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Last update: June 11, 2024

6 minute read

The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Discover the amazing health benefits of Ashwagandha! Boost energy, reduce stress, and naturally improve overall wellness.

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, MBA, PhD

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You might've heard whispers about Ashwagandha, but now it's time to dive deep into this "Ash-wonder-ghanda" of a superfood! In this blog post, we'll explore the numerous health benefits of Ashwagandha, such as supporting energy, stress, and a healthy immune system.

We'll also look at expert opinions and research-backed evidence that support this ancient herb's effectiveness. So, buckle up and get ready to "root" for your new favorite adaptogen!

Key takeaways

  • Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen with health benefits, like supporting energy, stress, and overall wellness
  • Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for daily consumption but consulting your healthcare provider is important
  • Effects of Ashwagandha can vary, but benefits may generally be noticeable within a few weeks to a few months

    What is Ashwagandha?

    Ashwagandha (pronounced osh-wah-gun-duh) is an herb that has been historically used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. This medicinal herb comes from the Withania somnifera shrub and may also be called Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry.

    Ashwagandha is a tonic for supporting stress resilience, energy, and performance for healthy adults. This potent root extract is native to India and North Africa and is becoming more popular in the West. Thanks to new clinical trials and exciting research, the Ashwagandha root is gaining traction as a reliable herbal supplement to improve quality of life.

    Health benefits of Ashwagandha

    The following are evidence-based potential benefits of using Withania somnifera extract as an alternative treatment.

    1. Supports stress and anxiety

    Ashwagandha is probably the most well-known for supporting your stress response and maintaining a sense of calm within your immune system. Several studies have suggested that Ashwagandha extract may reduce the feelings of chronic stress that are so common nowadays.

    Whether you're dealing with an anxiety disorder, oxidative stress, or just feeling overwhelmed in your central nervous system and brain function, you may see a significant increase in your stress response with this dietary supplement. In a 2019 study, chronically stressed adults were given either a daily dose of Ashwagandha or a placebo for two months.

    The results noted a significant reduction in feelings of stress and cortisol levels. Plus, the participants' sleep quality improved! Enjoy the protective effects of this natural extract as a general tonic to help you manage your stress.

    2. Supports energy and metabolism

    Ashwagandha may boost energy and stamina. Research suggests that Ashwagandha may positively affect the thyroid, supporting your energy production.

    This endocrine gland produces the hormone thyroxine, which is needed for controlling metabolism and energy production. When the thyroid functions properly, healthy adults will have better chances to fight fatigue and support energy.

    In the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a study on subclinical hypothyroid patients found Ashwagandha helped normalize levels of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and the active thyroid hormone thyroxine. This use of Ashwagandha is successful for patients with chronic stress or individuals looking to support regular brain function.

    3. Supports reducing inflammation

    The potent antioxidants in Ashwagandha, like withanolides, may combat oxidative damage and reduce inflammation in the body. This is significant because chronic inflammation is at the root of many chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and more. Ashwagandha may support the prevention of certain conditions by keeping your cells in check.

    4. Supports exercise performance and recovery

    Ashwagandha is a useful natural supplement for athletes and exercise enthusiasts. It appears to support stress, energy (important for optimal physical performance) and muscle strength and endurance for elite athletes.

    The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that taking a dose of 600 mg of Ashwagandha root extract combined with a resistance training program supported muscle strength, muscle size, and body fat loss.

    Participants taking Ashwagandha also experienced less exercise-induced muscle damage, indicating a potentially supported exercise recovery and the efficacy of a high-concentration Ashwagandha routine for athletes.

    How Ashwagandha works

    Many of Ashwagandha root's potent health benefits are due to its rich content of active compounds and extracts. This includes alkaloids and antioxidant compounds called withanolides.

    Alkaloids help protect your cells by acting as anti-inflammatory agents. Withanolides are steroidal lactones that will help you metabolize energy better as you fight fatigue.

    How does Ashwagandha work?

    The Ashwagandha root is known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens act as mental and physical stress-relieving agents by encouraging bodily homeostasis. One of the benefits of Ashwagandha is how it assists the tiny endocrine glands above the kidneys responsible for releasing the stress hormone cortisol.

    Clinical studies have shown Ashwagandha may help lower the amount of cortisol pumped out by these adrenal glands and, in doing so, potentially reduce insomnia, anxiety disorder, over-eating, and burnout.

    Research also suggests that Ashwagandha supports brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling. GABA is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps prevent your neurons from getting over-excited. This gives your nervous system a sense of calm. Even a few milligrams of an herbal drug like Ashwagandha may help signal the brain to slow down.

    Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

    Final thoughts

    Well, there you have it. We've explored the fantastic world of Ashwagandha and its incredible health benefits. It's no wonder this herb has been a go-to for centuries! Now, it's time to say “ashwa-goodbye”, but don't worry – we'll be here with more fantastic health tips and puns to keep you smiling and thriving. Until next time, stay healthy, and keep shining!

    Sources


    Author

    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

    Dr. Dimitar Marinov avatar

    Dr. Marinov has years of experience in scientific research and preventive and clinical medicine. His publications in peer-reviewed journals are on nutritional status, physical activity, and musculoskeletal disorders among adolescents.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.


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