Home Nutrition 12 potential Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

12 potential Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

by Gauri Kolhe

Ashwagandha is a widely abundant ancient medicinal herb with numerous benefits to health.  It has been used in traditional medicinal system over thousands of the years. Medicinally ashwagandha classified as an adaptogen that tends to have property to reduce stress.

Along with this ashwagandha accompanies numerous other benefits to your body and brain like lower cholesterol level, help o manage symptom of anxiety and depression.

Ashwagandha as Medicinal Herb and Health Supplement

Ashwagandha scientifically known as Withania somnifera is widely used as medicinal herb and as a health supplements. The ashwagandha indicates the smell of the horse, refers to increase strength and have unique smell. Ashwagandha also have some other name such as Indian ginseng and winter cherry.

Ashwagandha occurs in India and north Africa, looks like a small shrub with yellow flower. Ashwagandha contains many chemical constituents. withanolides is one of them and highly concentrated constituent of the ashwagandha. Withanolides have the property to fight against tumor growth and tumor growth.

Ashwagandha is consumed in the form of dry powder of leaves and roots. Ashwagandha is not only used for medicinal purpose it also used as health supplements due to its health benefits.

Ashwagandha can Lower Blood Sugar levels

Lowering blood sugar level is one among the numerous ashwagandha benefits. Ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar level in several studies.

In a test tube study ashwagandha has been found to increase insulin level and improved insulin sensitivity that leads lowering in blood sugar level.

Several human studies suggested the lowering blood sugar levels in health individual and diabetic patients.

One test-tube study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.

In a study of 4-week in people who have schizophrenia, some of those treated with ashwagandha had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL in comparison to others who received a placebo.

A small study done in 6 people having diabetes, giving ashwagandha as a supplement for30 days lowered the fasting blood sugar levels. This study did not include group of control hence the results became questionable.

Ashwagandha may Prevent Cancer

age and breast cancer

Ashwagandha have withaferin as chemical constituents. Withaferin provide various health benefits and have a tendency to induce apoptosis which is programmed cell death.

In a study it has been found that ashwagandha helps you to prevent cancer by inducing apoptosis. This also obstructs the growth of new cancer cells in many ways.

Withaferin believed to have a property to induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells that disrupt the function of cells. Additionally it may make cells less resistance to apoptosis.

A number of Animal studies suggest that ashwagandha it may help to treat several types of cancer such as breast, lung, colon, brain and ovarian cancer.

Another study of ashwagandha in tumor prevention results out positive and showed 70-80 % reduction in tumor growth.

However no study has been conducted and sufficient evidences in human subjects to study the effect of ashwagandha in cancer.                                                    

Ashwagandha can Lower Cortisol Levels

Ashwagandha benefits include lowering cortisol level. Cortisol is hormone that releases by adrenal glands in response to stress, also release when blood sugar level lowers. Simply putting Ashwagandha may help to lower cortisol levels in individuals experiencing chronically stressed condition.

A study conducted in chron9ically stressed adults, who given ashwagandha as supplement had significant reduction in cortisol in comparison of control group of humans. Subjects taking higher dose of ashwagandha showed a 30 % reduction in stress.

One thing that has to be concern the lowering of cortisol is that is cortisol level lower drastically which leads high blood sugar level and increased fat storage in the abdomen.             

May help reducing stress and anxiety

Anxiety disorder

Among the numerous benefits of ashwagandha, reducing stress and anxiety is widely known. Many of the studies are conducted in order to prove that.

A study carried out in the rat shows that ashwagandha may blocked the pathways in the brains of rats by regulating the chemical signaling in the nervous system.  Several human studies also reported to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress.        

In a study of 60-day study in 64 human subjects, a group of people who took ashwagandha as supplement reported a reduction of 69% in anxiety and insomnia while only 11% has been seen in placebo group

May help to Reduce the Symptoms of Depression

Although there are not many evidences on the effect of the ashwagandha in reduction of symptom of depression, a very few studies suggest that ashwagandha may help in depression symptom reduction.

