamins, fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. They increase the body’s sensitivity to the hormones released in stressful situations, thereby increasing protein synthesis. Ashwagandha is prescribed by herbal specialists to manage different types of thyroid disorders. [36]Edwards, S. E., da Costa Rocha, I., Williamson, E. M., & Heinrich, M. (2015). Ashwagandha Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal. Phytopharmacy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Herbal Medicinal Products, 32-35. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KGu5BgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA32&dq=ashwagandha+thyroid&ots=Z6AvGyRDNU&sig=RJMmi8X2oEHie2rzV5HPAvNrO4s#v=onepage&q=ashwagandha%20thyroid&f=false

The herb helps to alleviate these conditions by stimulating the production of the T4 hormone. At the same time, Ashwagandha helps to minimize the destructive effects to cells in the body. This may go a long way in reducing the symptoms experienced by people diagnosed with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

However, it is important to state that an increased level of the T4 hormone may lead to oxidative stress as well as encourage the activities of free radicals and cell damage. Ashwagandha actively aids in combating these free radicals by inhibiting them and reducing lipid peroxidation. [37]Pal, A., Kumar, M., Saharan, V., Bhushan, B., & CCS HAU, H. (2015). Anti-oxidant and free radical scavenging activity of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L.) leaves. Journal of Global Biosciences, 4(1), 1127-1137. Retrieved from http://www.mutagens.co.in/jgb/vol.04/1/02.pdf

This simply means that although Ashwagandha may stimulate the production of the T4 hormone in the body, the herbs also simultaneously helps to reduce the risk associated with an increased level of it. Ashwagandha does this by significantly enhancing the functions of liver enzymes that aid the metabolism of thyroid hormones. This is beneficial in aiding the quick conversion of the T4 hormone into an active T3 hormone.

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for thyroid conditions found that the adaptogenic benefits of Ashwagandha root extract may effectively stimulate a balance in hormones thereby managing the symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid. [38]Panthi, S., & Gao, T. (2015). Diagnosis and management of primary hypothyroidism in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Traditional Indian Medicine (Ayurveda). International Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1(1): 009, 12(009). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b4d4/35e547a0689ec83853aec9e4f1dd14772795.pdf The herb also functions to manage an overactive thyroid by stimulating the conversion of the T4 hormone into T3.

Another study conducted to check the relationship between Ashwagandha and thyroid found that the herb may effectively normalize thyroid symptoms in hypothyroid patients. [39]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 Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(3):243-248. doi: 10.1089/acm.2017.0183 The herb also improves the anti-peroxidation of hepatic tissue. It was found to be beneficial in improving thyroid symptoms in patients diagnosed with unipolar and bipolar mood disorders. [40]Gannon, J. M., Forrest, P. E., & Roy Chengappa, K. N. (2012). 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):241-5. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.146566

Furthermore, it is believed that Ashwagandha slows down the production of active T3 since it has been found [41] Hashimoto’s, H. O. (2018). Adrenal Thyroid Solution Course. Retrieved from https://avivaromm.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Day48Top-7-Supplements-You-Should-Know-About-If-You-Have-Hypothyroid-or-Hashimoto.pdf to increase the production of T4 and prevent oxidative stress. [42]Madhuri, W., Nilofar, S., & Priti, S. (2013). Effects of glycowithanolides on lipid peroxidation and lipofuscinogenesis in male reproductive organs of mice. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 11(9): 711–716. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3941332/ Interestingly, a small dose of Ashwagandha over a short period of time may be beneficial in triggering the normal functions of the thyroid gland.

About two teaspoonfuls of Ashwagandha root extract powder mixed with ghee, honey or milk may effectively alleviate the symptoms of various thyroid disorders. Meanwhile, it is reported that this herb is more effective for these conditions when taken alongside other Ayurvedic herbal supplements like bauhinia bark and Guggulu gum. [43]Panda, S., & Kar, A. (2010). Combined Effects of Ashwagandha, Guggulu and Bauhinia Extracts in the Regulation of Thyroid Function and on Lipid Peroxidation in Mice. Pharmacy and Pharmacology Communications. 6. 141-143143. DOI:10.1211/146080800128735782

Ashwagandha Benefits For Muscle Size, Strength, And Stamina

Ashwagandha is beneficial in increasing the strength, and stamina of its users. As mentioned above, Ashwagandha is translated in Sanskrit to mean “Horse smell”. This has made many people conclude that the reason for such a name, is because the herb provides its users with strength similar to that of a horse.

The herb may also be active in increasing muscle strength, and muscle mass. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals who live an active lifestyle, for bodybuilders and those who engage in other stressful activities. [44]Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 43. doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9

Furthermore, the adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory properties of the herb allow this category of individuals to engage in stressful activities without worrying as much about their health and muscle injuries. This is because it can stimulate quick repair of tissues in the body as well as enhancing short recovery times after stressful activities. [45]Tiwari, R., Chakraborty, S., Saminathan, M., Dhama, K., & Singh, S. V. (2014). Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Role in safeguarding health, immunomodulatory effects, combating infections and therapeutic applications: A review. Journal of Biological Sciences,14(2), 77-94. Retrieved from https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=jbs.2014.77.94

Ashwagandha Benefits For Sleep

Ashwagandha was used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine to improve sleep. The herb is still widely used today for better sleep. It was found that the herb may be used as a safe and effective alternative treatment option for insomnia and other sleep disorders. [46]Kaushik, M., Kaul, S., Wadhwa, R., & Urade, Y. (2015). Identification of somnogenic component of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaf. Sleep Medicine, 16, S242. DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2015.02.1520 Sleep is essential for the normal function of all organs and systems in the body.

When an individual sleeps, the body repairs damaged tissues in the brain and other parts of the body as well as relieving stress and replenishing energy. This is the reason why you wake up feeling energetic and refreshed. It is recommended to get proper sleep every day in order to be able to carry out your normal day to day activities.

However, the meaning of sufficient sleep may differ from one person to another, but it is generally advised to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every day. It is reported by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) that up to 40 million Americans battle with more than 70 different types of sleep disorders and about 60 percent of American adults report sleep troubles a few nights every week. [47]National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Lack Of Sleep Is Affecting Americans, Finds The National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/media-center/press-release/lack-sleep-affecting-americans-finds-the-national-sleep-foundation

A study has shown that adequate sleep may help regulate cellular immunity, and sleep deprivation may disrupt neuro-immune-endocrine interactions. Sleep deprivation may significantly disrupt sleep patterns, resulting in a poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorder reported. This condition is characterized by difficulty in falling asleep and/or the inability to maintain it. [48]Hurtado-Alvarado, G., Domínguez-Salazar, E., Pavon, L., Velazquez-Moctezuma, J., & Gomez-Gonzalez, B. (2016). Blood-brain barrier disruption induced by chronic sleep loss: low-grade inflammation may be the link. Journal of Immunology Research, 2016. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/4576012

It is caused by the inability of the body to control the normal sleep-wake cycles that results in a significant reduction in immunity, slow metabolism, excessive stress and hormonal imbalances. [49]del Rey, A., & Besedovsky, H. O. (2017). Immune-Neuro-Endocrine Reflexes, Circuits, and Networks: Physiologic and Evolutionary Implications. In Endocrine Immunology (Vol. 48, pp. 1-18). Karger Publishers. doi.org/10.1159/000452902 If insomnia and other sleep disorders are left untreated, they may lead to other health conditions like depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer, as well as neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most pharmaceutical medications used for managing insomnia are accompanied by adverse side effects and they may cause dependency. This makes it imperative to consider natural therapies like Ashwagandha. The herb has been found to be an effective alternative treatment option for sleep disorders. [50]Kaushik, M. K., Kaul, S. C., Wadhwa, R., Yanagisawa, M., Urade, & Y. (2017). Triethylene glycol, an active component of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves, is responsible for sleep induction. PLoS One, 12(2):e0172508. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172508

The herb supports this function by helping to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thereby producing a calm and relaxed feeling in the body and mind. All of these help to stimulate the activities of natural mechanisms that control sleep cycles. Although Ashwagandha is not a strong sedative, the herb may be able to provide its users with mild sedative benefits.

This herb helps to treat sleep disorders by stimulating the production of antioxidant enzymes, enhancing metabolism, as well as repairing damaged brain cells. A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for sleep, found that the herb may be beneficial in suppressing the destructive effects of sleep loss on memory and learning. [51]Manchanda, S., Mishra, R., Singh, R., Kaur, T., & Kaur, G. (2017). Aqueous Leaf Extract of Withania somnifera as a Potential Neuroprotective Agent in Sleep-deprived Rats: A Mechanistic Study. Molecular Neurobiology, 54(4):3050-3061. doi: 10.1007/s12035-016-9883-5

The researchers added that it may be beneficial in treating sleep deprivation induced cognitive impairments. Another study that looked into the relationship between Ashwagandha and insomnia found that the sleep-promoting benefits of the herb are attributable to its GABAergic-like effects. [52]Candelario, M., Cuellar, E., Reyes-Ruiz, J. M., Darabedian, N., Feimeng, Z., Miledi, R., … & Limon, A. (2015). Direct evidence for GABAergic activity of Withania somnifera on mammalian ionotropic GABAA and GABAρ receptors. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 171, 264-272. doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2015.05.058

This herb was also found to be beneficial in managing sleep deprivation induced stress and related functional impairments. [53]Kaur, T., Singh, H., Mishra, R., Manchanda, S., Gupta, M., Saini, V., … Kaur, G. (2017). Withania somnifera as a potential anxiolytic and immunomodulatory agent in acute sleep deprived female Wistar rats. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 427(1-2),91-101. doi: 10.1007/s11010-016-2900-1 It is recommended to take Ashwagandha before bed with milk, or with other beverages. Ashwagandha for insomnia may work better if used with valerian root.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Weight Loss

Ashwagandha for Weight Loss

Are you looking to shed weight naturally? Ashwagandha may be the answer you are looking for. The herb is believed to contain properties that may effectively aid in weight loss. It is known that sudden and unexplained weight gain may result from excessive stress, [54]Schorr, M., Lawson, E. A., Dichtel, L. E., Klibanski, A., & Miller, K. K. (2015). Cortisol measures across the weight spectrum. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 100(9), 3313-3321. doi.org/10.1210/JC.2015-20786 hypothyroidism, high levels of blood sugar, poor metabolism or even increased levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

The good news is, Ashwagandha may be able to help you shed unwanted weight, but it is important to state that the process may be slow and may require some patience. This herb helps to aid weight loss by stimulating metabolism, boosting immunity, reducing the level of cortisol by up to 28 percent, reducing fatigue, improving circulation, and metabolizing fat just to name a few.

Furthermore, Ashwagandha effectively regulates the levels of blood sugar and improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The herb may be beneficial in treating different types of thyroid disorders, increase basal metabolic rate (BMR) by actively stimulating the conversion of the T4 hormone into active T3, as well as the conversion of fat to energy.

