Last updated September 29, 2022
If you can relate to feeling stressed and anxious—who can’t, right?—it’s worth considering taking ashwagandha. Also known as “Indian Ginseng” and “Indian Winter Cherry,” wellness experts around the world are touting the stress- and anxiety-busting effects of this “it” herb. And here’s why!
In the last few years. we’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of adaptogens and adaptogenic herbs.
As their name might suggest, these powerful foods have a powerhouse of benefits. They help our bodies adapt to any stress and complications the modern world might throw at us.
Ashwagandha or Withania Somnifera is the evermore popular adaptogenic super herb that has crept into our supermarket shelves of late.
And it’s also a core ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine to help a number of ailments as well as strengthen the immune system and help to relieve stress.
Today, wellness experts tout this “it” herb as the natural way to help the body adapt to stress, improve energy levels and even boost concentration.
Let’s dive a little deeper and learn more about the benefits of ashwagandha.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a powerful, medicinal herb native to India and Southeast Asia. It’s one of the most important herbs in ancient, Indian Ayurvedic medicine carrying countless benefits .
Known also as “Indian Ginseng” and “Indian Winter Cherry,” ashwagandha has been used for centuries for a wide range of uses from increasing energy levels and improving concentration through to relieving stress.
Today, this ancient medicinal herb is gaining popularity as studies uncover their benefits.
What are the benefits of ashwagandha?
Several studies show the effectiveness of ashwagandha to relieve stress, improve concentration and reduce anxiety. Some studies even promote ashwagandha as an aphrodisiac.
After all, the herb has been helping to treat people for thousands of years through its crucial role in Ayurvedic medicine.
Here are some potential mental and physical benefits of ashwagandha, according to research.
Might help to reduce stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is commonly celebrated for its potential ability to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety on the mind and body.
This clinical study on acutely stressed, physically healthy adults, shows that after taking a supplement of ashwagandha for eight weeks, perception of stress and anxiety is drastically reduced compared with those that took a placebo.
While more research needs to be done, especially into the correct dosage, studies point to ashwagandha as being a natural way for our bodies to cope with and adapt to stress.
Can reduce symptoms of certain mental health conditions. Research on the benefits of ashwagandha are starting to suggest that it might help to reduce symptoms of some mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
This trial shows patients to have reported reductions in depression and anxiety compared with those that took a placebo.
Ashwagandha is also being studied for its possible positive effects on those suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Might increase performance. Recent studies show very promising effects of ashwagandha on athletic performance—through helping to increase strength as well as maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max).
VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body uses during exercise. It’s also called peak oxygen and is a way to track fitness by looking at aerobic fitness.
It might reduce blood sugar levels. Researchers are finding ashwagandha may reduce blood sugar levels suggesting that the medicinal herb might be beneficial for those with diabetes.
Preliminary research reveals that ashwagandha might be useful for helping to stimulate cells to pick up glucose from the bloodstream more effectively and lower blood sugar.
Studies on those with diabetes show that those that included ashwagandha in their diabetes treatment saw drastically reduced blood sugar and insulin levels.
It can help with male infertility. More studies also point toward the positive benefits of taking ashwagandha on men.
While there is still little research and clear evidence leading to this, preliminary research suggests that ashwagandha might help to enhance male fertility.
According to research reviews, ashwagandha can improve the quality of semen production through alkaloid and natural steroids present in the medicinal herb.
These help to improve the health of sperm cells, improve the quality and production of semen and testicular health as a whole.
Best way to take ashwagandha
Although ashwagandha berries are technically edible, the dried root is the most sought-after part of the plant. Ashwagandha root extract is sold as tinctures and in capsules. The most popular form, however, is a powder (often in tea).
There is no evidence that one day part is better than the other to take ashwagandha. Most people incorporate the supplement as part of their nightly routine to promote good sleep habits. Alternatively, some people prefer to start off their day with the herb as it takes time to work.
You should be able to find ashwagandha in powders, capsules and tea in any specialist health food store.
As always, consult a healthcare professional if you have any questions regarding ashwagandha dosing.
In short, numerous studies and research papers have been carried out into the benefits of ashwagandha. They do, for the most part, suggest that this “it” herb has many mental and physical benefits—including increased energy and athletic performance, decreased stress levels and symptoms of mental health illnesses.
However, more research still needs to be done to really conclude this.
Compared with, however, pharmaceuticals or artificial supplements, ashwagandha does make a great alternative for its overall health boosting benefits.
Have you tried ashwagandha yet?
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