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Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa. 
Ashwagandha is commonly used for stress. 
There is little evidence for its use as an "adaptogen."

Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.

Since ashwagandha is traditionally used as an adaptogen, it is used for many conditions related to stress. 
Adaptogens are believed to help the body resist physical and mental stress. 
Some of the conditions it is used for include insomnia, aging, anxiety and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. 
There is also no good evidence to support using ashwagandha for COVID-19.

Don't confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. 
Both are known as winter cherry. Also, don't confuse ashwagandha with American ginseng, Panax ginseng, or eleuthero.

Uses & Effectiveness 
Possibly Effective for
Taking ashwagandha by mouth seems to help reduce stress in some people. 
Ashwagandha might also help reduce stress-related weight gain.
There is interest in using ashwagandha for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb.

It’s classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help your body manage stress.

Ashwagandha also provides numerous other 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 12 benefits of ashwagandha that are supported by science.

1. Is an ancient medicinal herb
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, a form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.

Ashwagandha has been used for over 3,000 years to relieve stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration.

Ashwagandha is Sanskrit for smell of the horse, which refers to both its unique smell and ability to increase strength.

Its botanical name is Ashwagandha, 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 North Africa. Extracts or powder from the plant’s root or leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions.

Many of its health benefits are attributed to its high concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to fight inflammation and tumor growth.

Ashwagandha is a prominent herb in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and has become a popular supplement due to its health benefits.

2. Can reduce blood sugar levels
In several studies, ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.

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

Also, several human studies have suggested that it can reduce blood sugar levels in both healthy people and those with diabetes.

Additionally, in a 4-week study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with ashwagandha had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared with 4.5 mg/dL in those who received a placebo.

What’s more, in a small study in 6 people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing with ashwagandha for 30 days lowered fasting blood sugar levels. 
However, the study didn’t include a control group, making the results questionable.

Limited evidence suggests that ashwagandha reduces blood sugar levels through its effects on insulin secretion and sensitivity.

3. Might have anticancer properties
Animal and test-tube studies have found that withaferin — a compound in ashwagandha — helps induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells.

Ashwagandha also impedes the growth of new cancer cells in several ways.

First, withaferin is believed to promote the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cancer cells, disrupting their function. 
Second, it may cause cancer cells to become less resistant to apoptosis.

Animal studies suggest that it may help treat several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancer.

In one study, mice with ovarian tumors treated with withaferin alone or in combination with an anti-cancer drug showed a 70–80% reduction in tumor growth. 
The treatment also prevented the spread of cancer to other organs.

Although no evidence suggests that ashwagandha exerts similar effects in humans, the current research is encouraging.

Animal and test-tube studies have shown that withaferin, a bioactive compound in ashwagandha, promotes the death of tumor cells and may be effective against several types of cancer.

4. Can reduce cortisol levels
Cortisol is known as a stress hormone given that your adrenal glands release it in response to stress, as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low.

Unfortunately, in some cases, cortisol levels may become chronically elevated, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.

Studies have shown that ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels.

In one study in chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared with the control group. 
Those taking the highest dose experienced a 30% reduction, on average.

Ashwagandha supplements may help lower cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals.

5. May help reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress.

Also, several controlled human studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders .

In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, on average, compared with 11% in the placebo group.

In another 6-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo.

Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in both animal and human studies.

6. May reduce symptoms of depression
Although it hasn’t been thoroughly studied, a few studies suggest ashwagandha may help alleviate depression.

In one controlled 60-day study in 64 stressed adults, those who took 600 mg of high-concentration ashwagandha extract per day reported a 79% reduction in severe depression, while the placebo group reported a 10% increase.

However, only one of the participants in this study had a history of depression. 
For this reason, the relevance of the results is unclear.

The limited research available suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce depression.

7. Can boost testosterone and increase fertility in men
Ashwagandha supplements may have powerful effects on testosterone levels and reproductive health.

In one study in 75 infertile men, the group treated with ashwagandha showed increased sperm count and motility.

What’s more, the treatment led to a significant increase in testosterone levels.

The researchers also reported that the group who took the herb had increased antioxidant levels in their blood.

In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced higher antioxidant levels and better sperm quality. 
After 3 months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant .

Ashwagandha helps increase testosterone levels and significantly boosts sperm quality and fertility in men.

8. May increase muscle mass and strength
Research has shown that ashwagandha may improve body composition and increase strength.

In a study to determine a safe and effective dosage for ashwagandha, healthy men who took 750–1,250 mg of pulverized ashwagandha root per day gained muscle strength after 30 days.

In another study, those who took ashwagandha had significantly greater gains in muscle strength and size. 
Ashwagandha also more than doubled their reductions in body fat percentage, compared with the placebo group.

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and increase strength in men.

9. May reduce inflammation

Studies in humans have found that it increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy.

Ashwagandha has also been shown to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). 
This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

In one controlled study, the group who took 250 mg of standardized ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared with a 6% decrease in the placebo group.

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase natural killer cell activity and decrease markers of inflammation.

10. May lower cholesterol and triglycerides
In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, ashwagandha may help improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Ashwagandha may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

11. May improve brain function, including memory

Research has shown that it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.

Although ashwagandha has traditionally been used to boost memory in Ayurvedic medicine, only a small amount of human research has been conducted in this area.

In one controlled study, healthy men who took 500 mg of standardized extract daily reported significant improvements in their reaction time and task performance, compared with men who received a placebo.

Ashwagandha supplements may improve brain function, memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks.

12. Is safe for most people and widely available
Ashwagandha is a safe supplement for most people, although its long-term effects are unknown.

However, certain individuals should not take it, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.

People with autoimmune diseases should also avoid ashwagandha unless authorized by a healthcare provider. 
This includes people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes.

Additionally, those on medication for thyroid disease should be careful when taking ashwagandha, as it may increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.

Ashwagandha may also decrease blood sugar and blood pressure levels, so medication dosages may need to be adjusted if you take it.

The recommended dosage of ashwagandha depends on the type of supplement. 
Extracts are more effective than crude ashwagandha root or leaf powder. 
Remember to follow instructions on labels.

Standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450–500-mg capsules once or twice daily.

It’s offered by several supplement manufacturers and available from various retailers, including health food stores and vitamin shops.

There’s also a great selection of high-quality supplements available online.

Although ashwagandha is safe for most people, certain individuals shouldn’t use it unless authorized to do so by their healthcare provider.
Standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450–500-mg capsules once or twice per day.

Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. 
Ashwagandha has a long history of use in traditional medicine.

For hundreds of years, people have used the roots and orange-red fruit of ashwagandha for medicinal purposes. The herb is also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.

The name “ashwagandha” describes the smell of its root, meaning “like a horse.” By definition, ashwa means horse.

Practitioners use this herb as a general tonic to boost energy and reduce stress and anxiety. 
Some also claim that the herb may be beneficial for certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and anxiety.

More research is necessary; to date, promising studies into the health benefits of ashwagandha have mainly been in animals.

This article looks at the traditional uses of ashwagandha, how to take it, and the evidence behind its possible health benefits and risks.

What do people use ashwagandha for?

Ashwagandha is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. 
This is one of the world’s oldest medical systems and one of India’s healthcare systems.

In Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is considered a Rasayana. 
This means that it helps maintain youth, both mentally and physically.

There is some evidence to suggest that the herb can have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. 
Inflammation underpins many health conditions, and reducing inflammation can protect the body against a variety of conditions.

For example, people use ashwagandha to help treat the following:
skin conditions

Different treatments make use of different parts of the plant, including the leaves, seeds, and fruit.

This herb is gaining popularity in the West. 
Today, people can buy ashwagandha as a supplement in the United States.

What are its health benefits?
Scientific studies have suggested that ashwagandha might be beneficial for a number of conditions.

That said, researchers do not know a lot about how the herb reacts within the human body. 
Most studies so far have used animal or cell models, meaning that scientists do not know if the same results will occur in humans.

There is some evidence to support the use of ashwagandha for the following:

Stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha may have a calming effect on anxiety symptoms when compared with the drug lorazepam, a sedative and anxiety medication.

A 2000 study suggested that the herb had a comparable anxiety-reducing effect with lorazepam, suggesting that ashwagandha might be as effective for reducing anxiety. 
However, the researchers conducted this study in mice, not humans.

