5 Amazing Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvidic healing since ancient times as a rejuvenating medicine to promote longevity and mental wellbeing. Ashwagandha is traditionally used to support the immune system, reduce stress, increase energy, increase cognitive ability and increase fertility.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a herbal extract produced from the roots and leaves of Withania Somnifera, also known as Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry. The highest quality extract is produced almost exclusively from the roots, which contain the highest levels of withanolides; a beneficial natural compound linked to cancer prevention in laboratory tests. Ashwagandha also contains sitoindosides and alkaloids that protect cells from oxidative damage and disease.
In Ayurvedic medicine Ashwagandha is held in high esteem for its extensive revitalising effects on the neurological, immune and endocrinal systems. Studies of Ashwagandha root have revealed some exciting discoveries into its beneficial effects on the human body.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens are natural substances that regulate cortisol, the hormone responsible for controlling the body’s stress response. While cortisol plays a vital role in the body, regularly elevated levels can lead to health conditions such as anxiety and depression, fatigue, increased blood pressure, headaches, suppressed immunity and insomnia.
In clinical studies Ashwagandha root extract has been found to possess antidepressant properties, reducing cortisol levels, irritability and anxiety and improving the body’s resilience to stress. Subjects consuming 300 mg doses of Aashwagandha twice a day for 60 days had 28% lower levels of cortisol than subjects taking a placebo.
Ashwagandha is believed to modulate immune responses by increasing the production of antibodies and increasing counts of white blood cells, platelets and stem cells in the bone marrow. Studies conducted on animals with suppressed immune systems discovered that Ashwagandha may help to prevent bone marrow suppression, or myelosuppression; a condition that occurs as a side effect of some cancer treatments. Ashwagandha was found to reverse neutropenia in mice, a condition that occurs when neutrophils, a type of white blood cell responsible for controlling bacterial infections, are decreased.
The research indicates intriguing potential for development as a treatment to support patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Ashwagandha’s ability to reduce stress and improve sleep quality has also been linked to increased energy and stamina. In 2012, an eight-week study conducted on cyclists supplemented with Ashwagandha, reported significant enhancements in both cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. Research has also shown that Ashwagandha may also increase muscle strength.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha root extract has been used to increase mental capacity for over 3,000 years. Ashwagandha has powerful antioxidant properties that protect the brain and nervous system from oxidative stress. Ashwagandha has also been found to enhance cognition, improve memory and support normal brain function.
Ashwagandha has been linked to increased fertility and sexual function in both men and women. It is thought that Ashwagandha’s ability to regulate hormones, reduce psychological and physical stress and enhance mood could be responsible for stimulating fertility.
In men, Ashwagandha can increase healthy semen production and increase testosterone levels. In women, Ashwagandha helps boost libido and is used to help increase the chances of conceiving by reducing stress.
How To Take Ashwagandha Extract
Ashwagandha root extract can be sourced as capsules. The recommended dosage is one 300mg capsule to be taken twice daily.
How To Choose Quality Ashwagandha Extract
It is important to ensure the extract is from the root and not the leaf, as the leaves contain high levels of Withaferin A; a cytotoxic substance. While Withaferin A is a strong candidate for anti-cancer treatments, further studies are required to determine safe levels.
At Hellenia, we supply KSM-66 ® Ashwagandha Capsules; a superior quality extract derived only from the roots of organic Ashwagandha, with no alcohol or chemical solvents used in the extraction process.
With 15 studies already substantiating the powerful rejuvenating effects of this ancient restorative herb, and a further eight in progress, science is only just beginning to confirm the exciting potential of Ashwagandha for the body and mind.