A 60 days study in 64 stressed adults who took 600 mg of highly concentrated ashwagandha extract per day has been reported over 70% reduction in severe depression while placebo group reported increase of 10%.

Even though there is no evidence for this but ashwagandha may help to reduce depression.

Ashwagandha boost testosterone level and increase in fertility in men

Ashwagandha supplements are popular to have property of increasing testosterone level and fertility in men. Simply putting may help to manage reproductive health. A study o 75 infertile men, group provided ashwagandha treatment showed significant increase I sperm production and motility.

An increased level of antioxidant in blood also has been found in peoples who took ashwagandha as supplement by many researchers in studies.

In another study, men experienced improvement in antioxidants level and sperm motility and about 14% of the men’s partners got pregnant.  The researchers also reported that the group who took the herb had increased antioxidant levels in their blood.

Ashwagandha may increase muscle mass and strength

Ashwagandha have shown to increase in muscle mass and strength. Many researches have been reported that ashwagandha benefits in increase the mass and strength of muscles.

In healthy men 750 -1250 mg safe and effective dose of ashwagandha root per day been shown to gain muscle mass and strength after 30 days. Ashwagandha also show fat percentage reduction in comparison of placebo group.

Ashwagandha benefits in reduction in inflammation

Ashwagandha may benefits in inflammation due to its natural killer cell activity and decrease markers of inflammation.

In several studies it has been proven that ashwagandha increases the activity of immune cells that fight against infection and maintenance the health. Inflammation Markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) level found to be decrease by 36% in the people who took 250 mg of ashwagandha extract on daily basis while placebo group have a decrease of 6%.Top of ForBottom of Form

May lowering the level of cholesterol and triglycerides

Ashwagandha may help to improve heart health by providing reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides level. Simply putting ashwagandha helps to prevent cardiac diseases.

Animal studies also have found significant decrease in cholesterol and triglycerides.

In a study conducted in rats found that ashwagandha significantly lowered the total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 53% and nearly 45%, respectively

While controlled human studies have reported less dramatic results, they have observed some impressive improvements in these markers

In another study for 60-day study in chronically stressed adults, the group that taking the highest dosage of standardized ashwagandha extract experienced a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol by 17% and an 11% decrease in triglycerides, on average.

Ashwagandha May improve cognitive function and memory

 Ashwagandha supplement may improve memory, brain function, reaction time and ability to tasks performing.

Several researches have shown that ashwagandha benefits human brain by promoting antioxidant activity that scavenge free radicals and protect nerve damage.

In a study performed in rats with epilepsy treated with ashwagandha shows nearly reversible of spatial memory impairment.

Numerous test tube and animal studies show that ashwagandha may be mitigating brain function and memory problems caused by disease or injury.

Although In Ayurvedic medicinal system ashwagandha has been used to boost memory, only in a small number of human research has been existed.

A controlled study in healthy men, took 500 mg of standardized extract of ashwagandha on daily basis reported improvement in reaction time and task performing capacity in comparison of placebo group.

Another study of 8-week study carried out in 50 adults showed that consuming 300 mg  of ashwagandha root extract twice daily show significantly improvement in general memory, task performance, and attention.

Ashwagandha may lower blood pressure and safe for use and widely available.

Ashwagandha benefits in lowering blood pressure in many individuals. A very few of studies show that ashwagandha may lower blood pressure.

Ashwagandha is also safe for use to most of the population and also available all over the world although the long term use of ashwagandha may cause some side effects.   

Who should avoid use of ashwagandha?           

Ashwagandha is prohibited for use to some people including pregnant mother and breastfeeding mother. People having autoimmune disease should also have avoided the use of ashwagandha without prescription of a health expert.

Also people having symptom and medical condition like lupus, arthritis, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type –I disease and arthritis should avoided.  

Summary

Ashwagandha has been used in traditional medicinal system for over 1000 of the years. Ashwagandha provide many health benefits such as fight against depression, boosting fertility, boosting memory etc.

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