A study conducted on Ashwagandha benefits for weight loss, found that the herb contains phytochemicals that may effectively help to kill fat cells and prevent the reproduction of new cells. [55]Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2017). Body weight management in adults under chronic stress through treatment with Ashwagandha root extract: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(1), 96-106. doi.org/10.1177/2156587216641830 The herb was also found to be beneficial in boosting energy, the red blood cell count, fitness and the general well being of the body.

All of the above are essential as they are contributing factors to weight loss. Both Ashwagandha root and leaf extract may be beneficial for weight loss. It is recommended to take the herb regularly for better results within a shorter period of time.

Ashwagandha for weight loss may be incorporated into the diet, consumed with cardamom or in warm milk. The herb is reportedly more effective when taken with other stress-reducing herbs like Rhodiola, Rosea, and Eleuthero.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Weight Gain

The herbal supplement may also be used to aid in weight gain. Although too much weight may be detrimental to one’s health, there are times when gaining a little healthy weight may be imperative. [56]Sarada, D., & Punitha, A. (2016). Efficacy of ashwagandha Sunnundalu as a nutritional supplement for Anganwadi (ICDS) children. International Journal of Applied Research, 2(5), 660-665. Retrieved from http://www.allresearchjournal.com/archives/2016/vol2issue5/PartJ/2-4-52-275.pdf For instance, fitness professionals, bodybuilders, and individuals suffering from conditions that may affect weight gain such as HIV may need to put on weight to maintain their lifestyle and condition. Ashwagandha performs this function by strengthening the immune systems of individuals diagnosed with the virus.
The herb is reportedly beneficial in reversing and preventing weight loss suffered by chemotherapy patients as a result of the side effects of the medications used for treatment. Interestingly, Ashwagandha offers this benefits without interfering with the functions of other medications. [57]Joshi, K. (2016). Studies of Ashwagandha Withania somnifera Dunal. International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archive, 7(1). Retrieved from https://www.ijpba.info/ijpba/index.php/ijpba/article/view/1456

It may also be used to effectively manage and reverse the weight loss that is associated with the decline in the levels of testosterone in men. Although Ashwagandha may not help you gain weight in a few days, the herb may be beneficial in increasing muscle mass. This is the reason why Ashwagandha is one of the major ingredients of many bodybuilding products on the market today.

As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha may be beneficial in helping its users resist stress thus maintaining a healthy body weight. A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for weight gain found that the root extract of the herb may be effectively used for body weight management in individuals under chronic stress. [58]Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2017). Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 22(1):96-106. DOI: 10.1177/2156587216641830

Additionally, it may be used to help regulate the activities of the thyroid gland thus preventing rapid and unwanted weight loss as well as an alternative treatment option for thyroid disorders.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Hair

This herb offers numerous benefits that may help improve the condition of the hair for both men and women. Hair may suffer from conditions that affect its appearance from time to time. This may often be as a result of chronic illness, lack of proper maintenance, hormonal imbalance, aging, and various other reasons. The most common hair conditions are hair loss, greying and discoloration, and thinning. Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in protecting the hair from damage as well as reversing damage already caused to the hair. [59]Sadick, N. (2017). New-generation therapies for the treatment of hair loss in men. Dermatologic Clinics. doi.org/10.1016/j.det.2017.08.003

However, it is advised to consult with your health practitioner about any sudden and unexplainable hair loss before deciding to take Ashwagandha. This is because it may be an early symptom of a serious health condition. Ashwagandha functions to improve the condition of the hair, strengthening the hair roots, as well as darkening hair color by enhancing the production of melanin. [60]Pathak, S., Ashwini Patil, A., Girbide, S. G., & Kadam, K. N. (2015). Management of khalitya wsr to androgenetic alopecia through jalaukavcharana by ayurveda: A case study. International Ayurvedic Medical Journal ISSN, 2320, 5091. Retrieved from http://www.iamj.in/current_issue/images/upload/2601_2606.pdf

These benefits of Ashwagandha for hair are attributable to the antioxidant effects of the herb, which may be beneficial in balancing hormones and inhibiting the activities of free radicals that cause hair thinning and aging.

Excessive stress ( as discussed previously) has also been linked to premature aging, which may in turn cause hair loss and greying. Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in helping the body resist stress thus allowing its users to get better rest and sleep.

A study conducted on the effects of oxidative stress on hair aging, found that all of the above major contributing factors lead to hair loss, greying, and thinning. [61] Dai, D. F., Chiao, Y. A., Marcinek, D. J., Szeto, H. H., & Rabinovitch, P. S. (2014). Mitochondrial oxidative stress in aging and healthspan. Longevity & Healthspan, 3(1), 6. doi.org/10.1186/2046-2395-3-6 Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha may be beneficial for the symptoms of major and minor hair conditions.

Centuries ago, Ashwagandha was used for its medicinal benefits for the hair as a herbal hair shampoo and conditioner. This is because the herb reportedly stimulates rapid hair growth and healthy follicles. It also effectively combats dandruff, and helps to treat other hair health conditions. [62]Yamani, N. S. (2018). Formulation and evaluation of polyherbal hair oil. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 7(3), 3254-3256. Retrieved from http://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2018/vol7issue3/PartAR/7-3-367-891.pdf

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for hair, found that the herbal supplement may prevent the excessive hair loss that occurs in women suffering from NCAH (non-classical adrenal hyperplasia). [63]Amir, K., Gul, B., & Alan, S. (2012). Ashwagandha root in the treatment of non-classical adrenal hyperplasia. BMJ Case Reports, 2012: bcr2012006989. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2012-006989 Another study conducted to investigate the relationship between Ashwagandha and hair loss, found that the herb may effectively reduce hair loss caused by alopecia areata. [64]Powell, D., Inoue, T., Bahtiyar, G., Fenteany, G., & Sacerdote, A. (2017). Treatment of Nonclassic 11-Hydroxylase Deficiency with Ashwagandha Root. Case Reports. Endocrinology, 2017:1869560. doi: 10.1155/2017/1869560

This herb has also been found to be useful in increasing metabolism, thus creating room for better absorption of nutrient by the body, which may, in turn, lead to improved physical health. Ashwagandha may be more effective in treating hair conditions and improving its appearance if used alongside Guduchi.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Inflammation

Ashwagandha for Inflammation

Ashwagandha has been used for centuries to treat inflammation in the body. The condition is characterized by swelling and pain in the tissues, joints, organs and other parts of the body. It was found that this is because of the anti-inflammatory benefits of the herb. [65]Giri, K. R. (2016). Comparative study of anti-inflammatory activity of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) with hydrocortisone in experimental animals (Albino rats). Journal of Medicinal Plant Studies, 4, 78-83. Retrieved from http://www.plantsjournal.com/archives/2016/vol4issue1/PartB/3-6-41.pdf This benefit of Ashwagandha can be attributed to the function of it major phytochemical called withanolides.

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, the herb was used to treat pain from medical conditions and injuries in the body. However, it is advised to inform your doctor about any unexplained pain and inflammation in the body. This is because more often chronic inflammation may be a symptom of the development of serious health conditions and diseases.

Inflammation, if left unattended may lead to unbearable discomfort, pain and even chronic conditions for those experiencing it. Ashwagandha may be able to provide quick and long-lasting relief from inflammation for its users. The herb reportedly does this by inhibiting the activities of major inflammation markers including C-reactive protein (CRP). This is extremely beneficial for individuals suffering from inflammation, because this maker has been shown to be linked with an increased risk of developing heart disease. [66]Shrivastava, A. K., Singh, H. V., Raizada, A., & Singh, S. K. (2015). C-reactive protein, inflammation and coronary heart disease. The Egyptian Heart Journal, 67(2), 89-97. doi.org/10.1016/j.ehj.2014.11.005

Individuals who have hectic lives with a lot of activities are more prone to tissue and muscle injuries. The herb is also beneficial to this category of individuals, as it actively reduces the recovery time after stressful activities.

Interestingly, Ashwagandha has been found to be effective in enhancing the production of killer cells in the body. These cells are active in helping the body fight infections and diseases that may attack it. [67]Kurapati, K. R. V., Samikkannu, T., Atluri, V. S. R., Kaftanovskaya, E., Yndart, A., & Nair, M. P. (2014). β-Amyloid1-42, HIV-1Ba-L (Clade B) infection and drugs of abuse induced degeneration in human neuronal cells and protective effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and its constituent Withanolide A. PLoS One, 9(11), e112818. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112818

Ashwagandha Benefits For Skin

Ashwagandha has the ability to help prevent skin damage and premature skin aging. The skin goes through a lot on a daily basis, thus making it imperative to pay attention and give it the best treatment you can. The appearance of your skin can tell stories about you.

One of the major causes of skin aging and damage, is the activity of free radicals in the body. A significant reduction in the levels of sex hormone – estrogen and testosterone are also known to be contributing factors to skin damage. [68]Farage M.A., Miller K.W., Maibach H.I. (2017) Degenerative Changes in Aging Skin. In: Farage M., Miller K., Maibach H. (eds) Textbook of Aging Skin. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-47398-6_4

Ashwagandha may be beneficial in preventing skin damage caused by stress, as the herb has been found to effectively regulate the levels of cortisol in the body. This is because chronic stress may prevent the production of structural proteins and important compounds that are essential for managing healthy skin. These compounds include elastin, hyaluronan, and collagen, and too little of these may lead to wrinkles, acne, dry skin, and many other detrimental conditions. [69]Kuehne, A., Emmert, H., Soehle, J., Winnefeld, M., Fischer, F., Wenck, H., … & Zamboni, N. (2015). Acute activation of oxidative pentose phosphate pathway as first-line response to oxidative stress in human skin cells. Molecular Cell, 59(3), 359-371. doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2015.06.017

This herbal supplement has been shown to significantly increase the levels of the DHEA hormone which is the precursor to testosterone and estrogen. Ashwagandha has been found to contain compounds that may also effectively increase the levels of estrogen in the body.

The combined effects of estrogen and DHEA may lead to beautiful and youthful skin. The hormones do this by enhancing the production of hyaluronic acid and rich skin oils.

Ashwagandha can help stimulate the increased production of collagen while simultaneously inhibiting the activities of enzymes the break down hyaluronic acid and collagen. As a powerful antioxidant, the herbal supplement helps to prevent the destructive effects linked to the activities of free radicals on the skin. This herb can also serve as a powerful skin toner and cleanser. [70]Meher, S. K., Das, B., Panda, P., Bhuyan, G. C., & Rao, M. M. (2016). Uses of Withania somnifera (Linn) Dunal (Ashwagandha) in Ayurveda and its Pharmacological Evidences. Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics, 8(1), 23. DOI : 10.5958/2321-5836.2016.00006.9

Beyond just making the skin beautiful, Ashwagandha may actively reduce inflammation and heal both internal and external injuries. To enjoy this benefit, a paste made from Ashwagandha root powder should be applied topically to the skin.

