Potential benefits of ashwagandha include better athletic performance and sleep. Some research suggests this herb may help people with conditions like anxiety and infertility, but stronger studies are needed.
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, which is a traditional form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.
“Ashwagandha” is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which
Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it’s also known by several other names, including “Indian ginseng” and “winter cherry.”
The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that’s native to India and Southeast Asia. People use extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves
Here are 8 potential benefits of ashwagandha, based on research.
It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a system in your body that regulates the stress response.
Those who took the ashwagandha supplements also saw improvements in sleep quality compared with the placebo group.
Thus, early research suggests ashwagandha may be a helpful supplement for stress and anxiety.
Ashwagandha may be effective for reducing stress and anxiety symptoms. However, more research is needed to form a consensus on appropriate forms and dosing to address stress and stress-related disorders.
Research has shown that ashwagandha may have beneficial effects on athletic performance and may be a worthwhile supplement for athletes.
VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense activity. It’s a measurement of heart and lung fitness.
Additionally, ashwagandha may help increase muscle strength.
Ashwagandha may help improve measures of physical performance in athletes and healthy adults, including VO2 max and strength.
They found that participants who took 1,000 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for 12 weeks had greater reductions in depression and anxiety than those who took a placebo.
However, more research is needed into all these uses.
The limited research available suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce symptoms of depression and benefit people with some mental health conditions. However, more research is needed.
The treatment was associated with an 18% greater increase in DHEA-S, a sex hormone involved in testosterone production. Participants who took the herb also had a 14.7% greater increase in testosterone than those who took the placebo.
It also increased sperm concentration and motility in males with normal sperm count.
However, more studies are needed.
Ashwagandha may help increase testosterone levels and may have some potential benefits for male fertility. However, more research is needed.
Limited evidence suggests that ashwagandha may have some benefits for people with diabetes or high blood sugar levels.
However, research is limited at this time, and more well-designed studies are needed.
Limited evidence suggests that ashwagandha may reduce blood sugar levels through its effects on insulin secretion and cells’ ability to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
Ashwagandha contains compounds, including WA, that may help reduce inflammation in the body.
The treatment formulation also contained:
- 1 gram of giloy ghanvati (Tinospora cordifolia)
- 2 grams of swasari ras (a traditional herbo-mineral formulation)
- 0.5 grams of tulsi ghanvati (Ocimum sanctum)
However, research on ashwagandha’s potential effects on inflammation remain limited.
Ashwagandha may help reduce inflammatory markers in the body. However, more research is needed.
Taking ashwagandha may benefit cognitive function.
Cognitive functions it may benefit included:
- executive functioning
- reaction time
- performance on cognitive tasks
- immediate and general memory
- information-processing speed
The researchers noted that compounds found in ashwagandha, including WA, have antioxidant effects in the brain, which may benefit cognitive health.
However, more research is needed before experts can draw strong conclusions.
Ashwagandha supplements may improve memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks in certain populations. However, more research is needed.
- have a small but significant positive effect on overall sleep quality
- reduce anxiety levels
- help people feel more alert when they woke up
The results were more pronounced in people with insomnia and in those who took more than 600 mg daily for 8 weeks or longer.
Recent evidence suggests that ashwagandha may be an effective natural remedy to improve sleep and may especially help people with insomnia.
However, ashwagandha may not be safe if a person:
- is pregnant, as high doses may lead to pregnancy loss
- is breastfeeding
- has hormone-sensitive prostate cancer
- is taking certain medications, such as benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, or barbiturates
- is about to have surgery
- has an autoimmune or thyroid disorder
- has liver problems
Some people using ashwagandha supplements have reported the following
- upper gastrointestinal discomfort
Ashwagandha’s effects may not be immediate, and you may have to take it for several months before noticing its effects.
Always speak with a doctor to ensure ashwagandha or other supplements are safe for you to use.
Dosing recommendations for ashwagandha vary. For example, research has shown doses ranging from 250–1,250 mg per day to to be effective for different conditions. Consult a healthcare professional if you have questions regarding ashwagandha dosing.
You can take ashwagandha in many ways, in either a single dose or multiple doses per day. And you can take it either with meals or on an empty stomach.
Although ashwagandha is safe for most people, it’s not safe for everyone. It’s important to check with a healthcare professional before taking ashwagandha to ensure it’s safe for you and that you use a safe dose.
What are the benefits of taking ashwagandha?
Possible benefits of ashwagandha include:
- reducing stress
- improving sleep
- boosting athletic performance
- improving memory
- increasing male fertility
- reducing inflammation
- managing blood sugar
What happens when you take ashwagandha daily?
The effects of ashwagandha will take time to appear, so a healthcare professional may recommend taking one dose daily. However, the long-term effects are unknown, and experts only recommend using it for up to 3 months.
Who should not take ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha may not be safe:
- during pregnancy
- while breastfeeding
- if you have prostate cancer, thyroid problems, or an autoimmune condition
- if you are about to have surgery
- if you have liver problems
- if you are taking benzodiazepines or other medications
Always check with a healthcare professional before using ashwagandha.
Why is Ashwagandha not FDA-approved?
Since Ashwagandha is a natural herbal supplement, it is
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb with various possible health benefits.
Study findings suggest that it may help reduce anxiety and stress, support restful sleep, and even improve cognitive functioning in certain populations.
Ashwagandha is likely safe for most people in the short term. However, it’s not appropriate for everyone, so it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before adding ashwagandha to your routine.
Just one thing
Try this today: Here are more ideas to help you reduce stress:
- Spend some time in the great outdoors.
- Try to get enough sleep.
- Move your body by participating in enjoyable activities.
- Spend time with loved ones.
- Set boundaries to protect and prioritize your physical and mental health.
Read this article for more ways to reduce stress and anxiety.