Ashwagandha Benefits 2024 Know 7 Health Uses, Backed By Science

7 Health Benefits of Ashwagandh

Ashwagandha Benefits Ashwagandha a safe herb, is attracting interest in the United States for its capacity to regulate stress and anxiety. This herb holds significance in the ancient Ayurvedic system of medicine in India and is employed for addressing various ailments like rheumatism and insomnia. According to Andrea Fossati, M.D., an integrative healthcare specialist in Vermont, the physiological effects of Ashwagandha are interconnected. For instance, reduced stress leads to decreased cortisol levels, resulting in improved blood sugar management.

While ashwagandha has been the subject of numerous clinical trials, most of these studies have only involved a small number of participants. As such, further and more expansive research is necessary to validate the herb’s purported benefits, particularly over an extended period. The lack of long-term studies also means that the potential risks of using ashwagandha are not entirely known. It is important to consider this when deciding to use ashwagandha as a supplement or for medicinal purposes. Despite this, the herb has shown promising results in some areas, such as reducing stress and anxiety levels and improving cognitive function. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement or treatment regimen.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, a plant classified as an adaptogen, is renowned for its health benefits when consumed in various forms such as teas, powders, tinctures, supplements, or in its raw form. Adaptogens are known to help the body cope with stress and reduce anxiety levels. Additionally, Ashwagandha has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and can boost brain function and memory retention. It has also been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine to improve fertility and increase testosterone levels in men. Furthermore, research has shown that this potent herb has potential anti-cancer properties and may be useful in managing symptoms of depression.

Ashwagandha, also referred to as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or Withania somnifera, is a herbal shrub that has been utilized for its medicinal benefits for centuries. The roots and berries of this plant are known to possess a variety of therapeutic properties, making it a popular ingredient in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Some of the benefits associated with ashwagandha include reducing stress and anxiety levels, improving brain function and memory retention, boosting fertility in men and women, and reducing inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, it is believed to have anti-cancer properties and can help control blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes.

7 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Relieves Stress and Anxiety.
  • Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat.
  • Increases Muscle and Strength.
  • Improves Sexual Function in Women.
  • Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men.
  • Sharpens Focus and Memory.
  • Supports Heart Health.

Ongoing research on ashwagandha is advancing as scientists globally investigate its effectiveness in treating various conditions. Below are some scientifically supported advantages of ashwagandha.

1. Relieves Stress and Anxiety

Ashwagandha is most commonly recognized for its ability to reduce stress. Numerous studies have emphasized this benefit, noting that ashwagandha can effectively reduce stress and anxiety levels in participants.

A specific study showed that ashwagandha can improve sleep quality, with researchers confirming that participants experienced much better sleep with the herb compared to a placebo.

2. Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat

Several small clinical trials discovered that ashwagandha was beneficial in lowering blood glucose levels and triglycerides, with one study comparing its effects to those of medications used for type 2 diabetes.

3. Increases Muscle and Strength

Researchers are still examining the effectiveness of ashwagandha in enhancing strength and muscle size. One study indicated that participants saw improvements in speed and strength. Another study noted an enhancement in muscle power, as well as a decrease in body fat percentage and cholesterol levels following ashwagandha consumption. Additionally, some participants reported better sleep, although this study did not include a comparison with a placebo.

In a separate study involving only male participants, ashwagandha treatments yielded favorable outcomes. Men who were given ashwagandha showed notable improvements in muscle strength (assessed through bench press and leg extension exercises) and increased muscle size in their arms and chests, along with a significant decrease in body fat percentage and post-exercise muscle damage compared to the placebo group.

4. Improves Sexual Function in Women

Ashwagandha may provide benefits for women with sexual dysfunction, as shown in at least one clinical study. Participants reported significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and the number of successful sexual encounters after taking ashwagandha. Additionally, there were improvements in distress related to their sex lives and sexuality.

5. Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men

Ashwagandha might also offer reproductive advantages for men. Giving ashwagandha to men with infertility has demonstrated a substantial improvement in sperm quality by restoring reproductive hormone levels. Following one study, 14% of the female partners of the male patients conceived.