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, the herb was also prescribed as an alternative treatment option for acne. Acne is characterized by the production of comedones, nodules, cysts, and pustules. It is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting millions of Americans every year.

Ashwagandha has been found to contain properties that may help in managing acne. [71]Powell, D., Inoue, T., Bahtiyar, G., Fenteany, G., & Sacerdote, A. (2017). Treatment of Nonclassic 11-Hydroxylase Deficiency with Ashwagandha Root. Case Reports In Endocrinology, 2017:1869560. doi: 10.1155/2017/1869560 Herbal specialists attribute this benefits of Ashwagandha to the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb. [72]Khan, M. A., Subramaneyaan, M., Arora, V. K., Banerjee, B. D., & Ahmed, R. S. (2015). Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root extract on amelioration of oxidative stress and autoantibodies production in collagen-induced arthritic rats. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 12(2):117-25. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2014-0075 Acne is usually accompanied by inflammation and irritation to the skin caused by pimples and blocked pores.

The antibacterial properties of Ashwagandha may help to treat acne. It is believed that withanolides found in the herb offer these antibacterial effects that can serve as a powerful treatment option for acne sufferers. [73]Kaur, S., Kaur, H. P., & Aggarwal, S. (2015). Evaluation of antibacterial activity, antioxidant potential and phytochemicals of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha). World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4, 1032-1042. Retrieved from https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C43&as_ylo=2014&q=ashwagandha+antibacterials&oq=ashwagandha+antibac

Stress plays a large role in the development of acne and reduced levels of stress hormone cortisol may be beneficial for the treatment of acne. It is no news that Ashwagandha contains adaptogenic properties that may help reduce the level of cortisol by about 28 percent. [74]Kapoor, J., Chandrasekhar, K., & 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 All the above-mentioned properties of this herb may help you manage acne.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Aging

Ashwagandha for Aging

The aging process is an inevitable in all living things. Ashwagandha has been found [75]Pradhan, R., Kumar, R., Shekhar, S., Rai, N., Ambashtha, A., Banerjee, J., … Dey, A. B. (2017). Longevity and healthy ageing 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 to be beneficial in delaying the onset of aging and has also been shown to be beneficial in slowing down the process of aging in people who are already experiencing it. [76]Pal, A., Kumar, M., Saharan, V., Bhushan, B., & CCS HAU, H. (2015). Anti-oxidant and free radical scavenging activity of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera L.) leaves. Journal of Global Biosciences, 4(1), 1127-1137. Retrieved from http://www.mutagens.co.in/jgb/vol.04/1/02.pdf The aging process is associated with numerous changes in how the body operates, including the degeneration of systems and organs.

Ashwagandha may be able to offer its users more time before the process starts or slow it down for those already experiencing it. [77]Vaishali, V. K., Mangal, A. B., & Milind, A. N. (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 Studies have shown that this herb performs this function by preventing the damage of tissues, balancing hormones, preventing the development of neurodegenerative conditions and stabilizing the general well being of the body. The herb also functions to help prevent joint inflammation, skin wrinkling, fatigue, infertility, as well as greying of the hair.

Furthermore, Ashwagandha contains active components that may be beneficial in inhibiting the activities and preventing damage caused by free radicals that speed up the process of aging. It was found that this makes Ashwagandha active in inhibiting the generation of free radicals that cause damage to DNA in the body. [78]Aversa, R., Petrescu, R. V., Apicella, A., & Petrescu, F. I. (2016). One can slow down the aging through antioxidants. American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Volume 9(4), 1-15. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3074497

Another study conducted to investigate the efficacy of this herbal supplement in slowing down the process of aging, found that it may be active in preventing damage to the spinal cord that has been associated with aging. [79]Gupta, S. K., Dua, A., & Vohra, B. P. (2013). Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) attenuates antioxidant defense in aged spinal cord and inhibits copper induced lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modifications. Drug Metabolism and Drug Interactions, 19(3):211-22. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14682611 This may help in preventing spinal cord related issues seen in older individuals.

It has also been found that Ashwagandha may be useful in preventing the generation of advanced glycation end products (AGE), which have been found to be the major influence behind many health conditions. [80]Liu, W., Ma, H., DaSilva, N. A., Rose, K. N., Johnson, S. L., Zhang, L., … & Seeram, N. P. (2016). Development of a neuroprotective potential algorithm for medicinal plants. Neurochemistry International, 100, 164-177. doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2016.09.014
Many herbal specialists believe that the effectiveness of Ashwagandha for aging is due to the antioxidant properties of the herb. The antioxidant benefits of the herbal supplement have been shown to be effective in preventing the premature onset of aging as well as oxidative stress associated with the process. [81]Vaishali, V. K., Mangal, A. B., & Milind, A. N. (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 The herb performs this function by aiding in stimulating the normal activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) as well as inhibiting the malondialdehyde (MDA).

Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in slowing down the aging process as it counteracts the functions of two proteins that have been shown to be downregulated by aging – FOXO3A and SIRT3. [82]Pradhan, R., Kumar, R., Shekhar, S., Rai, N., Ambashtha, A., Banerjee, J., … Dey, A. B. (2017). Longevity and healthy ageing 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

Lastly, the herb help to regulate the levels of cortisol in the body. This is also beneficial for a healthy aging process, as stress is the major contributing factor to aging. It may lead to a rapid loss of bone mass, wrinkles, hormonal imbalances, depression, muscle loss, weakness, anxiety, and even neurodegenerative conditions. [83]Epel, E. S., & Lithgow, G. J. (2014). Stress biology and aging mechanisms: toward understanding the deep connection between adaptation to stress and longevity. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biomedical Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69(Suppl_1), S10-S16. doi.org/10.1016/j.neuint.2016.09.014

Ashwagandha Benefits For Memory

Ashwagandha is prescribed by herbal specialists for boost memory. It is believed that this is because the herbal extract contains chemicals that may offer neuroprotective benefits to its users.

Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in improving the functions of neurotransmitters, and preventing the development of neurological conditions. [84]Sandhir, R., & Sood, A. (2017). Neuroprotective Potential of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in Neurological Conditions. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 373-387). Springer, Cham. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_18 This herb helps to stimulate the growth of neurons, prevent oxidative stress, improve intellect, and increase visual and spatial memory. All the above are believed to be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms that may be seen in individuals diagnosed with memory deficits. [85]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.org/10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970

Ashwagandha is beneficial in delaying and slowing down the onset of memory loss associated with the natural process of aging. The herb has been found to be beneficial in boosting memory and slowing memory loss in this category of individuals, granting its users a benefit that may not be enjoyed by those who do not take Ashwagandha. This herb reportedly performs this function by delaying the onset of the degeneration of brain cells – A leading cause of memory loss. [86]Konar, A., & Thakur, M. K. (2017). Cellular and Molecular Targets Underpinning Memory Enhancement by Ashwagandha. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 305-318). Springer, Cham. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_15

Furthermore, the benefits of Ashwagandha for memory also includes improving concentration and focus as well as reducing anxiety and tension. This is beneficial for individuals battling with a constant lack of concentration and forgetfulness. It may also serve as an alternative treatment option for people suffering from other chronic cognitive disorders. [87]Tomoharu, K., Katsuko, K., & Chihiro T. (2005). Neuritic regeneration and synaptic reconstruction induced by withanolide A. British Journal of Pharmacology, 144(7): 961–971. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0706122

Ashwagandha Benefits For Cognition

Another amazing benefit of Ashwagandha root extract is the herb’s ability to improve cognitive function as well as prevent cognitive disorders in people who are at a higher risk. It may also serve as a treatment option for those already diagnosed with a cognitive related condition.

Ashwagandha, if taken on a regular basis, may be highly beneficial in preventing age-related cognitive degeneration and neurodegenerative diseases. A study conducted on the benefit of Ashwagandha for cognition, found that the herb may be beneficial in enhancing cognitive functions as well as treating cognitive disorders. [88]Kuboyama, T., Tohda, C., & Komatsu, K. (2014). Effects of Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera) on neurodegenerative diseases. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 37(6), 892-897. doi.org/10.1248/bpb.b14-00022

Another study conducted to investigate the relationship between Ashwagandha and cognition, found that this herb may be beneficial in treating mild cognitive impairment. [89]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: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970 The researchers observed that the herb led to improved memory, executive function, ability to process information, and attention, as well as a significant reduction in the level of oxidative stress.

Among the many benefits of Ashwagandha for cognition, it has been found that the herb may be beneficial for healing nerve cells and alleviating the unpleasant symptoms that accompany neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases. [90]Tewari, M., Pandey, H. S., & Seth, P. (2017). Using Human Neural Stem Cells as a Model to Understand the “Science of Ashwagandha”. In Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials (pp. 319-344). Springer, Cham. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_162 It is believed that Ashwagandha helps to treat these conditions by preventing neurological decline.

Additionally, Ashwagandha helps to prevent confusion and tension in the body by regulating the stress hormone – cortisol. [91]Deshpande, A., Irani, N., & Balakrishnan, R. (2018). Study protocol and rationale for a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on nonrestorative sleep. Medicine, 97(26). doi: [10.1097/MD.0000000000011299] This herb also been shown to imitate the activities and behavior of the Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is an important neurotransmitter in the body that controls the functions neurons and prevents them from overworking.

This helps to lower stress in the body as well as to create a calm, and relaxed feeling in the mind. Ashwagandha benefits for cognition may also include an antioxidant effect, that may be beneficial in preventing brain cell damage as well as maintaining a healthy brain during every stage of life.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Cancer

Ashwagadha for Cancer

Ashwagandha is prescribed by herbal specialists as a natural therapy to manage the symptoms of persons diagnosed with different types of cancer. This benefit of the herb is believed to be due to its anti-carcinogenic properties that may be beneficial in enhancing the effects of treatment offered to manage the quality of life in these individuals.

Cancer is generally a disease characterized by the rapid transformation of benign tumors (or healthy cells) into malignant (cancerous) ones. This disease is also accompanied by an unregulated process of normal programmed cell death, unregulated cell division, invasion of cells, as well as metastasis (movement) of cancer cells from one part of the body to another.

Cancer is also characterized by an abnormal process which involves the development of new blood vessels that support the progression of tumor growth (angiogenesis). Cancer may result from an array of factors which include but are not limited to: environmental toxins, genetic factors, viral infections, alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco use or exposure (second hand), chronic stress, side effects of medications, and foods contamination by heavy metals and/or pesticides. A recent study has found that between 40% and 45% of all case of cancers in the United States are associated with preventable risk factors. [92]Golemis, E. A., Scheet, P., Beck, T. N., Scolnick, E. M., Hunter, D. J., Hawk, E., & Hopkins, N. (2018). Molecular mechanisms of the preventable causes of cancer in the United States. Genes & Development, 32(13-14), 868-902. doi: 10.1101/gad.314849.11

Ashwagandha may be beneficial in improving the quality of life and life expectancy in cancer patients. This herb does this by boosting the effect of medications and therapies offered to patients in order to manage their symptoms. It may also effectively help manage the side effects that accompany chemotherapy medications and radiation therapy.

