- 1 Introduction to Ashwagandha Root Benefits
- 2 Ashwagandha Root Benefits for You
- 2.1 Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
- 2.2 Reduce Symptoms of Depression
- 2.3 May help Enhance and Protect Brain Health
- 2.4 Ashwagandha for Stress
- 2.5 Improved Muscle Strength and Mass
- 2.6 Boost Testosterone and Fertility in Men
- 2.7 Blood Sugar Regulation
- 2.8 Blood Pressure
- 2.9 Reducing Inflammation
- 2.10 Support of Cardiometabolic Health
- 2.11 Boosts Immune System
- 2.12 It supports a healthy thyroid
- 2.13 Inhibits of Prevents Spread of Cancer
- 2.14 Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
- 3 Is Ashwagandha Safe?
- 4 How to Use Ashwagandha
- 5 Where to Buy
- 6 Conclusion
Introduction to Ashwagandha Root Benefits
In India, ashwagandha is known as the “strength of the stallion” because it traditionally has been used to strengthen the immune system after an illness. It’s also been referred to as “Indian ginseng” because of its ability to enhance stamina and relieve stress. I will go over this and much more as you read about Ashwagandha root benefits
Ashwagandha’s ability to work as a stress-protective agent is really what makes it a very popular supplement. Ashwagandha helps the body maintain homeostasis, even in moments of emotional or physical stress. But the many Ashwagandha benefits don’t stop there. This powerful herb has shown incredible results for lowering cortisol levels and balancing thyroid hormones. Plus, it’s been used for mood disorders and in the prevention of degenerative diseases, as ashwagandha appears to help with these conditions as well — and there are so many more ashwagandha benefits.
The Ashwagandha powder comes from the plant’s root or leaves and has been used for centuries are to treat a variety of conditions. Nootropics today is using this ancient herb, which may help increase mental cognition. Much research done on the Ashwagandha plant shows that it is a powerful adaptogen.
Ashwagandha Root Benefits for You
Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease
Ashwagandha is currently being studied as a treatment for Alzheimer’s because of its ability to inhibit the formation of beta-amyloid plaques which are amino acid formations which accumulate and interfere with the cognitive process in Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Some animal studies have shown Ashwagandha may act as a neuroprotectant which prevents any damage from Glutamate neurotoxicity associated with these neurodegenerative disorders.
Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Studies aren’t all in on this but may suggest that Ashwagandha may help with the symptoms of depression. Few studies suggest ashwagandha may help alleviate depression (1)
A 69-day-long study that included 64 adults who suffer from stress were given 600mg of the highest concentration of Ashwagandha showed a 79% reduction in severe depression. Those who took only the placebo actually reported a 10% increase. (2). The relevance of this study is in question because only one person actually had a history of depression.
May help Enhance and Protect Brain Health
There are several animal studies that show that the withanamids in Ashwagandha provide neuroprotective effects.
Ashwagandha has been shown to enhance memory and other cognitive functions. There has been a study of 50 adults, some given 300mg of the extract twice per day for eight weeks, others were given a placebo. The ones taking the Ashwagandha showed large improvements in immediate and general memory (3).
Ashwagandha for Stress
Stress these days is everywhere and its negative effects are showing everywhere. The everyday demands on us in our lives seem to be compounded every day contributing many illnesses or conditions.
- Heart Disease
- Compromised Immune System
Our Adrenal glands and stress go together with the adrenal glands producing Cortisol (stress hormone). It is quicker to release than other stress hormones such as adrenaline. If you remain stressed on a regular basis with the constant release of cortisol you are at risk of endangering your health.
Ashwagandha boosts the adrenals by supporting normal HPA Axis function, meaning it helps the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands communicate effectively. If these aren’t working together in balance your body could respond to a stressful situation quite severely.
