Ashwagandha is a small evergreen plant with yellow flowers. It is grown in India, Africa, and the Middle East. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries now.
Its long history in medicine is traced to the popular use of its roots and fruits which are orange-red in color. Some people refer to it as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.
Ashwagandha is botanically called Withania somnifera and is in the class of adaptogens. This plant is thought to be effective in managing stress and depression better.
Its roots had been used to cure various diseases in popular Indian as a natural Ayurvedic drug. In recent years, studies have shown that this plant has several health benefits including stress and anxiety relief, boosting mood and memory, and improving blood sugar levels. This article looks at each benefit in detail and the required dosage.
For many years, ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic treatment to cure various illnesses. It is deemed a Rasayana in Ayurvedic medicine because it helps reduce aging symptoms by maintaining physical and mental stability. Scientific studies have shown that it is more than a multi-task herb. Look at the following benefits it may have on your health.
1. May Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
The stress management mechanism is what has made Ashwagandha popular. Stress and anxiety are a result of the cortisol hormone dominating the body. This is one of the glucocorticoid hormones released from the adrenal cortex in response to stress.
Researchers at the National Center for Biotechnology Information have found that for effective suppression of cortisol hormone, a dosage of 125 mg to 5g daily for about 1-3 months can do well. This is thought to lower the levels of cortisol by 11-32%.
Another research was carried out and the results were published in PubMed. It concluded that ashwagandha doses of 500-600 mg per day for 6-12 weeks may do well in reducing anxiety. The same dosage may also lower some symptoms of stress and anxiety disorders like insomnia.
2. May Be Used to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Scientific studies have also found that Ashwagandha may be useful in lowering blood sugar levels.
One small study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information observed that both in healthy people and those with diabetes, ashwagandha reduced blood sugar levels. 25 people were investigated for four weeks. The results showed that those who were given ashwagandha had their fasting blood sugar levels reduced up to three times more than those on placebo.
Another study also investigated patients with type 2 diabetes for 30 days. At the end of the study, it was observed that taking ashwagandha supplements could help lower fasting blood sugar levels. In fact, it worked effectively just like any other oral drug of diabetes.
These two studies used varied dosages of ashwagandha which ranged between 250mg to 3 g and were administered in 2-3 equally divided doses throughout the day.
3. Ashwagandha May Help Boost Fertility
Infertility is one of the problems experienced by men as well as women of childbearing age. The struggle of having a child may be stressful. Ashwagandha is a perfect natural remedy. Studies have shown that this plant can boost fertility and improve your reproductive health.
Researchers at the National Center for Biotechnology Information investigated 75 men with infertility. They were given 5 g of ashwagandha per day. The study results reported a significant increase in sperm count and motility.
In another study by the same body of research, 5 g of ashwagandha was given to highly stressed men for 3 months for increased sperm quality. By the end of the study, 14% of these men impregnated their partners.
4. May Help Improve Muscle Growth and Strength
As a professional athlete or bodybuilder, you will agree that performing at your best is the primary goal of your training. Things like muscle cramps, soreness, and delayed muscle healing may hinder your performance.
You may thus need to start using ashwagandha supplements as it has been shown to be effective at increasing muscle mass and strength. Researchers at the National Center for Biotechnology Information gave 500 mg of ashwagandha men who were actively training. At the end of an 8-week study, their muscular power increased by 1% more than those who were on placebo.
Similar results were reported when the dosage of ashwagandha was increased to 600 mg. Physically active men were given this medication for eight weeks and by the end of the study, their muscular power increased by 1.5-1-7. Muscles mass also increased 1.6-2.3 times. All these were better than the results noticed in those who were on placebo,
5. May Be Used To Lower Inflammation and Fight Infection
A lower and compromised immunity straight path that microorganisms use to set and multiply in your body. Several studies have proved that ashwagandha has the potential to fight infections, lower inflammation, and support your immune system.
According to one study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, levels of immune cells may be increased by taking 12 ml of ashwagandha root extract each day. With increased immune cells, your body can easily fight and overpower microorganisms.
In another study of 60 days, participants were given 250-500 mg of ashwagandha. By the end of the study, levels of inflammation protein called C-reactive were reduced significantly by up to 30%.
6. May Help Boost Memory and Reduce Cognitive Decline
As a Rasayana, ashwagandha is mostly used also to boost memory and support brain function. One study whose results were published in PubMed found that extracts of ashwagandha roots could help improve a person’s general memory, job performance, and attention. It was carried out for 8 weeks with an ashwagandha dosage of 300 mg.
Another study yielded the same results when participants were given 500 mg of ashwagandha. For both studies, the results were far much better than those who were on placebo.
Ashwagandha is herbal medicine is commonly used in Ayurveda. It is native to India, Asia, and Africa. This herbal medicine can be used to treat infections, boost memory, and improve muscle strength among other health benefits. The daily dose of ashwagandha is 250-1500 mg.