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for cancer patients, found that this herb functions by selectively inhibiting the spread and growth of cancer cells by utilizing the different signaling pathways, as well as reducing the severity of the adverse effects that accompany chemotherapy without interfering with the efficacy of the medications used for the treatment. [93]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), 312-322. doi.org/10.1177/1534735412464551

Another study was conducted to look into the relationship between Ashwagandha and cancer. It found that this herb may actively increased the potency of chemotherapeutic agents and may assist a potential mechanism for enhancing cancer cell death. [94]Henley, A. B., Yang, L., Chuang, K. L., Sahuri-Arisoylu, M., Wu, L. H., Bligh, S. A., & Bell, J. D. (2017). Withania somnifera Root Extract Enhances Chemotherapy through ‘Priming’. PLoS One, 12(1), e0170917. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0170917 Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial for the treatment of different types of cancer, including but not limited to colon, [95]Choi, B. Y., & Kim, B. W. (2015). Withaferin-A inhibits colon cancer cell growth by blocking STAT3 transcriptional activity. Journal of Cancer Prevention, 20(3),185. doi:10.15430/JCP.2015.20.3.185 brain, [96]Shah, N., Singh, R., Sarangi, U., Saxena, N., Chaudhary, A., Kaur, G., … & Wadhwa, R. (2015). Combinations of Ashwagandha leaf extracts protect brain-derived cells against oxidative stress and induce differentiation. PLoS One, 10(3), e0120554. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0120554 breast, [97]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):6327-32. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25368231 prostate, [98]Nishikawa, Y., Okuzaki, D., Fukushima, K., Mukai, S., Ohno, S., Ozaki, Y., … Nojima, H. (2015). Withaferin A Induces Cell Death Selectively in Androgen-Independent Prostate Cancer Cells but Not in Normal Fibroblast Cells. PLoS One, 10(7):e0134137. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134137 and renal and skin [99]Mathur, S., Kaur, P., Sharma, M., Katyal, A., Singh, B., Tiwari, M., & Chandra, R. (2014). The treatment of skin carcinoma, induced by UV B radiation, using 1-oxo-5beta, 6beta-epoxy-witha-2-enolide, isolated from the roots of Withania somnifera, in a rat model. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, 11(5):452-60. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15330502 cancer.

In addition, laboratory studies have shown that withaferin-A, present in Ashwagandha, has been found to effectively inhibit the rapid migration, and growth of leukemia, breast, and colon cancer cells.. [100]Bu Young, C. & Bong-Woo, K. (2015). Withaferin-A Inhibits Colon Cancer Cell Growth by Blocking STAT3 Transcriptional Activity. Journal of Cancer Prevention, 20(3): 185–192. doi: 10.15430/JCP.2015.20.3.185

Other studies conducted on the safety and efficacy of the herb in treating this disease, found that Ashwagandha may be comparable or even more potent in treating cancer than most pharmaceutical chemotherapy medications. [101]Rai, M., Jogee, P. S., Agarkar, G., & dos Santos, C. A. (2016). Anticancer activities of Withania somnifera: Current research, formulations, and future perspectives. Pharmaceutical Biology, 54(2):189-97. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2015.1027778

Both the leaf and the root extract of Ashwagandha have been found to contain properties that may prevent the development of cancer in individuals who are at high risk. However, this herb will need to be taken at regular intervals over a long period of time.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Adrenal Fatigue

Ashwagandha has the ability to treat adrenal fatigue. [102]Ross, I. L., Jones, J., & Blockman, M. (2018). We are tired of ‘adrenal fatigue’. SAMJ: South African Medical Journal, 108(9), 724-725. doi.org/10.7196/samj.2018.v108i9.13292 This condition is characterized by underactive adrenal glands. It is accompanied by numerous symptoms including depression, fatigue, anxiety, a weakened immune system, muscle weakness, salt cravings, and lethargy.

Many health practitioners argue that the condition is not real. It is mostly experienced by individuals diagnosed with bronchitis, pneumonia, and other related conditions. Adrenal fatigue is a minor condition and is not linked with the risk of developing chronic conditions like Addison’s disease or adrenal insufficiency.

The adrenal glands play an important role in the body. They function to release a sufficient amount of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol when they are needed. These two hormones function differently. For instance, the gland typically releases cortisol when a person finds himself in a stressful situation. This is beneficial in boosting the amount of glucose in the body while slowing down the generation of insulin at the same time.

Adrenaline, on the other hand, is released when a person is under stress or is excited. This helps to increase energy levels in the body by boosting heart rate which may in turn trigger faster circulation of blood. Yet, when the body is under constant excitement or stress, the adrenal glands may eventually become weakened and function less than they should, leading to adrenal fatigue.

When adrenal fatigue occurs, it alters the body’s neuroendocrine stress response which also slows down bodily functions in order to preserve energy. Ashwagandha contains adaptogenic benefits that may help the body resist both physical and emotional stress as well as oxidative stress. This is believed to be beneficial since the major cause of adrenal fatigue is stress.

Ashwagandha may also effectively help to reduce lipid peroxidation (a process that causes cell damage) and aid in regulating growth stimulating hormone (GSH). Since Ashwagandha helps to significantly reduce the levels of cortisol in the body, the herb may be beneficial in preventing anxiety, depression and enhancing self-control and calmness. In addition, it helps to increase energy and endurance.

Furthermore, Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in strengthening the immune system, as well as enhancing thyroid function. Just like ginseng, ashwagandha has been found to offer numerous health benefits that may aid in treating adrenal fatigue and alleviate the accompanying symptoms.

However, for the herb to work better in managing your condition, you may need to make some lifestyle changes like incorporating fruits and vegetables in your diet, avoiding junk food and caffeine, as well as getting enough sleep.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Immunity

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, one of the major uses of Ashwagandha root extract was to treat individuals diagnosed with a weak immune systems. Today, the herb is still widely used to strengthen the immune system and protect the body from illnesses, disease, and infections. This benefit of the herb is attributable to its ability to modify immune responses or the functions of the immune system.

The anti-malarial, anti-bacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects of this herb are also beneficial in improving the overall health of the body. A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for immunity found that it may be beneficial in strengthening immunity thus fortifying the body from external and internal attacks. [103]Alhakeem S.S. et al. (2017) The Effects of Withaferin A on Normal and Malignant Immune Cells. In: Kaul S., Wadhwa R. (eds) Science of Ashwagandha: Preventive and Therapeutic Potentials. Springer, Cham. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_11

Ashwagandha for the immune system functions to enhance, inhibit and induce immune responses in the body. The herb does this by aiding in increasing the platelet count, the production of antibodies, the white blood cell (WBC) count, the levels of Interleukin­ 2, the levels of Interferon ­gamma and the amount of bone marrow stem cells [104]Chandran, U., & Patwardhan, B. (2017). Network ethnopharmacological evaluation of the immunomodulatory activity of Withania somnifera. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 197, 250-256. doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.080.

Furthermore, this herbal supplement also prevents the development of bone marrow suppression, stimulates T cell proliferation to help the immune system to defend against infection and disease, prevents hypersensitivity reactions (delayed-­type), as well as to enhance peritoneal macrophages that are responsible for fighting off infection and preventing inflammation in the abdominal cavity. Additionally, Ashwagandha actively helps to reduce stress levels in the body. Stress is a notorious suppressant of the immune system and reduced levels of it, helps to strengthen the immune system [105]Ali, M., Rizvi, T. F., Alam, S. P., Ali, M. C., Kumar, R., & Kumar, A. (2015). Immunomodulatory effect of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) on cyclophosphamide induced toxicity in rats. American Journal of PharmTech Research, 5(3), 638-645. Retrieved from http://www.ajptr.com/archive/volume-5/june-2015-issue-3/53053.html

Anticancer medications used during chemotherapy are known to suppress the immune system, eventually causing bone marrow suppression, which may also lead to a condition known as neutropenia. This condition is characterized by a significant reduction in the levels of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. As an alternative treatment, [106]Edwards, S. E., da Costa Rocha, I., Williamson, E. M., & Heinrich, M. (2015). Ashwagandha Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal. Phytopharmacy: An Evidence-Based Guide to Herbal Medicinal Products, 32. doi.org/10.1002/9781118543436.ch5 Ashwagandha may effectively help to reverse and even prevent the decrease of white blood cells (neutropenia).

Since Ashwagandha helps to strengthen the immune system, it may prevent bone marrow depression, as well as alleviate the unpleasant side effects associated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Ashwagandha for Hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is prevalent in recent times, with one in every three adults being diagnosed with the medical condition. It is characterized by having a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. However, many adults are unaware that they even have an elevated blood pressure because there are no specific symptoms until the blood pressure reaches a hypertensive crisis. This condition, if left untreated can progress into a life-threatening situation (stroke, seizures or heart attack). [107]American College of Cardiology. (2017). New ACC/AHA high blood pressure guidelines lower definition of hypertension. Retrieved from https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2017/11/08/11/47/mon-5pm-bp-guideline-aha-2017

A study that looked into the benefits of Ashwagandha for blood pressure found that this herb may effectively lower blood pressure in people diagnosed with hypertension. [108]Chandrasekhar, K., Anishetty, S., & Kapoor, J. (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

The benefit of Ashwagandha for blood pressure is attributable to the cardioprotective properties of the herb. Constant stress and anxiety are major contributing factors in the development of high blood pressure. This is because stressful circumstances may lead to a hormonal surge in the body, making the heart beat faster and constrict blood vessels, thereby leading to hypertension. [109]Liu, M. Y., Li, N., Li, W. A., & Khan, H. (2017). Association between psychosocial stress and hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurological Research, 39(6), 573-580. doi.org/10.1080/01616412.2017.1317904

As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha actively reduces the levels of cortisol in the body, thus treating anxiety and relieving stress. In addition, the herbal supplement serves as a hypolipidemic which may reduce lipid levels as well as an anticoagulant (blood thinner). The benefits of Ashwagandha for hypertension translate to reduced cardiovascular risks and improve heart health. [110]Ravindran, R., Sharma, N., Roy, S., Thakur, A. R., Ganesh, S., Kumar, S., … & Rajkumar, J. (2015). Interaction studies of Withania somnifera’s key metabolite Withaferin A with different receptors associated with cardiovascular disease. Current Computer-aided Drug Design, 11(3), 212-221. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26548552

Furthermore, Ashwagandha may effectively treat and prevent heart disease. The condition is influenced by obesity, lifestyle, high levels of cholesterol, and many other factors. This herb functions by helping to slow down the conversion of carbohydrates to triglycerides, prevent lipid peroxidation, reduce vascular damage, and lower the levels of blood cholesterol. [111]Murari, K., Bharti, B. K., Krishnan, S., & Bharti, S. K. (2017). Managing hyperlipidemia: Strategies for preventing cardiovascular disease. The Pharma Innovation, 6(9, Part H), 535-537. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/068c6d3b53fdde796cecdea4dfc19b3f/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1176347

It may also increase the level of good cholesterol and aid in natural weight loss, thus reducing the risk of developing stroke or heart disease. [112]Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Joshi, K. (2017). Body weight management in adults under chronic stress through treatment with Ashwagandha root extract: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 22(1), 96-106. doi.org/10.1177/2156587216641830 The antihyperlipidemic, antiatherogenic, and hypotensive properties of Ashwagandha are believed to be responsible for the herb’s effectiveness in treating and preventing heart diseases.

