Ashwagandha: Top 13 Health Benefits [Comprehensive Guide]

Ashwagandha is famous for its outstanding healing properties. It has grown in North Africa, the Middle East and India for thousands of years. Some people refer to it as Indian or Ayurveda ginseng due to the similar benefits the two herbs share. You might also be interested to know that it’s latin name is Withania somnifera and you might also hear it called Winter Cherry.

This word is taken from ancient sanskrit for “horse smell” as it not only closely resembles the smell of the horse but imparts the one taking it with extra strength and endurance while helping to rejuvenate overall health.

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Among other things, Ashwagandha increases strength, energy, stamina, relieves chronic stress, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and has anti-tumor properties. Additionally it’s been proven to be quite effective in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and heart disease naturally.

The uses of Ashwagandha have been the subject of many clinical studies and many of the top health benefits are due to the chemical properties of withanolides in the plant. An aqueous extract of roots plus leaves contains healing amounts of withanolides.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these wonderful benefits now.

Reduced Stress and Increased Endurance
Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha helps to reduce stress and anxiety while at the same time it can increase stamina and endurance, making it popular for use by athletes who turn to it as a performance enhancer. As an adaptogen herb, it also prevents stress-induced exhaustion.

The herb’s main function in reducing anxiety and stress is lowering levels of cortisol which is the body’s main stress hormone. While having beneficial effects in the body’s fight-or-flight system, excess levels aren’t good and cause adrenal fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This rasayana herb has been shown to have the ability to lower damaging cortisol levels by almost 30%.

However, clinical studies are needed to prove the clinical efficacy of this herb, especially in cardiovascular endurance and physical performance.

Fights Depression and Mood Swings

Ashwagandha is an antidepressant and is used to treat mood swings. As an adaptogen, it has a powerful mood enhancing effect that works as an antidepressant action. It also enhances the effectiveness of nor-epinephrine, a brain chemical which stabilizes your mood and reduces depression. You won’t find many alternative herbal remedies that serve as a better natural mood stabilizer.

After doing a lot of research, I only take Ashwagandha from Lost Empire Herbs. Click on the image or here to find out why their sourcing and extraction processes are second-to-none! This Is The Only American-Grown Fresh-Root, Biodynamically-Farmed, Spagyrically-Prepared Ashwagandha Tincture in the  World! No One Else Offers this Level of Quality!

Eases Arthritis Pain

Ashwagandha is effective in relieving inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. It prevents disability caused by pain and inflammation.
In a recent randomized placebo-controller double blind study, the herb was found to be efficacious against rheumatoid arthritis. Ayurvedid medicine uses a formulation called Sidh Makardhwaj (SM) as a treatment for the disease as well as knee joint pain and discomfort.

Antioxidant

Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) attenuates antioxidant defense and is used to decrease the action of harmful free radicals as it is a potent antioxidant. It enhances natural antioxidants like catalase superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase.

The importance of antioxidants to fight breakdown of the cells can not be overstated and extracts of this herb go a long way in that battle.

Anti-disease Properties

Ashwagandha has an antidisease property as it induces apoptosis of renal carcinoma and inhibits the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). It reduces the growth of tumors as it has anti-proliferative activity in colon, lungs, breast cells and central nervous system. From prevention to treatment of disease, more and more studies are showing this amazing herb to be a go-to treatment for practitioners of alternative, holistic medicine and Ayurveda.

Boosts Thyroid Function

Ashwagandha is used in the treatment of underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) by stimulating its activity. No wonder it’s so commonly prescribed for thyroid disorders by Ayurvedic doctors.

Enhance Immune Function

Ashwagandha is a herb that increases the amount of platelets and white blood cells in circulation. It enhances immune function against free radicals. In a recent scientific study, a combination of the herb along with Maitake medicinal mushroom extract (referred to as WB365) was found to have an enhancing effect upon the immune system’s ability to fight infection, even when compromised by chronic stress.

Boost Sexual Performance

Ashwagandha improves sexual performance as it enhances sex hormones of both men and women. Further, clinical trials have shown this powerful herb to have wonderful effects in the fight against erectile dysfunction in men versus a placebo. Ashwagandha root extract has even been shown to increase male fertility by increasing sperm count.

The sexual performance benefits are limited to men. For many years Ashwagandha has been known to women as “the herb that will bring you 1,000 husbands” because of its aphrodisiac and libido-enhancing abilities and is even esteemed by many Ayuerveda doctors as one of the top three most important herbs for women.

Are you beginning to understand how important this herb is to your overall health and the rejuvenation of your vitality? Well, we’re really just getting started on the benefits!

Treat Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Ashwagandha improves brain functioning by improving memory deficits, neuronal growth, brain function and lost connections of brain cells. So it is used in the treatment of degenerative brain disorders and memory loss like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It helps prevent physical disability by improving memory and brain function.  It was also found useful in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzeimer’s diseases in a recent clinical trial.

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Anti-Anxiety

Ashwagandha is used to relieve anxiety as it is a potent anti-anxiety and reduces feelings of anxiety. A very small dose of this herb gives a relaxing effect. Reference this study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine which assessed existing reports of human trials using ashwagandha to treat anxiety.

If you specifically want to reduce anxiety by using Ashwagandha, this article is an absolute must-read!

Antibacterial

Ashwagandha has an antibacterial activity and the indigenous medicinal plant also has healing anti-candida yeast properties as well.

blood disorders Treatment

After doing a lot of research, I only take Ashwagandha from Lost Empire Herbs. Click on the image or this link to find out why their sourcing and extraction processes are second-to-none! The Only American-Grown Fresh-Root, Biodynamically-Farmed, Spagyrically-Prepared Ashwagandha Tincture in the  World! No One Else Offers this Level of Quality!

