Western medicine, in general, owes much to the ancient healing systems of the Far East. Coming straight out of primarily India, for example, is the traditional system of medicine called Ayurveda. The natural herb known as ashwagandha has been employed for centuries as both a palliative and a source of effective treatment for a wide range of ailments.
In particular, ashwagandha can treat sleeplessness, rheumatoid arthritis and joint inflammation – among many other things. Some research results demonstrate that anything which assuages stress will lower the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) which in turn optimizes blood sugar control.
Because of the promise shown by ashwagandha in clinical trials, there are more plans so that we can obtain a better idea of ashwagandha full scope of long-term benefits.
First of all, let us define the basics of ashwagandha. It is known scientifically as Withania somnifera, and belongs to a family of plants known as adaptogens. This class of plants are often ground into powders, tinctures and teas because of their valued health benefits.
More colloquially, ashwagandha is also referred to as Indian ginseng or winter cherry. This comes primarily from the fact that the berries that spring from the roots of the urban area have long been used in Ayurvedic medical practices.
The 7 Top Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Although ashwagandha has been studied to a pretty good extent thus far, there’s still a wealth of information to be gleaned from this ancient medicinal herb. Today, there’s little question that it is effective against a swath of medical conditions. In the rest of this article, will tackle seven of the top health benefits of ashwagandha.
1. Ashwagandha Confers Benefits to Fat Loss and Blood Sugar
There has been a handful of medical research studies showing that ashwagandha aid in the reduction of blood glucose levels – which is particularly effective for diabetics. Additionally, the medicinal herb also reduces the concentration of triglycerides in the blood; it does the latter so effectively that it is comparable to presently-available Type 2 diabetes medications.
2. Ashwagandha and Heart Health
There have been studies involving athletic adults that were engaging in exercise regularly. The results are very promising: a couple of the studies proved that ashwagandha improves the amount of oxygen available to you during strenuous physical exercise. Specifically, the herb can increase the maximum levels of VO2, which is used to gauge cardiorespiratory stamina. Basically, it’s a measurement of the efficacy of your heart and lungs in shuttling oxygen to your muscles during sustained physical exertion.
Although these results are indeed promising, they need to be further study involving a more diverse range of participants – including those who may not be in such good health when given ashwagandha in the trial.
3. Ashwagandha Provides Relief from Anxiety/Stress
Out of all the studies performed on ashwagandha, the thing for which it is most well-known is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, the medical research trials show that this ability is quite dramatic.
Another study displayed ashwagandha’s ability to improve the quality of your sleep – in fact, it has a starting ability to reduce chronic sleeplessness. The participants were given ashwagandha, and another set of participants were given a placebo; the ones who took ashwagandha enjoyed markedly better sleep quality.
4. Ashwagandha is a Non-Stimulant That Elevates Focus and Improves Memory
There have been a number of studies on the cognition effects that ashwagandha may have. One in particular showed that the herb can lengthen the attention spans of the various participants in the research study. In fact, it went beyond this: they found that both general and immediate memory showed improvement when tested multiple times.
Furthermore, ashwagandha improves the brain-body connection; study participants were able to use memory and cognition to perform motor functions. Some of the improvements came in the form of shortened reaction times in physical activities after instruction was given. A battery of psychomotor tests also displayed the same improvements.
5. Sexual Function Attributes: Ashwagandha on Men
As one of the most promising attributes of ashwagandha, a study was done which strongly suggests that it may aid the reproductive success of men. Specifically, men with extremely low-to-no fertility levels were given a test trial of ashwagandha; by positively affecting their hormone levels, their sperm quality improved dramatically. In fact, after the conclusion of one of the studies, 14% of the male participants were able to impregnate her female partner – prior to the study, they had effectively been shooting blanks.
Not only does ashwagandha elevate fertility – it also apparently boosts male testosterone levels. The particular study from which these results were derived was actually stress-related; both male and female participants were included. Ashwagandha did not increase testosterone levels in the female participants, however.
6. Sexual Function Attributes: Ashwagandha on Women
There have been a few clinical studies involving ashwagandha and women with a spectrum of sexual issues. Specifically, the ashwagandha was able to induce dramatic improvements in the study participants ability to enact lubrication, arousal, orgasm and overall sexual satisfaction after taking some of the herb. There is a note of caution, however: these improvements were self-reported by the woman in the clinical study.
7. Improvements to Strength and Muscle Mass
Lastly, we arrive at one of the health benefits that has launched ashwagandha supplements onto the shelves of nutrition stores everywhere. There are numerous studies which show that ashwagandha undoubtedly improves both muscle size and overall strength; indeed, there’s even a particular study showing it can improve speed and reduce your body fat percentage. When you combine these with ashwagandhas ability to keep your cholesterol levels down as well, there’s very little question that it stands poised to take over the supplement industry in the years to come.
One study involved only men; they were separated into two groups – one of which was given a placebo, and the other a dose of ashwagandha. The latter group showed significant strength and mass gains in the pectoral region in the quadriceps after an eight week study in which they hit the gym regularly. It turns out that ancient medicines also help with post workout recovery.