Ashwagandha for cardioprotection, is reportedly more effective when used alongside a myrrh tree (Guggulu), heart-leaved moonseed (Guduchi), and basil (tulsi).

Ashwagandha Benefits For Blood Sugar

Other benefits of Ashwagandha are the herb’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. The herb may effectively help manage the symptoms of diabetes as well as offering long-lasting relief of the condition.

Diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood glucose due to an insensitivity to insulin, or an insufficient production of insulin or even both. Persons diagnosed with diabetes may manifest symptoms like increased thirst (polydipsia), frequent urination (polyuria), and excessive hunger (polyphagia). If left untreated, diabetes may lead to many health complications or even loss of one’s life.

Ashwagandha has been found to be rich in chemical compounds that may effectively help manage all types of diabetes. It is reported that the herb may be as effective as many pharmaceutical diabetes medications. The herb has been found to function by stimulating the production of insulin, and W. somnifera leaf and root extracts increase glucose uptake in skeletal muscle fibers and fat cells in the connective tissues. [113]Gorelick, J., Rosenberg, R., Smotrich, A., Hanus, L., & Bernstein, N. (2015) Hypoglycemic activity of withanolides and elicitated Withania somnifera. Phytochemistry, 116:283-289. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.02.029 In addition, Ashwagandha may actively reduce the levels of fasting blood sugar in people diagnosed with the conditions as well as healthy individuals.

High levels of cortisol over a long period of time may lead to an increase in blood glucose levels. Ashwagandha functions to help reduce the levels of the hormone (cortisol) thus preventing the development of diabetes. This is also beneficial in managing stress, depression, and anxiety suffered by diabetics. The anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha may also prevent insulin resistance due to inflammation. [114]Samadi Noshahr, Z., Shahraki, M. R., Ahmadvand, H., Nourabadi, D., & Nakhaei, A. (2015). Protective effects of Withania somnifera root on inflammatory markers and insulin resistance in fructose-fed rats. Reports of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 3(2), 62-7. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757043/

Furthermore, the antioxidant effects of Ashwagandha may be beneficial in inhibiting the activities of free radicals as well as treating and preventing fatty liver – a condition that is common among individuals diagnosed with diabetes, as a result of cell damage. [115]Khan, M. A., Subramaneyaan, M., Arora, V. K., Banerjee, B. D., & Ahmed, R. S. (2015). Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root extract on amelioration of oxidative stress and autoantibodies production in collagen-induced arthritic rats. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 12(2), 117-125. Retrieved from http://www.mutagens.co.in/jgb/vol.04/1/02.pdf If this condition is left untreated, it may lead to the development of NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) in diabetics.

Ashwagandha has also been shown to reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, thus preventing the development of diabetes-related heart disease. The immunomodulatory effect of the herb also allows it to help enhance the metabolism functions in the immune and endocrine system, as well as glucose metabolism.

However, it is recommended to consult with your medical practitioner before you take Ashwagandha for diabetes. This is because of the glucose-lowering effect of the herb, if not checked, it may reduce the level of blood sugar below normal, which is detrimental to your health. The herb should also be taken in accordance with recommendations, as it may interfere with the function of prescribed diabetes medications.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Osteoporosis And Bone Health

Ashwagandha for Bone Health

Ashwagandha has been prescribed to improve bone strength. The herb has also been found to be beneficial in treating and preventing osteoporosis. [116]Dipti, R. K., Aggarwal, A., & Jaiswal, M. L. (2016). Ayurveda medicinal plants for Asthikshaya (Osteoporosis). Journal of Ayurvedic and Herbal Medicine, 2(6), 229-235. Retrieved from http://www.ayurvedjournal.com/JAHM_201626_08.pdf Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by extreme weakness of the bones and the risk of broken bones. The condition is most common among the elderly and in menopausal women.

Osteoporosis may either result from low levels of bone mass or high levels of bone loss caused by the natural process of aging and the decline in the levels of estrogen in women. The condition may also result from alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, anorexia, kidney disease, removal of ovaries, lack of exercise, and smoking.

Causes may also include the use of medications like anti-seizure and chemotherapy drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants), proton-pump inhibitors (acid reflux prevention), and glucocorticosteroids (anti-inflammatory for asthma). Smoking and too little exercise are also risk factors. There is generally no symptom prior to a broken bone. The bones that usually break are those in the spine (vertebrae), hip, and forearm.

You may not be able to control aging but you may be able to slow down the process and reduce the damage that accompanies the process. A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for bone health, found that Withaferin A, present in Ashwagandha, may be beneficial in enhancing the proliferation of cells that synthesize components of the bone. [117]Khedgikar, V., Ahmad, N., Kushwaha, 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):205-13. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.05.010

Furthermore, Ashwagandha may prevent bone loss and damage linked to inflammation and stress. Stress reduces the rate of bone formation and increases the level of bone resorption.

Inflammation, on the other hand, is intensified by increased levels of cortisol thus causing an increased risk of osteoporosis. [118]Kumar, G., Srivastava, A., Sharma, S. K., Rao, T. D., & Gupta, Y. K. (2015). Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study. The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 141(1), 100-6. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4405924/

The adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha may effectively solve this problem with much ease. In addition, this herb has also been shown to increase the density of bone minerals by the formation of new bone and preventing the breakdown and resorption of bone tissues. Ashwagandha contains chemicals that inhibit the activities of proteins that kill other proteins thus enhancing fast healing after an injury of osteoporotic bones. [119]Attanayake, A. M. H. S., De Silva, U. M. G. D., Jayaweera, J. A. A. S., & Perera, D. L. (2018). Use of Ayurveda and Sri Lankan traditional medicine for healing shaft of humerus fracture following nonunion. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 9(3), 217-220. doi.org/10.1016/j.jaim.2017.12.006

This herb also increases the production of genes that support bone production, bone marrow pre-osteoblast cells, and cortical bones. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase biomechanical strength in the femur, tibias, [120]Benson, S. M., Trivedi, M. K., Branton, A., Trivedi, D., Nayak, G., Gangwar, M., & Jana, S. (2018). Biofield Energy Treated Vitamin D3: Direct Effect on Bone Health Using Human Osteoblast-Like Cells. Cell Biology, 6(1), 1-8. doi: 10.11648/j.cb.20180601.11 and vertebrae, and reduce the production of osteoclast genes.

A study conducted to check the relationship between Ashwagandha and osteoporosis found that the herb may increase bone strength, the formation of new bone through osteoblasts as well as the prevention of bone loss by reducing osteoclastic gene expression. [121]Khedgikar, V., Ahmad, N., Kushwaha, 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):205-13. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.05.010

Ashwagandha Benefits For Men

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine and Unani, Ashwagandha was used as a remedy for many different health conditions including depression, anxiety, a weak immune system, and hypertension. When used as a dietary supplement, the herb may also be useful in improving the quality of life and the overall health in healthy men.

If taken on a regular basis, the herb may also prevent the development of many health conditions including but not limited to high blood pressure, diabetes, aging, osteoporosis, stress, and stress-related condition, as well as neurodegenerative diseases.

Ashwagandha also offers some possible benefits specifically for men including the treatment and prevention of physiological, psychological and sexual health conditions. Here are few benefits of Ashwagandha for men:

Ashwagandha Benefits For Male Libido

Ashwagandha for Testosterone

One of the many benefits of Ashwagandha for men is the ability of the herb to help naturally increase male sexual desire. This benefit of the ergogenic (enhance physical performance, increase stamina, or aid in recovery) herb may positively influence the health of individuals diagnosed with low libido as well as those suffering from conditions relating to low sexual desire. [122]Nayak, B. N., & Buttar, H. S. (2015). Herbal therapy for men with erectile dysfunction. Current Research: Cardiology, 2(1). Retrieved from https://www.pulsus.com/abstract/herbal-therapy-for-men-with-erectile-dysfunction-133.html Several factors may affect libido every now and then including hormonal imbalance, aging, stress, and many others.

Issues relating to sexual health and intimacy may negatively affect relationships and family life. It may also lead to low confidence and self-esteem. Individuals suffering from this types of conditions may resort to means such as over the counter (OTC) medications to remedy the condition. OTC drugs usually offer a short-term remedy, with the condition resurfacing again after a short period of time.

You may want to try Ashwagandha as a long-term remedy for low libido. This herb has been found to be beneficial in boosting sexual desire. Ashwagandha does this by balancing and increasing the level of the male sex hormone – testosterone, which in turn leads to increased sex drive.

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha found that it led to an increase in the level of testosterone in the body, as well as libido and sexual performance. [123]Nasimi Doost Azgomi, R., Zomorrodi, A., Nazemyieh, H., Fazljou, S., Sadeghi Bazargani, H., Nejatbakhsh, F., Moini Jazani, A., … Ahmadi AsrBadr, Y. (2018). Effects of Withania somnifera on Reproductive System: A Systematic Review of the Available Evidence. BioMed Research International, 2018, 4076430. doi:10.1155/2018/4076430 As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps to regulate the levels of cortisol in the body, thereby preventing loss of sexual desire due to stress. At the same time, this herb has been found to be beneficial in boosting energy, endurance, and muscle size as well as penis enhancement. [124]Sachin, W., Deepak, L., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2015; 12: 43. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9

In ancient Sanskrit, Ashwagandha is the combination of two words translated to mean “the smell of a horse.” Herbal specialists argue that this is because of the herb’s ability to offer strength and agility similar to that of a horse. These are positive contributing factors toward improved sex drive, sexual performance and sexual satisfaction. [125]Sudha, P., & Reni, A. (2016). Chapter 2 Ashwagandha. Edited by Ambrose, D., Manickavasagan, A., & Naik, R. In Leafy Medicinal Herbs: Botany, Chemistry, Postharvest Technology and Uses, Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=wwLpDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA19&dq=Sanskrit+Ashwagandha&ots=9P0iUBvUSz&sig=K6AuHYXd5sCtV8GuegUtpHJ9958#v=onepage&q=Sanskrit%20Ashwagandha&f=false

Furthermore, Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in treating and preventing high blood pressure – a condition linked with the decline of libido. Hypertension is also believed to be one of the major causes of impotence. [126]McEniery, C. M., Cockcroft, J. R., Roman, M. J., Franklin, S. S., & Wilkinson, I. B. (2014). Central blood pressure: current evidence and clinical importance. European Heart Journal, 35(26), 1719-1725. doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/eht565The herbal supplement also helps to stimulate increases in sex drive and sexual performance by supporting proper blood circulation throughout the body.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Testosterone

As already stated previously, Ashwagandha is beneficial in helping to regulate the levels of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is the male sex hormone and it plays numerous essential roles in the proper function of the body. [127]Ho, C. H., Wu, C. C., Chen, K. C., Jaw, F. S., Yu, H. J., & Liu, S. P. (2016). Erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and low sexual frequency increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in men with low testosterone. The Aging Male, 19(2), 96-101. doi.org/10.3109/13685538.2015.1129400 Testosterone helps to maintain a healthy bone mass, regulate and increase libido, sperm count, muscle mass, distribution of fat, red blood cells production, as well energy.

