Ashwagandha is a popular herbal supplement that has been used for thousands of years for its reported health benefits. The herb has traditionally been used to treat mental stress, prevent diseases, increase libido, and contribute to general well-being (1).
Many studies have been conducted to try to prove its benefits, so we’ve collected all of the significant research on ashwagandha to give you a complete user guide.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb, initially used for its natural healing abilities. It is now classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps your body and brain adapt to stress. The Ashwagandha plant is native to India, the Middle East, and Northern Africa and it has been used by people for the last 3,000 years to make medicine.
The ashwagandha plant (Withania somnifera) is commonly known as Indian ginseng and winter cherry. The roots of this herb have been used for thousands of years, and its extracts are still used in modern ashwagandha products (2).
The Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Studies have shown Ashwagandha’s benefits to go above and beyond those commonly associated with adaptogens. The high levels of withanolides within Ashwagandha are suggested to hold the benefits associated with this herb, specifically its anti-inflammatory properties (3).
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
When we are stressed, our bodies respond by releasing cortisol. High cortisol levels are associated with increased fat storage, poor sleep quality, muscle wastage, suppressed immune system, anxiety, and mood swings. Studies have shown Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels (4). Therefore ashwagandha helps you deal with stress and embrace a greater sense of well-being, and enables your energy levels and overall health to flourish.
Ashwagandha Testosterone Support
Ashwagandha has been shown to have positive effects on testosterone and reproductive health in men (5). Another study showed a 10% –22% increase in testosterone levels, after supplementing ashwagandha for 3 months (6). Healthy testosterone levels have multiple health benefits, from greater focus, strength, and bone density.
Increases Muscle Mass & Athletic Performance
When used in conjunction with resistance training, ashwagandha also promotes muscle growth and exercise recovery (7). One study of participants taking 500mg of ashwagandha found an increase in strength and VO2 Max (8). Another study also found a significant increase in strength in muscle activity (9).
Improved Brain Function
Research has shown that taking ashwagandha has helped to improve cognitive functions and memory. One study found that participants taking 300mg of ashwagandha root extract demonstrated improved attention, information-processing speed, and general memory (10).
Another study showed that supplementing ashwagandha improved cognitive performance, demonstrating that it may be also valuable for treating cognitive impairment-related diseases (11).
A study on using ashwagandha to improve sexual functions in women found that it could be useful in treating female sexual function affected by psychological factors (12). A separate study on male sexual dysfunction found that ashwagandha doses over 90 days significantly increased sperm count (13).
Research on how ashwagandha affects the immune system found that the herb may cause a major increase in immune cell activation (14). Another study found that ashwagandha extracts significantly improved the immune profile of healthy adults (15).
Ashwagandha may also be able to improve sleep. Several studies have concluded that ashwagandha has sleep-inducing effects, and can even improve sleep quality for people with insomnia (16). This may be due to its adaptogenic and stress-relieving quality.
Ashwagandha Benefits For Men
As you can see from the benefits discussed above, ashwagandha can support your health in multiple ways. The positive effects of ashwagandha seem to be especially beneficial for men. As men age it becomes harder to attain and grow muscle, testosterone levels decline and libido can dip. However, studies on males participants have shown that ashwagandha may;
- Support healthy testosterone levels
- Promote muscle development
- Boost libido
Therefore, ashwagandha can support male health, and combat the decline of muscle mass, testosterone and libido.
Ashwagandha Side Effects
There have been mild side effects experienced by some participants in studies, with the most commonly reported side effects being nausea, headache, stomach irritation, and drowsiness (19).
The Recommended Dosage
Most studies have shown that an effective daily dose of Ashwagandha is around 500mg. Ashwagandha can be taken on an empty stomach, but you can consume it alongside a small snack to avoid discomfort. A study to explore the safety of different doses of ashwagandha at 250mg per day, 750mg per day, and 1000 mg per day was tolerated well at high doses (20).
Buying Organic Ashwagandha Capsules Online UK
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