In a 2019 studyin humans, researchers found that taking a daily dose of 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha significantly reduced people’s stress levels when compared with a placebo. 
This included reduced levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone.

In another 2019 study in humans, taking 250 mg or 600 mg of ashwagandha per day resulted in lower self-reported stress levels, as well as lower cortisol levels.

Although this research is promising, scientists need to collect much more data before recommending the herb to treat anxiety.

Ashwagandha may act as a pain reliever, preventing pain signals from traveling along the central nervous system. Ashwagandha may also have some anti-inflammatory properties.

For this reason, some research has shown it to be effective in treating forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.

A small 2015 study in 125 people with joint pain found the herb to have potential as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis.

Heart health
Some people use ashwagandha to boost their heart health, including:

lowering high blood pressure
lowering high cholesterol
easing chest pain
preventing heart disease
However, there is little research to support these benefits.

One 2015 study in humans suggested that ashwagandha root extract could enhance a person’s cardiorespiratory endurance, which could improve heart health. 
However, more research is necessary.

Alzheimer’s treatment
According to a 2011 review, several studies have examined ashwagandha’s ability to slow or prevent loss of brain function in people with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

As these conditions progress, parts of the brain and its connective paths become damaged, which leads to loss of memory and function. 

The same 2011 review also describes a few promising studies that found that ashwagandha might be able to stop cell growth in certain cancers. 

How to take ashwagandha
The dosage of ashwagandha and the way people use it depends on the condition they are hoping to treat. 
There is no standard dosage based on modern clinical trials.

Different studies have used different dosages. 
Some research suggests that taking 250–600 mg per day can reduce stress. 

Capsule dosages often contain between 250 and 1,500 mg of ashwagandha. 
The herb comes in the form of a capsule, powder, and liquid extract.

Ashwagandha is a herbal treatment in Ayurvedic medicine.
Some studies suggest that ashwagandha could have a range of health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety and improving arthritis.

Pregnant women and people with preexisting health conditions should talk to their doctor before using ashwagandha.

Many of the studies so far have been small, conducted in animals, or had flaws in their design. For this reason, researchers cannot say with certainty that it is an effective treatment. 
More work is necessary.

If a person chooses to use this herb as part of a treatment plan, they should be sure to discuss it with their doctor first.

Ashwagandha is a popular herb used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) for stress relief and to improve general health. 
Ashwagandha can help you relax and reduce swelling.

Some lab studies show that it can slow the growth of cancer cells, but this effect has not been observed in humans.

Ashwagandha is used:

To treat cancer
To treat diabetes
To reduce fatigue (feeling more tired or weak than usual)
To reduce joint pain
To reduce stress
To reduce anxiety (strong feelings of worry)
It’s generally safe to use ashwagandha in food and tea. However, talk with your healthcare providers before taking supplements or higher amounts of ashwagandha. Supplements are stronger than the herbs you would use in cooking.

Ashwagandha can also interact with some medications and affect how they work. For more information, read the “What else do I need to know?” section below.

Ashwagandha has been called the king of Ayurvedic herbs. 
Limited research suggests that it works well for reducing stress and anxiety. 
Ashwagandha may also modestly enhance strength performance, improve glucose metabolism, and increase testosterone levels, but more research is needed to confirm this.

What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha) is an herb used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. 

Various parts of the plant are used, but the most common in supplements is an extract of its roots.

What are ashwagandha's benefits?
A number of studies suggest that it has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects; studies are mostly supportive of a notable effect of ashwagandha for this purpose, and it seems to reduce cortisol levels. 
However, more research is needed before we can have a great deal of confidence in it or know the optimal dose. 
Ashwagandha may also be able to reduce insomnia, fatigue, and the symptoms of depression, but it hasn't been well-researched for these purposes.

Ashwagandha may increase power output in untrained subjects during resistance exercise and anaerobic running, but this observation is based on a small amount of research and more is needed. 
Ashwagandha may lead to small reductions in blood glucose, blood pressure, and LDL-cholesterol, while slightly increasing HDL-cholesterol. 
Additionally, it may modestly increase testosterone and sperm quality in infertile men.