A small amount of the hormone is transformed into a type of estrogen called estradiol, which is then utilized by the body to perform the above-mentioned functions. Low levels of testosterone are detrimental to the proper function of the male body, thus making it imperative to take active steps in maintaining healthy levels of the hormone. [128]Vandenput, L., Mellström, D., Laughlin, G. A., Cawthon, P. M., Cauley, J. A., Hoffman, A. R., … & Eriksson, A. L. (2017). Low testosterone, but not estradiol, is associated with incident falls in older men: the international MrOS study. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 32(6), 1174-1181. doi.org/10.1002/jbmr.3088

If the condition is left unattended for a long period of time, it may lead to low sperm count as well as male infertility, erectile dysfunction, low libido and the disruption of the overall well being of the body. Taking testosterone supplement, TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) and other pharmaceutical medications used to increase the levels of testosterone may only offer short-term benefits.

More often than not, these medications are accompanied by adverse side effects. Additionally, whatever option you resort to, the levels of testosterone and estradiol are bound to decline with age. The level of the hormone reportedly starts to decline when a person attains the age of 30 and may continue as you age further.

This was confirmed by a study conducted to review the relationship between Ashwagandha and testosterone levels. [129]McBride, J. A., Culley, C. C., & Robert, M. C. (2016). Testosterone deficiency in the aging male. Therapeutic Advances in Urology, 8(1): 47–60. doi: 10.1177/1756287215612961 The researchers stated that the levels of the hormone gradually decline as an individual grows older, with a possible decline of about 0.4-2 percent every year after the age of 30. Symptoms like hair loss, reduced muscle mass, and erectile dysfunction may accompany the decline according to the study authors.

Other factors may also affect the levels of testosterone in the body including chronic illness, alcoholism, drug use, other hormonal imbalances and much more. Aging may be inevitable, but you can take active steps to delay its onset or slow down its progression. Ashwagandha may be able to offer these benefits.

Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in boosting the levels of testosterone in both healthy men and those suffering from low testosterone-related conditions. [130]Sengupta, P., Agarwal, A., Pogrebetskaya, M., Roychoudhury, S., Durairajanayagam, D., & Henkel, R. (2017). Role of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in the management of male infertility. Reproductive Biomedicine Online. doi.org/10.1016/j.rbmo.2017.11.007 Ashwagandha functions by stimulating the activities of the pituitary gland thus releasing the Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) and increasing the production of HDL cholesterol.

The two hormones are saddled with the responsibility of activating the Leydig cells thus producing more testosterone in the body. This herb also effectively helps reduce stress and increase energy by lowering the levels of cortisol in the body. [131]Shrivastava, S., Mishra, R. P., & Dwivedi, S. N. (2016). Ashwagandha, A rejuvenator of Ayurveda: An overview. International Journal of Pharmacy & Life Sciences, 7. Retrieved from http://www.ijplsjournal.com/issues%20PDF%20files/Archive-2016/Oct-nov-2016/10.pdf In addition, Ashwagandha strengthens the immune system thereby inhibiting the activities of anabolic hormones, which in turn leads to increased testosterone production in the body.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Erectile Dysfunction

Ashwagandha may also be useful in treating and preventing erectile dysfunction. The condition, simply referred to as ED is characterized by the continued inability to attain and/or maintain erections. It also involves the inability to ejaculate, therefor leading to low sexual performance or no performance at all.

This condition is prevalent in recent times as a large number of men have been diagnosed with ED. Although the condition is classified as benign, it is a difficult one for patients. Aside from negatively affecting intimacy and family life, it may significantly lead to reduced confidence, infertility, reduction in the sense of pleasure linked with sexual activities, sexual anxiety, and depression. Ashwagandha may be beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction.

This herb has been shown to function by inhibiting the activities of enzymes that reduce the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine functions to treat erectile dysfunction alongside dopamine. The herb also stimulates the proper flow of blood to the genital area as well as reducing oxidative damage in the body. [132]Pal, A., Kumar, K. H., Bhushan, B., & Saharan, V. (2017). Ashwagandha Root Extract Inhibits Acetylcholine Esterase, Protein Modification and Ameliorates H 2 O 2-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Lymphocytes. Pharmacognosy Journal, 9(3). DOI:10.5530/pj.2017.3.52

Furthermore, Ashwagandha functions to significantly increase sex drive, which is found to be lacking in individuals diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. Ashwagandha can help reduce stress levels thus helping its users maintain a stable state of mind and body. The herb has been shown to increase DHEA levels and protect the testicles. [133]Nayak, B. N., & Buttar, H. S. (2015). Herbal therapy for men with erectile dysfunction. Current Research: Cardiology, 2(1). Retrieved from https://www.pulsus.com/scholarly-articles/herbal-therapy-for-men-with-erectile-dysfunction.html

Ashwagandha Benefits For Endurance

Ashwagandha is widely used to increase endurance in men. This is the reason why the herb is popular among athletes and other individuals who live an active lifestyle. This benefit of the herb may also be useful for sexual health, as it may lead to increased sexual performance for a longer period of time.

As an adaptogen, the herb functions to help increase endurance by reducing stress in the body. The herb has also been found to have anti-inflammatory benefits which may be beneficial for quick healing from injuries, as well as prevention of pains and swelling due to joint or tissues injury. A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for endurance found that the herb may be helpful in improving endurance as well as enhancing athletic activities. [134]Raj, J. P., D’Cruz, J. M., Toms, T., Muralidharan, P., & Rao, M. (2018). Physical endurance enhancing capacity of Withania somnifera root powder post-water extraction in mice. Pharmacognosy Research, 10(3), 250. Retrieved from http://www.phcogres.com/text.asp?2018/10/3/250/235817

Ashwagandha Benefits For Sperm Count and Male Fertility

Ashwagandha for Spermcount

Another amazing benefit of Ashwagandha for men is the herb’s ability to help increase sperm count. Low sperm count also referred to as oligospermia, is prevalent in recent times and it is characterized by the ejaculation of a fewer amount of sperm cell than normal. For instance, the normal range of cells per milliliter of sperm falls between 15 to 20 million. Anything below this is considered to be lower than normal.

Although the odds of having a child are significantly reduced with a low sperm count, many men diagnosed with the condition are still able to father children. Low sperm count is the major symptom of male infertility. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to, low sexual performance, erectile dysfunction, swelling and pain in the area around the testicles, as well as conditions related to the health of the man’s sperm. [135]Punab, M., Poolamets, O., Paju, P., Vihljajev, V., Pomm, K., Ladva, R., … & Laan, M. (2016). Causes of male infertility: a 9-year prospective monocentre study on 1737 patients with reduced total sperm counts. Human Reproduction, 32(1), 18-31. doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dew284

Ashwagandha is prescribed by herbal specialists to treat low sperm count. A study conducted on the benefit of Ashwagandha for sperm production, found that the aphrodisiac herb significantly increased semen parameters. [136]Sengupta, P., Dutta, S., Tusimin, M. B., Irez, T., & Krajewska-Kulak, E. (2018). Sperm counts in Asian men: Reviewing the trend of past 50 years. Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction, 7(2), 87. Retrieved from http://www.apjr.net/article.asp?issn=2305-0500;year=2018;volume=7;issue=2;spage=87;epage=92;aulast=Sengupta The researchers added that it may be used as a safe and effective alternative to pentoxifylline.

Ashwagandha has been shown to be active in increasing the levels of testosterone in the body, which in turn leads to increased sperm count and semen quality. These effects of the herb are also beneficial for men diagnosed with infertility. This is because the herb can lead to increased sex drive, sexual performance, sperm count, strength, and reduced levels of stress.

A study conducted to look into the relationship between Ashwagandha and fertility, found that it may effectively treat infertility in men by increasing the quality and quantity of semen. [137]Setareh, T. (2014). Ashwagandha for Male Infertility: Ayurvedic herb improves sperm parameters in infertile men with hypogonadism. Natural Medicine Journal, 6(4): 2014. Retrieved from https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2014-04/ashwagandha-male-infertility

However, the study did not investigate the efficacy of Ashwagandha in preventing premature sperm motility.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Women

Ashwagandha is not only useful for men, but the herb offers many benefits to women as well. These benefits include the potential treatment of physical, emotional, and mental health conditions. Although research on the efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha for women is inconclusive, the herb is widely used to balance hormones, strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and even enhance metabolism.

This superfood also offers some potential benefits specific to women, such as increasing the production of breast milk for lactating women, prevention of breast cancer, treatment of vagina pain and sterility, as well as the prevention of uterine infections. Here are few other health benefits of Ashwagandha for women:

Ashwagandha Benefits For Menopausal Symptoms

Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms associated with menopause. [138]Steels, E., Steele, M., Harold, M., Adams, L., & Coulson, S. (2018). A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating safety and efficacy of an ayurvedic botanical formulation in reducing menopausal symptoms in otherwise healthy women. Journal of Herbal Medicine. 11, 30-35. doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2018.01.001

This phase in a woman’s life is also referred to as the climacteric, and is a challenging and inevitable event for women. Menopause is characterized by the lack of menstrual periods and the subsequent inability to bear children.

The onset of menopause usually occurs between the ages of 48 and 52 years, but early onset may occur as early as 45 years of age. It brings with it, a significant reduction in the production of hormones by the ovaries. Menopause is a natural occurrence in the body and will often occur without any trigger or cause. [139]Ayatollahi, S. M. T., Ghaem, H., & Ayatollahi, S. A. R. (2015). Determinants of age at natural menopause in Shiraz. Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences, 27(3), 131-133. Retrieved from http://ijms.sums.ac.ir/index.php/IJMS/article/view/2589

However, menopause reportedly occurs prematurely in individuals that smoke tobacco, as a side effect of chemotherapy and from a surgical procedure to remove the ovaries. Unfortunately, it is accompanied by some unpleasant symptoms including but not limited to hot flashes, change in eating habit, headaches, irritability, vaginal dryness, anxiety, weight gain, forgetfulness, mood swing, depression, decreased libido, stress, vaginal infections, and sleeping difficulities. [140]Yim, G., Ahn, Y., Chang, Y., Ryu, S., Lim, J. Y., Kang, D., … & Park, H. Y. (2015). Prevalence and severity of menopause symptoms and associated factors across menopause status in Korean women. Menopause, 22(10), 1108-1116. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000438

These symptoms are reportedly caused by hormonal imbalances due to the ovaries’ inability to produce a sufficient amount of hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ashwagandha may be beneficial for menopausal symptoms, as one of the uses of Ashwagandha is balancing emotion-related hormones in the body by stimulating the activities of the endocrine system.

