10 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha, also known as winter cherry or by the botanical name Withania somnifera, is a health-supportive plant commonly used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. The name ashwagandha describes the smell of its root (like a horse). By definition, ashwa means horse.
Ashwagandha provides numerous benefits for your body and brain. For example, it can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Here are 10 health benefits of Ashwagandha.
1. Reduces Stress and AnxietyAshwagandha may improve the individual’s ability to deal with stress and stress-related problems like anxiety. Stress increases the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which in turn increases the cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the body. Ashwagandha reduces the level of cortisol and helps to reduce stress and its associated problems like anxiety.
2. Boosts Testosterone LevelsAshwagandha supplements may have powerful effects on testosterone levels and reproductive health. Ashwagandha helps increase testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men.
3. Controls Blood Sugar LevelsAshwagandha might control blood sugar in diabetic patients by increasing insulin production and improving insulin sensitivity. Studies state that Ashwagandha makes the cells less resistant to insulin. This improves insulin sensitivity and increases glucose utilization by the cells. Ashwagandha also protects and increases the number of the insulin-producing cells thus increasing insulin secretion. Together, it helps to manage the risk of diabetes.
4. Reduces Pain Associated With ArthritisAshwagandha might reduce pain associated with arthritis. Studies state that Ashwagandha has analgesic property. It is seen that the roots and leaves of Ashwagandha contain withaferin A which inhibits the production of pain mediators such as prostaglandins. This reduces the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
5. Reduces The Risk of Parkinson'sParkinson’s disease is due to damage of the nerve cells which affects movement, muscle control and balance of the body. Ashwagandha prevents damage of nerve cells due to its antioxidant property. This reduces the risk of Parkinson and its associated problems.
6. Reduces InflammationAshwagandha has been found to increase natural killer cell activity, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you to stay healthy. It has also been found to decrease markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein (CRP) which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
7. Improves Memory and Brain FunctionAshwagandha supplements may be taken to improve brain function, memory, reaction times and the ability to perform tasks. It promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.
8. Heart HealthIt has been found to significantly reduce the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream. Both animal and human studies have confirmed this, though the effect is far stronger in animals than it is in humans. Still it reduced levels of cholesterol by an average of 17 per cent and levels of triglycerides by an average of 11 per cent in a 60-day study of chronically stressed adults.
9. Sound SleepAshwagandha has been recommended for sound sleep for centuries. The leaves of the ashwagandha plant contain the active compound triethylene glycol, which promotes sleep induction.
10. Muscle Mass and StrengthAshwagandha has been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and increase strength in men.
A study trying to determine safe amount of ashwagandha dose for people, found that previously healthy people had an increase in muscle and a reduction of fat. Another study testing its strengthening claims found the same.