What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known as Ashwagandha, winter cherry, and Indian ginseng, is a shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and areas of Africa. 
The plant, including its roots and berries, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, India’s system of traditional medicine, but its popularity has recently spiked in the U.S.

“In the last two or three years, clients about ashwagandha, mushrooms, and other adaptogens” — compounds thought to help the body regulate stress and resist disease — says Marisa Moore, RDN, LD, an integrative and culinary dietitian in Atlanta.

The herb is available as a supplement, in capsule or extract form.

The Effectiveness of Ashwagandha
Current research conducted on ashwagandha has been limited to smaller studies. 
Here’s what science says about the herb’s effectiveness.

For stress and anxiety: “The research about ashwagandha for stress is the most promising,” notes Moore.
For example, a study published in September 2019 in the journal Medicine, which was conducted in 60 healthy adults with self-reported high levels of stress, found that those who took 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha extract saw a significant drop in mental stress compared with those who took a placebo.

“Ashwagandha was a small group, [but it showed] a positive effect in reducing stress,” Moore says. 
“For a lot of people, that may be enough to take a supplement or add it to a smoothie.”

For sleep: Because ashwagandha can make some people feel more relaxed — a possible side effect is drowsiness — it makes sense that it would be a good snooze enhancer. 
A small study done in 60 people, published in December 2019 in the journal Cureus, found that people who took either 250 or 600 mg of ashwagandha reported sleeping better (and feeling less tension) than those who took a placebo.

For sex: Ashwagandha has been studied in both women and men with a variety of sexual problems, and the results have been mixed. 
The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that as of now, there’s insufficient evidence that ashwagandha can improve the symptoms of sexual dysfunction.

Still, research has shown some possible benefits. 
One study, published in October 2015, in the journal BioMed Research International, tracked 50 heterosexual women who were experiencing sexual dysfunction — difficulty becoming aroused or having an orgasm, low libido, or other problems — and found that those who took 600 mg of ashwagandha extract every day reported feeling more satisfied with their sexual encounters with their partner, more lubrication and arousal, and more orgasms at the end of 8 weeks than women who took a placebo.

On the other hand, a trial published in the July-September issue of the journal AYU found that when men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction (in which a man has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection due to psychological or relationship issues rather than a physiological problem) took ashwagandha root powder for 60 days, they weren’t any more likely to see an improvement in their symptoms compared with men who took a placebo. 
But research published in June 2011 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine  indicates that the herb may be useful in improving sperm count and movement.

While it’s also possible that ashwagandha may help heal other conditions as well, including cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, the evidence so far is inconclusive.

Withania somnifera, known commonly as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry, is an annual evergreen shrub in the Solanaceae or nightshade family that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. 
Several other species in the genus Withania are morphologically similar.
Although thought to be useful as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda and sold in many countries as a dietary supplement, there is insufficient scientific evidence that it is safe or effective for treating any disease.

This species is a short, tender perennial shrub growing 35–75 cm (14–30 in) tall. 
Tomentose branches extend radially from a central stem. Leaves are dull green, elliptic, usually up to 10–12 cm (3.9–4.7 in) long. The flowers are small, green and bell-shaped. The ripe fruit is orange-red.

The species name "somnifera" means "sleep-inducing" in Latin.
The name "ashwagandha" is a combination of the Sanskrit words 'ashva', meaning horse, and 'gandha', meaning smell, reflecting that the root has a strong horse-like odor.

Ashwagandha is cultivated in many of the drier regions of India. 
Ashwagandha is also found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, China, and Yemen.
Ashwagandha prefers dry stony soil with sun to partial shade. 
To propagate it can be grown from seed in the early spring, or from greenwood cuttings in the later spring.

Diseases and pests
Ashwagandha is prone to several pests and diseases. Leaf spot disease caused by Alternaria alternata is the most prevalent disease, which occurs in a severe form in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. 
A decline in the concentration of its secondary metabolites occurs by leaf spot disease.
A treehopper feeds on the apical portions of the stem, making them rough and woody in appearance and brown in colour.[citation needed]

The carmine red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) is the most prevalent pest of the plant in India.
In recent years, this plant has been serving as a new reservoir host for an invasive mealybug species Phenacoccus solenopsis.