Ashwagandha has diuretic effect and lowers down the cholesterol and blood sugar level in both healthy and diabetic people. Some clinical trials have shown this Indian traditional medicinal plant to be just as effective as oral blood disorders medication.

Heart Health

This herb has a bad-cholesterol-lowering agent and acts as a cardioprotective agent and prevents myocardial infarction injury. Therapeutic doses are very important for anyone suffering from heart disease or anyone who has had a mild or massive heart attack.

Ashwagandha Side Effects

As an adaptogen, Ashwagandha sometimes causes excessive energy as well as sometimes causes mild sedation by enhancing the effect of nor-epinephrine in the brain.

Gastrointestinal disturbance like diarrhea, mild stomach upset and mouth irritation is a common side effect associated with ashwagandha.

If you are taking Ashwagandha supplements please be aware that they can alter the results of a thyroid functioning test.

A great way to prevent negative effects from any herb like Ashwagandha is to combine it with a harmonizer like Shilajit to balance out the effect and amplify it’s effectiveness.

You should talk to your physician before taking ashwagandha with other supplements having sedative properties as it intensifies its effects.

Can Ashwagandha be taken at night to help you sleep?

Yes! In fact that’s when I choose to take it. This plant is so dynamic it offers energizing effects when taken in the morning and better sleep when taken at night. I take a 500mg extract powder capsule every night at bed time and have never had better sleep patterns. I feel like it’s helped me fight insomnia and fall asleep faster because those issues were stress-induced for me. The herbal extract I take is standardized to 4-5% withanolides. (I posted a picture and link to their product above.)

How much ashwagandha should I take daily?

A good starting dose of ashwagandha is a 500mg capsule once or twice per day. Personally, I take one 500mg capsule an hour before bed because I’m most interested in its ability to improve sleep. If you want any of the other additional benefits, take one 500mg capsule of standardized extract powder every twelve hours to maintain steady levels in the blood.

Ashwagandha is considered very safe when taken short-term but there’s no evidence on its safety when taken for extended periods of time. If interested in taking it as a daily tonic herb, do more research on how to do so. I personally recommend cycling off of even the most beneficial herbs from time-to-time. I take several herbs and medicinal mushrooms daily but don’t take any for the first five days of every month. Not only have I found it to help lower my monthly costs for herbal supplements, I’ve also found this cycling method to have benefits in lowering tolerance. Those five days are enough to “reset” my tolerance and I notice a very enjoyable effect on the sixth of every month when I resume my normal dosage.

If you have questions, tips or suggestions about herbal cycling, please leave a comment below as I’m all ears when it comes to this.

Can you take ashwagandha with shatavari together?

Yes! Shatavari and ashwagandha work extremely well together as ashwagandha works so well to heighten stamina and endurance while shatavari has many of the same healing effects on the reproductive system and sexual wellness like sperm count, libido and more. Many bodybuilders claim amazing benefits when “stacking” the two herbal formulas together. To make this even easier some herbal formulas have a very good dosage of both of these in ready-to-take extract powder form saving you the trouble of having to mix them before consumption.

Will I get taller if I take Ashwagandha?

No. While some make bold claims of an increase in height by regularly taking the herb, there is absolutely no evidence that it will make an adult grow taller.


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3 thoughts on “Ashwagandha: Top 13 Health Benefits [Comprehensive Guide]”

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have a question about combining herbs with Synthroid. Specifically Vitex and Motherwort.

    I had a partial thyroidectomy June due to thyroid cancer. I am in hot flash hell. HELL. They are relentless! Also dealing with migraines and having anxiety for the first time, so vitex and motherwort seemed the way to go. I’ve read that they act on the pituitary gland in the same way that Synthroid does. So – I’m unsure if it’s OK to take. The endocrinologist had never heard of either! I could understand him not knowing about motherwort, but vitex? I was surprised. He wants me to take estrogen but from what I understand – often the perimenopausal hot flashes are more of a LH and FSH issue than an estrogen issue. He won’t test levels. I need to find a better doctor but he’s the only one in my area. For now, I’m trying to deal with this on my own.

    I am continuing to look into this myself but between migraines, brain fog, hot flashes, and anxiety I figured I would reach out here for some advice.

    Thanks!
    Sheryl

    I’m also 51 so I’m not sure what is peri menopause and what is possibly Synthroid related.

    • Sheryl,
      No, vitex and motherwort do not act on the pituitary exactly the same as
      Synthroid. I have given vitex and motherwort to quite a few women on
      Synthroid without problems.

      Perimenopause is just a term that is applied to the passage between the
      time of regular menstruation, and the full stop of ovarian cycles, aka
      menopause. However, these are just labels; the experience varies with every
      woman.
      In perimenopause you are still having menstrual cycles, however they are
      probably beginning to get erratic. Vitex stimulates the
      hypothalamic-pituitary axis to encourage the body to continue making the
      reproductive hormones in your own natural pattern, but it will not stop the
      progression into menopause, just smooth out the roller coaster a bit.

      Motherwort is an amazing herb that helps anxiety and reduces hot flashes,
      but should be taken cautiously if you have menstrual flooding. A good
      combination for what you are describing would be vitex, motherwort, white
      peony root, dandelion root, black cohosh root and a small amount of
      licorice root. Also, holy basil might help the brain fog. Hot flashes will
      be worse with sugar intake, caffeine, hot environments, anger, stress, so
      the big lesson is self-care. In menopause we shift from the
      self-sacrificing mode of mothering to the self-care mode of wise living 😉

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