What is Ashwagandha Root?
Ashwagandha is an ancient ayurvedic medicine which has been used for hundreds of years in India as well as other parts of Asia.
In fact, it has actually been called “the king of ayurvedic herbs” and it was traditionally said to give its recipient the power and virility of a horse.
While that may not be exactly true, modern science is beginning to catch on to just how powerful this ancient herb actually is.
What are the Top Health Benefits of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha provides a myriad of health benefits that are now backed up by science. Let’s take a quick look at the most well documented benefits which have focused on actual human case studies.
1. Decreases Cortisol, Stress and Anxiety
Cortisol and stress are intricately linked and you most likely have even heard that cortisol is the “stress hormone” so it is no surprise that lowering one, would likely natively lower the other.
Ashwagandha has been shown in several human case studies now to be highly effective at lowering cortisol and stress. (1,2,3,4)
Some of the negative effects of high cortisol levels and stress include:
- Low sex drive
- Memory and concentration problems
- Compulsive behavior
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
And that is really just scratching the surface. I do not know of a single adult who does not have stress in their life no matter how good they have it, so this alone may be a great reason to give Ashwagandha a try for yourself.
2. Improves Sleep
As we just pointed out, Ashwagandha helps lower cortisol and stress so it would follow that it may also help improve sleep.
Of course we need to see that backed up with human case studies otherwise it is just drawing logical conclusions which may be beneficial to do but not entirely 100% accurate.
As it turns out, 3 different human case studies show a direct correlation between supplementation and improved sleep. (3,5,6)
Of course quality sleep is linked to lower levels of stress, better brain function, improved hormone health and much more so the next logical conclusion one can draw is that there are many more benefits this powerful herb may provide.
3. Increases Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Ashwagandha has been shown to increase luteinizing hormone in humans. (7,8,9)
You may not be too familiar with this hormone but it is crucial to your health. It is produced by the gonadotropic cells in the anterior pituitary gland and in women it stimulates the ovaries to produce oestradiol which is the strongest of the three naturally produced oestrogens (estrogen).
In men, luteinizing hormone stimulates Leydig cell (testicular) production of testosterone.
4. Increases Testosterone
Multiple case studies have now shown ashwagandha to increase testosterone in men by around 18% on average. (10, 11, 12)
One such 8 week study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports nutrition with men between 18 and 50 years old saw an average increase by 18.7%.
You can read our full article on ashwagandha and testosterone here.
5. Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
Two different human based case studies have shown an improvement in muscle mans and/or strength. (10, 13)
Again this is not really a surprise given that it also seems to increase testosterone levels which has a direct correlation to strength and size.
It is also good to note that a measurable difference in fat loss was also recorded in both studies so if you are looking to get or maintain a healthier waistline this may be a great supplement to try.
6. Increases Endurance
In two different 8 week studies, one on healthy but regular people and another on elite cyclists, just 500 mg of daily ashwagandha supplementation was shown to greatly increase endurance and V02 Max. (14, 15)
It’s important to note that in one of these studies a control group (placebo) was also used and the subjects receiving the placebo saw no improvement in their cardiorespiratory endurance. This means that it wasn’t just a “placebo effect” but the ashwagandha actually making the difference.
7. Improves Brain Function
The jury is still out on just how much ashwagandha may improve brain function and in some studies the effects seem to be limited to improving it in those with very high stress levels or some kind of cognitive impairment.
However, it has been shown in some cases to help in several facets including:
- Memory (6, 16, 17)
- Attention (16, 17)
- Motor Control (19)
- Cognition (19)
- Alertness (19)
We Included 500 MG of KSM-66 Ashwagandha in our natural testosterone booster – Force X7
- A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. – Link
- Adjunctive Use of a Standardized Extract of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to Treat Symptom Exacerbation in Schizophrenia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Chengappa KNR, Brar JS, Gannon JM, Schlicht PJ. – Link
- A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Biswajit Auddy, PhD; Jayaram Hazra, PhD; Achintya Mitra, MD; Bruce Abedon, PhD; Shibnath Ghosal, PhD – Link
- Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. – Link
- Effect of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on the development of chemotherapy-induced fatigue and quality of life in breast cancer patients. Biswal BM, Sulaiman SA, Ismail HC, Zakaria H, Musa KI. – Link
- A Randomized Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study of Ashwagandha on Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Sud Khyati S. Thaker Anup B. – Link
- Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Ahmad MK, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Islam N, Rajender S, Madhukar D, Shankhwar SN, Ahmad S. Link
- Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility. Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, Rajender S, Shankhwar SN, Singh V, Dalela D. – Link
- Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Ambiye VR, Langade D, Dongre S, Aptikar P, Kulkarni M, Dongre A. – Link
- Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. – Link
- Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Vijay R. Ambiye, Deepak Langade, Swati Dongre, Pradnya Aptikar, Madhura Kulkarni, Atul Madhusudan Dongre – Link
- Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Ahmad MK, Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Islam N, Rajender S, Madhukar D, Shankhwar SN, Ahmad S. – Link
- Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Raut AA, Rege NN, Tadvi FM, Solanki PV, Kene KR, Shirolkar SG, Pandey SN, Vaidya RA, Vaidya AB. – Link
- Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Biren Shah, Shweta Shenoy, Suresh Chauhan, G. S. Lavekar, and M. M. Padhi – Link
- Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists Shweta Shenoy, Udesh Chaskar, Jaspal S. Sandhu, and Madan Mohan Paadhi1 – Link
- Randomized placebo-controlled adjunctive study of an extract of withania somnifera for cognitive dysfunction in bipolar disorder. Chengappa KN, Bowie CR, Schlicht PJ, Fleet D, Brar JS, Jindal R. – Link
- Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Bose S. – Link
- Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants.
Pingali U, Pilli R, Fatima N. – Link