The main phytochemical constituents are withanolides – which are triterpene lactones – withaferin A, alkaloids, steroidal lactones, tropine, and cuscohygrine.
Some 40 withanolides, 12 alkaloids, and numerous sitoindosides have been isolated.
Withanolides are structurally similar to the ginsenosides of Panax ginseng, leading to a common name for W. somnifera, "Indian ginseng".

Traditional medicine

The plant, particularly its root powder, has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine, but there is insufficient evidence that it is safe or effective for treating any disease.
Mainly due to the poor quality of the clinical research, there is no high-quality evidence that it provides any medicinal benefit as a dietary supplement, and may cause adverse effects if taken together with prescription drugs.
Reported side effects include diarrhea, skin burning and discoloration, sedation, severe liver injury, thyrotoxicosis, increased testosterone levels, and miscarriage.

What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub that originates from parts of India, the Middle East and Africa.

Its unusual name relates to the way it smells – ashwagandha roots smell like a horse, with ‘ashwa’ meaning horse.
These tube-like roots are harvested, dried and ground down into a powder.

The ashwagandha plant is renowned for being one of the most powerful herbs, which spans back thousands of years.

As well as being an ancient herb, it’s also known for being an adaptogen - it contains a mix of amino acids, herbs and vitamins that can help the body manage stress.

Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as ‘Indian ginseng’ because of its rejuvenating properties, even though botanically, ginseng and ashwagandha aren’t connected to each other.

What is ashwagandha extract?
Various parts of the ashwagandha plant are used for medicinal purposes, but it’s ashwagandha extract – which is an extract of the plant’s roots – that’s found in most supplements.

More traditional Ayurvedic treatments use the entire dried root of the ashwagandha plant, which is turned into powder and usually steeped in milk.

However, more modern supplements are ashwagandha extracts that are labelled as Withania Somnifera extract.

Ashwagandha extracts are more refined than ashwagandha powder and can be created using water or chemicals.

The ashwagandha plant is one of the most powerful herbs. 
Various parts of the ashwagandha plant are used for medicinal purposes, with ashwagandha extract mainly being used in supplements.

What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub that originates from parts of India, the Middle East and Africa.

Its unusual name relates to the way it smells – ashwagandha roots smell like a horse, with ‘ashwa’ meaning horse.1 These tube-like roots are harvested, dried and ground down into a powder.

The ashwagandha plant is renowned for being one of the most powerful herbs, which spans back thousands of years.

As well as being an ancient herb, it’s also known for being an adaptogen - it contains a mix of amino acids, herbs and vitamins that can help the body manage stress.

Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as ‘Indian ginseng’ because of its rejuvenating properties, even though botanically, ginseng and ashwagandha aren’t connected to each other.

What is ashwagandha extract?
Various parts of the ashwagandha plant are used for medicinal purposes, but it’s ashwagandha extract – which is an extract of the plant’s roots – that’s found in most supplements.

More traditional Ayurvedic treatments use the entire dried root of the ashwagandha plant, which is turned into powder and usually steeped in milk.

However, more modern supplements are ashwagandha extracts that are labelled as Withania Somnifera extract.

Ashwagandha extracts are more refined than ashwagandha powder and can be created using water or chemicals.

The ashwagandha plant is one of the most powerful herbs. 
Various parts of the ashwagandha plant are used for medicinal purposes, with ashwagandha extract mainly being used in supplements.

What does ashwagandha do?
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a natural agent that reportedly helps the body cope with stress.

As a result, it’s believed to be effective at helping reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Ashwagandha may also therefore potentially help with anxiety and depression too.

Ashwagandha also contains a large amount of Withanolides.

What are Withanolides?
If you’ve checked out the Nature’s Way capsules (see below), then you may have spotted they contain 20mg of Withanolides in addition to 500mg of ashwagandha root extract.

For those of you who haven’t come across this phrase, Withanolides are the primary active ingredient in ashwagandha. 
The level of Withanolides, which are mainly found in ashwagandha roots, varies from one extract to the other.

Ashwagandha uses
Ashwagandha has been used for many things over the last 3,000 years.

This includes relieving stress, aiding sleep, increasing energy levels and improving concentration.8

Overall, it’s earned itself somewhat of a big reputation over the years for coping with stress (thanks to the adaptogens) and improving thinking ability (e.g. attention and concentration levels).