This benefit of Ashwagandha helps to make menopausal women calm and relaxed thus giving them the ability to control their emotions and affairs with more ease. A study conducted on the benefit of Ashwagandha for menopausal symptoms found that the herb may be beneficial in making menopausal women calmer and more relaxed, as it imitates the activities of GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid). [141]Steels, E., Steele, M., Harold, M., Adams, L., & Coulson, S. (2018). A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluating safety and efficacy of an ayurvedic botanical formulation in reducing menopausal symptoms in otherwise healthy women. Journal of Herbal Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2018.01.001

This herbal supplement may also be beneficial in preventing weight gain associated with the condition, by aiding fast metabolism. The herb does this by stimulating the swift conversion of T4 hormone into active T3. As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps to reduce the levels of cortisol in the body thus reducing stress and increasing energy.

Ashwagandha may be an option for treating sleep issues linked to menopause. In addition, it can improve sexual desire, lubrication, and enhance blood flow to the vaginal area, thus combatting decreased libido and vaginal dryness associated with menopause. [142]Whicker, M., Black, J., Altwerger, G., Menderes, G., Feinberg, J., & Ratner, E. (2017). Management of sexuality, intimacy, and menopause symptoms in patients with ovarian cancer. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 217(4), 395-403. doi.org/10.1155/2015/284154 Ashwagandha also helps to prevent mood swings by regulating the activities of the adrenal glands.

The herb may aid in effectively managing vasomotor symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Bone health conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are common during menopause. [143]Chaturvedi, S. K., Ieraci, V., & Torta, R. (2014). Treatment of Somatoform Disorders and Other Somatic Symptom Conditions (Pain, Fatigue, Hot Flashes, and Pruritus). In Psychopharmacology in Oncology and Palliative Care (pp. 163-187). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-40134-3_10 According to a report published in 2015, Ashwagandha may be effective in preventing and reversing the development of the conditions in menopausal women. [144]Baranwal, V. (2015). Beyond HRT-Ayurveda for Menopause and Associated Aging Problems. International Journal of Medicinal Plants and Natural Products, 1(1), 121. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5589/875b139d94a8d4093cc267668c4bfcf5671a.pdf

Ashwagandha Benefits For Female Low Libido

Ashwagandha for Female Libido

Ashwagandha may be beneficial in increasing libido in women. This herb is prescribed by herbal specialists to treat conditions that are related to low sexual desire and function. Low libido is common among menopausal women because of symptoms such as depression, anxiety, hormonal imbalance, vaginal dryness, and infections that accompany changes during this time..

Apart from menopausal women, women of all age groups may also experience a change in the balance of estrogen in the body, leading to reduced sex drive and sexual exhaustion. This may also be as a result of chronic illness, poor eating habits, drug use, chronic stress, side effects of medication, alcoholism, masturbation, and many others.

Ashwagandha has been found to be beneficial in boosting sexual function in women. [145]Swati, D., Deepak, L., & Sauvik, B. (2015). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. Biomedical Research International, 284154. Doi:10.1155/2015/284154 The herb reportedly performs this function by increasing the levels of endorphins in the body. It also helps to increase sex drive in women of all ages by balancing the levels of estrogen and progesterone as well as enhancing the production of DHEA in the body. This in turn, leads to increased sex drive and sensitivity in the clitoris.

Ashwagandha also aids the proper flow of blood to all parts of the body including the vagina, as well as the reducing tension, stress, and anxiety, and increase lubrication of the female sexual organ. A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha for female libido found that the herb may effectively alleviate the symptoms linked with Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD). [146]Deepak, L., Swati, D., & Sauvik, B. (2015). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. Biomedical Research International, 284154. Doi:10.1155/2015/284154

The researchers added that this herb led to improved sexual satisfaction, orgasm, sex drive, lubrication, and arousal. The researchers added that the participants administered with Ashwagandha, recorded a significant reduction in terms of sexual distress and increased sexual encounters.

They concluded that the study participants did not show any adverse side effects from using Ashwagandha. The herb is reportedly more effective in boosting libido and sexual satisfaction when used alongside herbs like Shilajit, Mulberry, Panax Ginseng, Maca, Schisandra Chinensis, and Muira Puama.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Estrogen

Another amazing benefits of Ashwagandha for women is the ability of the herb to help regulate the level of estrogen in the body. The herb may also be beneficial in treating or reversing conditions linked to low levels of estrogen. The benefits of Ashwagandha extend to regulating the levels of the hormone progesterone as well. [147]Tiwari, P., & Sahu, P. K. (2017). Plants altering hormonal milieu: A review. Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction, 6(2), 49. DOI: 10.12980/apjr.6.20170201

Estrogen and progesterone are hormones produced by the ovaries. The former is the female sex hormone produced in the first half of the menstrual cycle. However, due to the fact, that menopausal women no longer have menstrual cycles, there is a significant imbalance of the hormones in this category of women.

Estrogen functions by stimulating the growth of the uterine lining. The hormone also aids the growth of the egg until maturity just prior to ovulation. Estrogen performs this functions better when it works with the hormone progesterone. This is because progesterone functions to regulate the activities of estrogen in every menstrual cycle and also supports the growth of the uterine lining. [148]Kubota, K., Cui, W., Dhakal, P., Wolfe, M. W., Rumi, M. K., Vivian, J. L., … & Soares, M. J. (2016). Rethinking progesterone regulation of female reproductive cyclicity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(15), 4212-4217. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1601825113

Testosterone is an important hormone in the female body too. Even though this hormone is required at relatively low levels, it is essential for proper function and helps to improve the general health of the body. [149]Van Anders, S. M., Steiger, J., & Goldey, K. L. (2015). Effects of gendered behavior on testosterone in women and men. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(45), 13805-13810. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1509591112 The balance of these hormones is imperative to the proper functions of the body.

However, there are factors that may negatively affect these levels, such as drug abuse, side effects of medications, alcoholism, smoking, chronic illness, menopause, and many others. As already mentioned, menopause is accompanied by hormonal imbalance. with the levels of estrogen significantly exceeding that of progesterone.

This is due to the irregularities of the menstrual cycle. Ashwagandha functions by helping to stimulate the activities of the adrenal glands thus regulating the levels of estrogen and progesterone. [150]Sharma, S. (2018). The effect of natural products like ginger, garlic, blueberries, turmeric, grapefruit and ashwagandha (herb) on the growth of triple negative breast cancer cells. Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/gurc/2018/masterschedule/46/ This may also help to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms suffered by menopausal women, due to hormonal imbalance. Ashwagandha may reportedly be used as a safe and effective alternative to hormone replacement therapy.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Menstrual Cycle

Ashwagandha may be beneficial in regulating the menstrual cycle. Women usually suffer minor issues with their menstrual cycle that may be frustrating. These may include irregular cycles, painful periods, too heavy or too light of flow, and even a total absence of periods. These conditions may be due to many different causes but the most notorious among them is the hormonal imbalance.

The imbalance may be due to illness, smoking, birth control pills, drugs use, and many others. Issues with the menstrual cycle may negatively affect a woman’s reproductive health as well as the overall well being of her body. Ashwagandha has been shown to be beneficial in regulating the hormones, estrogen and progesterone , thereby regulating the menstrual cycle. [151]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. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 24(3), 243-248. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2017.0183

As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps to reduce cortisol levels thus increasing energy and lowering stress.This is believed to be one of the factors that contributes to the disruption of the menstrual cycle.

Ashwagandha Benefits For Female Fertility

Ashwagandha for Fertility

There are many clinical trials and evidence to show the benefits of Ashwagandha for male infertility. However, there is a lack of sufficient evidence to show the efficacy of this herb in treating female infertility. Considering the above-listed benefits of Ashwagandha for hormonal balance, female libido and menstrual cycle, it can be safely concluded that this herb may be beneficial in reversing female infertility linked to the mentioned areas. [152]Kessler, C., Stapelfeldt, E., Michalsen, A., Kowalcek, I., Kronpaß, L., & Dhruva, A. (2015). The effect of a complex multi-modality ayurvedic treatment in a case of unknown female infertility. Complementary Medicine Research, 22(4), 251-258. doi.org/10.1159/000437376

In addition, this herb may be useful in preventing infertility as it helps to reduce stress and related conditions, prevent chronic illnesses by boosting immunity, reverse nutritional deficiencies, and reduce inflammation.

Ashwagandha has also been found to be beneficial in regulating the activities of the thyroid gland, thereby regulating the levels of vital hormones in the body. These combined benefits may help to regulate the menstrual cycle thus stimulating ovulation, and in turn increasing the chances of conception.

A study conducted on the benefits of Ashwagandha in mice, found that the herb may be beneficial in significantly increasing the levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormone simply referred to as GnRH. [153]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):1147-50. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3088 The researchers stated that this hormone is essential for puberty and fertility as it stimulates ovulation in females.

Other Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has also been shown to assist in controlling cholesterol levels, increasing blood production, preventing seizures, boosting vitality as well as treating ocular diseases, backache, fibromyalgia, hiccups, liver disease, bronchitis, tuberculosis, arthritis, asthma, tumors, leukoderma, hemiplegia (one-sided paralysis), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s disease, cerebellar ataxia, and ulcerations.

Ashwagandha Side Effects

Although Ashwagandha contains emetic and diuretic properties, the herb is believed to be safe when used in small doses over a short period of time. However, the safety of Ashwagandha when taken in large doses over a long period of time is yet to be established. This is the reason why it is recommended that you consult with your health practitioner before taking this herb for the treatment of any condition.

Side effects of Ashwagandha reported by users are often mild to moderate with rare occurrences of adverse side effects. Common Ashwagandha side effects, when taken in large doses, include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. [154]Chengappa, K. R., Brar, J. S., Gannon, J. M., & Schlicht, P. J. (2018). Adjunctive Use of a Standardized Extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to Treat Symptom Exacerbation in Schizophrenia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 79(5). DOI: 10.4088/JCP.17m11826

Precautions And Warnings

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should consult with their doctors before using Ashwagandha. This is because it is yet to be established whether Ashwagandha is safe during pregnancy and lactation. In addition, unsupported evidence claims that the herb may contain abortifacient properties which may cause pregnant women to miscarry. [155]Alam, M. K., Hoq, M. O., & Uddin, M. S. (2016). Therapeutic use of Withania somnifera. Asian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 2(2), 148-155. doi: 10.3329/ajmbr.v2i2.29004

To be on a safe side, it is advised for this category of individuals to avoid using the herb until after pregnancy or weaning. The herb may also negatively affect the health of individuals suffering from conditions like hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorder, stomach ulcers, and autoimmune diseases.