Improved Muscle Strength and Mass
A classical use for Ashwagandha in Ayurvedic medicine is as a tonic to improve strength. This has been studied recently and it has been found that men who take 300mg-150mg per day had a significant increase in muscle strength where those taking the placebo had none. (4)
Boost Testosterone and Fertility in Men
In one human study that included 75 infertile men, the men treated with Ashwagandha showed an increased sperm count and motility. The treatment also led to a significant increase in testosterone levels.
In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality. After three months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Ashwagandha may help maintain proper and healthy blood sugar levels. Human studies are few if any, but a test tube study showed Ashwagandha improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells and dropped the blood sugar level in diabetics.
When you have low blood sugar you are tired lethargic and have a hard time concentrating. Ashwagandha may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. In a test tube study, ashwagandha improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. It even dropped fasting blood sugar in diabetic patients.
Studies show that Ashwagandha may produce a small but useful decrease in blood pressure. One study done in 2010 with 100 people with hypertension showed over a period of six months they had an average 1.6% decrease in systolic blood pressure and a 5.6% decrease in diastolic blood pressure.
In one study where one group took 250 mg of Ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared to a 6% decrease in the placebo group (3).
Support of Cardiometabolic Health
As I mentioned above under stress, we need a healthy and balanced response to stress. If not too much cortisol can easily increase your risk of insulin resistance, weight gain, hypertension, high cholesterol, and triglycerides. All of these individually or collectively an increase our risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
In one study, patients who took Ashwagandha had a
- A reduction in fasting blood sugar
- Reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and very-LDL cholesterol
- A reduction in triglycerides
- An increase in HDL cholesterol
So, not only does ashwagandha help keep you energized so you actually feel like exercising, but it also supports healthy metabolism and cardiovascular function in more direct ways.
Boosts Immune System
In ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is commonly used to help boost the immune system after an illness. Your immune system contains two different types of white blood cells, called TH1 and TH2. Just like a seesaw, they need to stay balanced—if one gets out of control, it throws your immune system out of whack, which can contribute to inflammation and autoimmune conditions.
It supports a healthy thyroid
Ashwagandha has been proven to boost an underactive thyroid. In fact, one study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that after just eight weeks of supplementing with ashwagandha, participants with a thyroid disorder had much healthier TSH and T4 levels, and therefore more normal thyroid function (8).
Inhibits of Prevents Spread of Cancer
Ashwagandha has been shown in many studies to significantly fight against the growth of various types of cancer. Specifically, ashwagandha was able to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and slow cell division in breast tumours. It was also linked to melanoma cell death in cases of skin cancer. It has also been shown to stimulate the production of immune-supporting white blood cells that are often depleted during chemotherapy (9,10,11,12).
Lowers Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Ashwagandha’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce cholesterol and decrease the inflammatory markers that increase the risk of heart disease. Plus, ashwagandha increases muscle endurance which indirectly improves the heart function.
Is Ashwagandha Safe?
Yes, it is. Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people.
However, there are a few that shouldn’t take it. Anyone with an autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
If you are on medications for a thyroid problem you should consult with your physician before taking Ashwagandha.
If you are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant, you should not take it. If you are lactating you should not take it.
How to Use Ashwagandha
Traditionally Ashwagandha has been used in powder form and mixed with water milk and or honey. It is generally taken before you go to bed. Taking it at this time produces a calm effect promoting healthy sleep patterns, supporting a healthy reproductive system and strength.
Take as 1/4-1/2 tsp once or twice per day.
Where to Buy
Ashwagandha has been studied for years and has been deemed very safe to take. Its history alone makes it a very popular supplement to take.
Being an anxiolytic, it may improve mood and help us regulate our sleep. Its neuroprotective properties may help treat and prevent some neurological disorders.
It works well stacking and is featured in an example stack in my article How to Stack Nootropics
Ashwagandha does not directly improve or give us a cognitive boost. What it does indirectly such as lowering our anxiety, depression and improving our quality of sleep will allow us to think clearly and acutely.