It’s been used in India for almost 5,000 years for conditions, such as rheumatism, constipation,

insomnia, inflamed joints, chronic stress, parasites and hormone imbalances.

It’s widely recognised for being a herbal medicine, as well as increasing energy levels and creating a general sense of wellbeing. 
As a result, its use extends far beyond India for issues, including:

Difficulty concentrating
Poor memory
Trouble sleeping
Low libido
Frequent illness or disease
Low endurance (mentally or physically)
Joint pain
Neurological condition
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a natural agent that reportedly helps the body cope with stress. 
It’s widely recognised for being a herbal medicine, as well as increasing energy levels and creating a general sense of wellbeing.

Ashwagandha benefits for men and women
Here are some of the top benefits of ashwagandha for the body.11

Ashwagandha benefits for men
Ashwagandha can support muscle growth and strength
Ashwagandha has been linked to increasing muscle mass and strength in men. 

Ashwagandha also more than doubled their reductions in body fat percentage compared to the placebo group.

Meanwhile, a separate study found that men who took around 1g of ashwagandha a day saw their muscle strength improve after 30 days.

Ashwagandha can support brain function and memory
Ashwagandha’s ability to generate antioxidant activity helps protect nerve cells from free radical damage, enhancing brain function and memory.

Adults who took 300mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day reported a significant improvement in their general memory, task performance and attention span.

Meanwhile, further research of healthy men, reported that the supplement significantly improved reaction time and task performance.

Handpicked content: Best vitamins for brain and memory

Ashwagandha can increase sperm count and sperm mobility
Ashwagandha is widely recognised for its fertility-enhancing qualities across multiple studies.

Ashwagandha benefits for women
Ashwagandha can help improve sexual activity
Studies have found that ashwagandha can help with female sexual dysfunction. 

According to a 2015 study, women who took concentrated oral doses of ashwagandha reported having more orgasms and overall more satisfying sex—likely due to the supplement’s stress-reducing effects.

Ashwagandha can help prevent menopause-related issues
The menopause can cause hormonal imbalances in some women, which can result in them experiencing hot flushes, depression, sleeping issues and anxiety.

Ashwagandha may help as it balances the secretion of hormones, which can help alleviate many menopause-related symptoms.

Ashwagandha has been found to increase muscle mass and strength and sperm count in men. 
Meanwhile, it can improve sexual activity and tackle the symptoms of menopause in women.

Ashwagandha health benefits

Reducing blood sugar levels – by increasing insulin secretion and improving insulin sensitivity within muscle cells.
Increasing muscle mass – studies have found it can increase muscle mass, reduce body fat and increase strength in men.
Ashwagandha for sleep - ashwagandha can also improve sleep quality. 
The leaves of the ashwagandha plant contain the compound, triethylene glycol, which is sleep-inducing. 
(Try the recipe for sleep-promoting Moon Milk below).
Maintaining normal cholesterol – a study in rats found that it lowered total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 53% and almost 45%.

Ashwagandha for stress - in a study of chronically-stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha reported significantly greater reductions in cortisol compared with the control group. Those taking the highest dose experienced a 30% average reduction

The health benefits associated with ashwagandha are widespread and range from managing stress and blood sugar levels, to supporting concentration, physical endurance and sleep quality.

How to use ashwagandha
There are various different ways you can take ashwagandha. 
You can buy ashwagandha powder. 
You can also get ashwagandha supplement capsules and liquid too.

How you choose to take ashwagandha is very much down to personal preference, and the amount you take depends on what you are taking it for.
Where did ashwagandha come from?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as “Indian Winter cherry” or Indian Ginseng,” is an evergreen shrub that’s found in India, Africa and parts of the Middle East.

“Ashwagandha has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to increase energy, improve overall health and reduce inflammation, pain and anxiety,” says Dr. Lin. She adds that Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional medicine system in India. Ashwagandha is a healing tradition that uses nutrition, exercise, mindfulness practices and herbs to promote balance between the body, mind, spirit and the environment.    

Why is ashwagandha so popular right now?
Well, a stressful time calls for super-relaxing methods and remedies. 
Ashwagandha seems to fit the bill for those who prefer herbal medicines for a number of reasons.