Individuals diagnosed with any of these conditions are advised to consult with their health provider before taking Ashwagandha. They are also advised to monitor their health closely while consuming Ashwagandha.

Interactions

It is advised to consult with your medical provider when undergoing treatment for certain conditions as herbs may interact with the functions of medications used for the treatment. For instance, since Ashwagandha is beneficial in stimulating the production of thyroid hormones in the body, taking the herb alongside thyroid hormone medication may lead to the production of too much of the hormones in the body.

This herb may also interact with Immunosuppressants like Imuran (azathioprine), Neoral (cyclosporine), Simulect (basiliximab), daclizumab, muromonab-CD3, sirolimus, prednisone, corticosteroids, mycophenolate, tacrolimus, and many others. Furthermore, since Ashwagandha serves as a mild sedative, the herb may interact with sedative drugs, and cause drowsiness.

How To Take Ashwagandha

There are many different ways to use Ashwagandha but this may differ from community to community. It may also be dependant on personal preference. In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, a paste from Ashwagandha root powder is mixed with ghee or honey and is topically applied to the skin to heal injuries and treat skin infections. The fresh root may also be boiled and the liquid can be consumed as medicine.

Some people incorporate Ashwagandha into their diet and also mix it with spices. In recent times, new methods of using this herb have been devised, including packaging it in tea bags, incorporating it into formulas and supplements, as well as encapsulating the powdered-form of the herb. A tinctured form of Ashwagandha is also available for easy ingestion. Here is a breakdown of the major ways to use Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha Extract

All parts of Ashwagandha including the root, leaves, stems, and fruit have been found to be medicinal. However, the root is the part primarily utilized today for medicinal purposes. It is believed that this is because of the non-toxicity and safety of Ashwagandha root extract. The root extract of the herb is obtained by first drying the fresh root and then making it into a fine powder by grinding it.

While some manufacturers supply the herb in the powdered form to the final consumers, others incorporate it into diet supplements or encapsulate it. As already stated above, Ashwagandha root may also be used in a tincture form. The best form of taking the herb may vary from person to person.

Ashwagandha Supplement

Ashwagandha is widely used as a dietary supplement in the western world. This is believed to be beneficial for individuals who are looking to fulfill their dietary needs. Ashwagandha is the main ingredient of many supplements on the market today. It is believed that this is because of its safety and rich chemical components.

Ashwagandha Powder

Ashwagendha Powder

The herb is also available in a powdered form made from the dried root of the plant. Extract powder made from the leaves of the plant is also available. Ashwagandha root extract powder may be mixed with ghee for topical application on the skin. It may also be consumed with milk or cardamom for the treatment of sleep disorders, thyroid dysfunction, as well as to aid weight loss.

However, it is important to state that Ashwagandha root powder is often unpleasant tasting and may require additional courage to swallow. This is the reason why the herb is available in an encapsulated form, for easy ingestion.

Ashwagandha Tea

Some manufacturers package Ashwagandha root extract powder into tea bags. This form of taking the herb offers dual benefits – refreshing and medicinal. It may be consumed just like normal tea, with honey, sugar or artificial sweeteners. However, it is important to state that the herb in this form may not be as concentrated and effective enough for your condition.

Ashwagandha Tincture

A tinctured form of Ashwagandha is available for easy consumption. This form of taking the herb is preferred by individuals who do not like to take pills. A few drops of Ashwagandha tincture can be added to water or fruit juice twice daily. But, just like Ashwagandha tea, the tinctured form of the herb may not be effective enough for your condition.

Ashwagandha Capsules

Ashwagandha root extract powder is encapsulated by some manufacturers before supplying it to the final consumers. This is believed to be the best and the most potent form of taking the herb. It is also preferred by individuals that cannot tolerate the taste of Ashwagandha root extract powder. Tracking your specific dosage is also easy with Ashwagandha capsules.

Ashwagandha Dosage

As opposed to what many people think, dosage guidelines are extremely important for herbal supplements. It is even more important for Ashwagandha. The safety of the herb, when consumed in large doses over a long period of time, is yet to be established. If taken in large doses, Ashwagandha may cause stomach ache, nausea and even vomiting.

For this reason, it is advised to look for an Ashwagandha supplement that clearly displays the concentration of the herb as well as the dosage. Supplements that do not fulfill this requirement may not be safe for your health, because you may not know how much of the herb you’re ingesting.

Ashwagandha Dosage Guide

If you are not sure about the dosage that will effectively manage your condition, you should consider speaking to a herbal specialist about your symptoms as well as your medical practitioner. Ashwagandha dosage for the powdered form of the herb is typically 1-2 tablespoons twice daily in food or with milk or cardamom.

Dose and form are dependant on your preference and the condition you intend to manage with Ashwagandha root extract powder. The powder form of the herb is usually used to manage conditions like minor sleep disorders and to aid natural weight loss. The recommended dosage of Ashwagandha capsules is about 500 mg twice daily.

This dosage is believed to be both safe and effective in treating the conditions that fall within the realm of Ashwagandha uses. However, Ashwagandha dosage cycling is advised for better and long lasting relief for your health condition.

Ashwagandha Dosage Cycling

There is no real agreement if ashwagandha should be cycled or not. Some people believe that it should be cycled and others don’t. When combined with other products, some people take them alternatively (example: 4 days of Tongkat Ali, then 4 days of Ashwagandha).

Here at Herbolab, we believe that ashwagandha should not be cycled because it is an adaptogen food: it contains many beneficial nutrients for the body and endocrine system. Hence, the best result is obtained with continuous use.

Kinds of Ashwagandha

When it comes to herbal supplements, there are many manufacturers (both reputable and otherwise) in the industry today. For this reason, it may be difficult for you to make a simple choice with regards to which one is best for your health.

This situation is no different for Ashwagandha. There are both authentic and fake, as well as low quality and top quality extracts of this herb on the market. Here are few guidelines to help you choose the best Ashwagandha extract for you:

As already mentioned above, Ashwagandha root extract is the best and most widely used of all the parts of the plants. It is believed that this is because of its safety and non-toxicity. There are two major types of Ashwagandha root extract on the market today – Ashwagandha KSM-66 and the Sensoril Ashwagandha.

Similarities of Ashwagandha KSM-66 and Sensoril Ashwagandha

These two types of Ashwagandha root extract are believed to be similar even though there are certain aspects that differ. They are both patented and they have undergone numerous clinical trials to determine their safety and efficacy. The manufacturers of Ashwagandha KSM-66 and the Sensoril Ashwagandha have also taken active steps to prove their claims with regards to the safety and potency of their products.

Ashwagandha KSM-66 and the Sensoril Ashwagandha both contain the root extract of the plant processed through a monitored and careful procedure that ensures that the active components of the extract are not altered. Both the KSM-66 and Sensoril Ashwagandha provide their users with all the healing benefits of Ashwagandha.

In addition, Ashwagandha KSM-66 and Sensoril Ashwagandha are manufactured using water-based extraction processes that are beneficial in reducing the unpleasant taste of the herb. At this point, you may be tempted to ask the big question. Since both Ashwagandha KSM-66 and the Sensoril Ashwagandha are extracted from the same plant, what then is the difference between the two products?

Ashwagandha KSM-66 vs Sensoril Ashwagandha

There are a few important differences between Ashwagandha KSM-66 and Sensoril Ashwagandha. For instance, many Ashwagandha root extracts on the market today are standardized to about 1.5 to 2.5 percent withanolides, making them less potent compared to the KSM-66 Ashwagandha which is standardized to 5 percent withanolides.

Ashwagandha KSM-66 is believed to be the best extract of the herb. This is because the manufacturers of the product strive to maintain exceptional quality and high standards. This product also limits the withanolides content to only 5 percent, because of the belief that it is best to supply a product that contains the natural composition of the Ashwagandha plant in the right proportion. Although Ashwagandha KSM-66 contains a lower amount of withanolides compared to the Sensoril Ashwagandha, it is described by its users as rejuvenating, energizing, de-stressing and stimulating.

Sensoril Ashwagandha, on the other hand, is standardized to 10 percent withanolides. The manufacturers of the herbal supplement state that the objective behind Sensoril Ashwagandha is to produce a supplement that packs the highest possible withanolides contents. Their belief is that the higher the withanolides content, the more concentrated the herb will be in managing chronic conditions. Many users of the supplement have reported that it is very powerful and concentrated.

Furthermore, while Ashwagandha KSM-66 uses only the root of the plant in manufacturing the final product, the manufacturers of Sensoril Ashwagandha utilize both the root and leaves of the plant. This is the reason why Ashwagandha KSM-66 is referred to as the only full spectrum extract on the market.

Ashwagandha KSM-66 is relatively safer and non-toxic as it is extracted from only the root of the plant, with no additives. The above-mentioned factors clearly show that Ashwagandha KSM-66 is safer, compared to its counterpart. However, the best product for you will be dependent on personal preference as well as the condition you intend to manage with the herb.

Best Ashwagandha Is KSM 66

At this point users already know that Ashwagandha KSM-66 is the best you can find on the market. This section will further elaborate on what makes this herbal supplement the best. It is deemed to be the world’s best Ashwagandha by its users, because of its potency and its amazing medicinal benefits.

Clinical trials have also confirmed the safety of Ashwagandha KSM-66 in treating different health conditions. Other factors also contribute to the fame and general acceptance of the herbal supplement such as organic field cultivation, high-tech water-based extraction process to remove the unpleasant taste, careful laboratories evaluations to check for heavy metals and other pollutants, as well as safe packaging processes in a certified facility.

This is the reason why Ashwagandha KSM-66 is mostly used in clinical trials and prescribed for the treatment of chronic conditions. The manufacturers of the herbal supplement state that the health benefits of KSM-66 Ashwagandha are in accordance with the requirements of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.

Where to Buy Ashwagandha Extract?

Where to buy Ashwagandha extract today may be the least of your problems when you decide to start the herbal therapies. There are many places from which you can purchase Ashwagandha but as already stated, there are different kinds of product on the market including fake ones. For this reason, you should be extra cautious and consider a few factors before making your purchase.

You may find the herbal supplement listed for sale in traditional Chinese and Indian herbal stores in your city. The herb may also be available at pharmaceutical stores like Watson’s and GNC. However, it is important to state that the Ashwagandha extract listed by these stores may not be potent or concentrated enough. In addition, the product may not be offered at the best price based on its value and concentration. For better deals, try online herbal supplement stores.

Where to Buy Ashwagandha Extract Online?

For the best Ashwagandha supplement with a great value for your money, it is recommended to try online herbal supplement stores. This is mostly because these stores are specifically designed to provide customers with safe and effective herbal supplements at a budget-friendly price. If you would like to purchase a genuine product from a reliable seller, then you should consider Herbolab’s Ashwagandha KSM-66.

References   [ + ]

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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