In a study on ashwagandha and stress, researchers discovered that the herb raised testosterone levels in male participants but not in female participants. Additionally, a separate study on ashwagandha’s impact on muscle strength in men observed a notable increase in testosterone.

6. Sharpens Focus and Memory

Ashwagandha might enhance cognitive function, memory, and motor response performance following instructions. Limited research indicates that ashwagandha led to significantly better reaction times in cognitive and psychomotor tests compared to a placebo, indicating improved ability to respond to instructions and carry out specified actions.

A study discovered that ashwagandha notably enhanced the attention spans of participants, along with their immediate and overall memory in various tests.

7. Supports Heart Health

Ashwagandha has been demonstrated in at least two studies to enhance VO2 max levels, which represent the maximum oxygen intake during physical exertion. These levels are a measure of cardiorespiratory endurance, reflecting the efficiency of oxygen delivery to muscles by the heart and lungs during physical activity. Therefore, higher VO2 max levels may suggest a healthy heart that functions effectively in such situations.

That being said, the findings of this particular study may not be universally applicable as it only involved healthy, athletic adults rather than a more varied group of participants.

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Risks and Side Effects of Ashwagandha

Before incorporating Ashwagandha into your diet, it’s important to consider a few factors, despite it being a safe and nontoxic plant.

Do you take other medications?

Inform your doctor(s) before incorporating ashwagandha or any new element into your health regimen, especially if you are currently using other medications, as ashwagandha could impact their effectiveness.

Are there other conditions to consider?

It is important to consult a doctor or integrative health specialist if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, immunocompromised, about to undergo surgery, have a thyroid condition, are allergic to nightshades, or have certain grass allergies before taking ashwagandha to ensure safety.

What dosage should I take?

According to experts, the body may not fully absorb a 300-milligram ashwagandha dose. Larger doses could cause unpleasant side effects like vomiting and diarrhea. It is recommended to take smaller doses more frequently to maximize its balancing effects.

Where did this ashwagandha come from?

It’s important to verify the origin of your herbs, particularly when purchasing supplement capsules. Begin by seeking recommendations from staff at natural foods or supplements stores. If they suggest any brand, conduct your own investigation into each company’s certifications, testing methods, and product standards. It’s crucial to specifically look for the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury in their products, as exposure to these metals can lead to harm to various bodily systems including the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, immune system, and reproductive system.

How to Take Ashwagandha Supplements

Ashwagandha roots and berries have medicinal properties and are commonly found in supplement capsules, tablets, gummies, powders, tinctures, and tea. Emily Clairmont, a registered dietitian at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, Vermont, suggests beginning with ashwagandha tea as a gentle way to incorporate the herb into your diet and to support your hydration, which is essential for overall health.

To enhance your creativity, incorporate the raw form of ashwagandha or ashwagandha powder into your meals. Avoid exposing it to high heat to preserve its therapeutic properties and prevent any potential carcinogenic effects. Instead, use it over medium heat or add it towards the end of your food preparation.

Ashwagandha Benefits 2024: Frequently Asked Questions

What does ashwagandha do?

Ashwagandha is often utilized for its potential to decrease stress and anxiety, enhance sleep quality, and potentially aid in memory and cognitive function, blood sugar regulation, muscle building, strength increase, cardiovascular and immune health support, and reproductive health improvement according to research.

Does ashwagandha have side effects?

The potential side effects of ashwagandha may consist of constipation, nasal congestion, cough, drowsiness, and reduced appetite. These effects may differ depending on the person. Before incorporating ashwagandha into your health routine, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider to discuss your specific health requirements and determine if ashwagandha is suitable for you.

Does ashwagandha really work?

According to existing research, ashwagandha has the potential to decrease stress, enhance brain function, and alleviate inflammation, among other advantages. It is important to investigate the manufacturer’s certifications, testing methods, and product standards before using ashwagandha.

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