Modern life is full of stress triggers. 
And that stress contributes to physical and mental illness and look for ways to feel better. 
A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a good diet, routine mindfulness practices and adequate sleep is key to building the resilience to respond and recover from stress. 

However, many people need additional, short-term support. “For some, that might come in the form of prescription medicine that supports serotonin function. For others, it may be botanicals,” says Dr. Lin. 

According to Dr. Lin, ashwagandha is generally safe. 
“Most people can take this supplement, although it is always best to discuss it with your healthcare provider first. 
Ashwagandha is generally tolerated well. However, the most common side effects are diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and nausea.”

What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?
Dr. Lin says during stressful moments, the cortisol levels in your body become elevated, and this causes your heart to pump harder and faster. 
You breathe rapidly and your body generates more glucose for a quick burst of energy. 
Your mind becomes hyper-focused on any threats, and your body goes into fight or flight mode. 
When the stressful event is over, cortisol levels normalize and the associated symptoms resolve.

“Unfortunately, when a threat is chronic — whether it’s stress from finances, work or the pandemic —the stressful response also becomes chronic. 
Over time, long-term stress can contribute to persistent inflammation and increases the risk for developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.”

Dr. Lin points out that research has shown that ashwagandha can help normalize cortisol levels, thus reducing the stress response. 
In addition, ashwagandha has also been associated with reduced inflammation, reduced cancer risks, improved memory, improved immune function and anti-aging properties. 
This is why people who are stressed or anxious, or people with chronic conditions might turn ashwagandha to help ease their conditions.   

Clinical Overview
Ashwagandha has been used as an adaptogen, diuretic, and sedative and is available in the United States as a dietary supplement. 
Trials supporting its clinical use are limited; however, many in vitro and animal experiments suggest effects on the immune, endocrine, and CNS systems, as well as in the pathogenesis of cancer and inflammatory conditions.

Dosing information is limited. W. somnifera root powder has generally been used at daily dosages of 120 mg to 2 g in combination with other preparations.

Contraindications have not been identified.

The principal bioactive compounds of W. somnifera are withanolides, which are triterpene lactones. More than 40 withanolides, approximately 12 alkaloids and several sitoindosides have been isolated and identified from W. somnifera. 
The withanolides are structurally related to the ginsenosides of Panax ginseng, hence the common name "Indian ginseng."
Withanine and somniferine are among the alkaloids.
Chemical constituents for the roots, fruits, seeds, and stem include withanone; withaferin A; withanolides A, D, an G; and sitoindosides IX, X, VII, and VIII. 
High performance liquid chromatography techniques to quantify constituents have also been established.

Additional compounds, especially withanolides, have been described and evaluated, with variations dependent upon cultivation and varieties.
Large amounts of iron are also found in the plant.

Uses and Pharmacology
Well-designed clinical studies in which W. somnifera or its extracts are used as a single agent are limited.

Anti-inflammatory effects
In vitro and animal experiments suggest W. somnifera may possess anti-inflammatory properties. 
Cultures of cartilage from patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have been used to demonstrate W. somnifera's protective effects on chondroplasts.
Related effects on cytokines and transcription factors, and suppression of nitric oxide have also been demonstrated.
In experiments in rats with induced inflammation, decreased inflammation (paw volume), pain, and disability were noted, as well as an antipyretic effect after administration of W. somnifera root powder. 
The ulcerogenic effect of W. somnifera was lower than that of indomethacin.
A small clinical study evaluating a combination therapy that included ashwagandha demonstrated decreased pain and disability in arthritis, while no changes were observed in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Other uses
Animal experiments have been conducted to describe adaptogenic properties (increased swimming endurance and reduced stress response) of W. somnifera. Clinical trials are lacking.

Effects on aging have been promoted, based on claims regarding increased hemoglobin, red blood cell count, hair quality, and melanin levels in a non-peer-reviewed study conducted among healthy men. 
Serum cholesterol was also reduced and seated-stature improved in this study.

A statistically significant decrease in triglycerides and fasting blood glucose was observed in a double-blind, randomized controlled trial in 25 schizophrenic patients who took a total daily dose of 1,200 mg W. somnifera extract for 1 month versus those on placebo.

