For centuries, people have used the ancient herb ashwagandha for medicinal purposes. It’s been known to have numerous health benefits including helping your body manage stress, boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and fight anxiety and depression.
Ashwa means horse, this refers to both its special smell and capability to boost strength. Originating from India and North Africa, the ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers. The plant’s roots and leaves are often used to create extracts and powders which are then made into supplements used to remedy several health conditions.
Here are 5 benefits of ashwagandha that are supported by science.
1. Reduces Blood Sugar
Several researchers suggest using ashwagandha to help lower blood sugar levels.
One study found that supplementing with ashwagandha helped improve the secretion of insulin and decreased insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.
Additionally, numerous studies suggest that ashwagandha can help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and in people with no health conditions.
2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Ashwagandha has been known to decrease stress and have a calming effect on people who suffer from anxiety.
Researchers conducted a study on the brain of rats and found that ashwagandha has the ability to block the stress pathways in the brain by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system.
Furthermore, researchers suggest that ashwagandha may be just as effective at reducing anxiety as the drug lorazepam, a sedative and anxiety medication.
Several studies done on humans found that supplementing with ashwagandha daily resulted in significant decreases in stress and cortisol levels.
One 6-week study found that 88% of people who supplemented with ashwagandha felt a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms when compared to 50% of people who took a placebo.
Ashwagandha has been shown to help both animal and humans reduce stress and anxiety.
3. Improves Memory and Brain Function
Several animal studies have found that ashwagandha may have the ability to prevent loss of brain function in people with neurodegenerative diseases including, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. With the progression of these diseases, parts of the brain and its connective paths get damaged which causes function and memory loss. Studies done on rats found that supplementing with ashwagandha in the early stages can protect your brain.
Additionally, studies suggest that ashwagandha may improve brain function issues caused by injury. Ashwagandha encourages antioxidant activity which protects nerve cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.
One study done on rats with epilepsy found that when treated with ashwagandha, they had a full reversal of spatial memory impairment, which was likely a result of reduction in oxidative stress.
Furthermore, a study done on 50 adults supplementing with 300 mg of ashwagandha twice a day found significant improvements in memory, attention, and task performance.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Researchers suggest that ashwagandha helps decrease inflammation by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. These cells are known to be immune cells which help fight infection and keep you healthy.
Studies have found that ashwagandha also shows decreases in markers of inflammation, like C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
5. Boosts Testosterone and Muscle strength in Men
Studies suggest that ashwagandha supplements may influence testosterone levels and reproductive health in men.
A study conducted on 75 infertile men, found that when treated with ashwagandha supplements they had significant increases in sperm count, motility, and in their levels of testosterone. Additionally, these men were also found to have increased levels of antioxidants in their blood.
Interestingly, another study found that men who supplemented with Ashwagandha to reduce symptoms associated with stress encountered increased levels of antioxidants and improved sperm quality. 14% of the men’s partners became pregnant after just 3 months of the men taking ashwagandha.
What’s more, a study done on healthy men who weight train found that consuming ashwagandha promoted healthy muscle strength and recovery, as well as healthy levels of creatine kinase which reduces muscle damage that naturally occurs from exercise.
Ashwagandha has several health benefits for both men and women. Ashwagandha can easily be added to your diet by taking it as a supplement. You can buy ashwagandha supplements online or at your local health food store or you can make your own ashwagandha supplements using empty capsules. Making your own supplements is a great way to control your dosages and ingredients and it’s a beneficial way to improve your health and overall quality of life.
Ashwagandha can reduce blood sugar levels, inflammation, and stress and anxiety symptoms. Additionally, it can improve brain function and memory, and improve testosterone, muscle strength, and fertility in men. Try improving your life by making your own ashwagandha supplements today!
This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.