An 8-week double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study in 50 treatment-naive adults with subclinical hypothyroidism (elevated TSH) found that ashwagandha root extract (containing 5% withanolides) 300 mg twice daily significantly improved thyroid parameters. 
Serum T3 and T4 levels were significantly increased with ashwagandha over baseline and compared to placebo at 4 and 8 weeks, while serum TSH was significantly decreased. 
Treatment was well tolerated.68

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years as a rasayana (rejuvenative). 
Ashwagandha is a renowned adaptogenic herb, which means it is used to help the body resist physiological and psychological stress by adapting to the needs of the body. 
Deeply supportive of many tissues and body systems, including the immune system, the reproductive system, a healthy thyroid, and much more, ashwagandha is a wonderful herb to help nourish overall health and well-being.

Characteristics of the Ashwagandha Plant
Ashwagandha plants are native to India, northern Africa, and the Middle East, but they can now be cultivated in temperate climates around the world, including in the United States. 
We even grew some at our Southern Oregon project farm!

Interestingly, ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties and its ability to help the body adapt to stress is reflected in the fact that the plant thrives in arid conditions and in poor quality, alkaline soils. 
While most plants would suffer from severe stress in this environment, ashwagandha flourishes.

This perennial shrub grows up to three feet tall, and the entire plant is covered in silver-gray, felted hairs. 
The leaves are oval and about two to six inches long, and its small, yellow-green, star-shaped flowers grow up to a half-inch in any direction. 
The ashwagandha berry is enclosed inside a papery calyx that serves as protection for the fruit.

Although the leaves and berries have therapeutic value, most of the benefits are derived from the stout, fleshy roots of the shrub, which is what we use at Banyan.

Ashwagandha Benefits
Ashwagandha is used to tone, support, strengthen, and revitalize bodily functions. 
Ashwagandha has been revered over time for its dual capacity to energize and calm at the same time.

Maximizing the body’s ability to resist stress, it enables the body to reserve and sustain vital energy throughout the day while promoting sound, restful sleep at night.

Stress can cause fatigue, often manifesting as “hyper” signs like agitation and difficulty sleeping. 
By providing a nourishing, yet energizing effect, ashwagandha can support a healthy nervous system.

With the use of ashwagandha, stress doesn’t impact the nervous system with such intensity, and the “hyper” signs of stress and agitation will naturally resolve over time. 
In this way, ashwagandha has a rejuvenating and calming influence on the nervous system and, consequentially, on the entire being.

This quality of ashwagandha makes it a prime supplement to use in the toning and rejuvenation process. 
In addition to its dual energizing and calming effect, ashwagandha offers a number of benefits:

Supports a healthy immune system
Calms mental processes
Fosters healthy sleep patterns
Benefits a healthy reproductive system in both males and females
Supports sustained energy levels, strength, and vitality, including with physical activity
Supports a healthy back and joints
Supports healthy muscles
Promotes thyroid health
Promotes healthy functioning of the adrenals

Ashwagandha Uses
Ashwagandha is incredibly versatile—it can be taken as a powder, a tablet, or a liquid extract, with or without food, and at any time of the day, even right before bed.

As an added benefit, ashwagandha root actually tastes good, and there are many delicious ashwagandha recipes, making it easy to incorporate this herb.

Take our free Ayurvedic Profile quiz to see if ashwagandha is one of the herbs recommended for you.

Traditionally used as a powder, ashwagandha can be mixed with water or warm milk and honey. 
Taken before bed, this mixture calms vata and fosters healthy sleep patterns, supports the reproductive system, and bolsters strength. 
A general serving is teaspoon once or twice daily.

Ashwagandha is traditionally taken with ghee and honey (equal parts), which act as anupans (a medium for carrying herbs deeper into the tissues) for overall nourishment and rejuvenation.

While combining equal measurements such as 1/2 a teaspoon each is fine, be sure you are not putting in equal weights of honey and ghee (such as 1 gram each) as this is considered toxic. 

Taking ashwagandha with raw sugar adds a cooling effect and can even be substituted for the honey, particularly in the summer months. 
It can also be used with ghee and sugar as a supplement to support the female reproductive system and joints.

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