Ashwagandha is one product that is gaining popularity owing to its health benefits. Several studies have shown that including Ashwagandha as a dietary supplement may prove to be extremely helpful for both men and women. Let’s start with understanding what is Ashwagandha before we move to the top 7 health benefits of Ashwagandha.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a natural herb that comes from India, Middle East and some parts of Africa. It has been extensively used as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda, an alternative medical system with its roots going to Ancient India. It is a dietary supplement which can be included in diets for both men and women. Although it is commonly used to relieve stress, there is little evidence for its use as an Adaptogen.
Ashwagandha has compunds that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system. Besides reducing stress, Ashwagandha plant is also commonly used for insomnia and anxiety.
The top 7 health benefits of Ashwagandha:
1. Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are on the rise in all age groups in today’s world, but more so among young adults. Ashwagandha has proven to have stress relieving properties. Several published studies have shown that Ashwagandha can benefit sleep quality, helps in calming brain activity, and regulates blood pressure thereby reducing stress levels and having a calm mind.
2. Lowers Blood Sugar And Body Fat
Some studies have found that Ashwagandha helps in lowering the blood sugar levels in our body. This eventually helps in reducing body fat and thereby helps in maintaining not only a healthy body but a healthy mind as well. More can be found here how Ashwagandha helps in managing sugar levels in the body for patients of diabetes.
3. Increases Muscle Growth
Researchers continue to show interest in ashwagandha’s efficiency in improving strength and muscle size. One such study found participants experienced increased speed and strength. Another study observed an increase in muscle power, alongside a lower body fat percentage and reduced cholesterol levels when ashwagandha was added as a dietary supplement. Some participants also experienced better sleep, but this study did not compare ashwagandha consumption against a placebo.
4. Improves Sexual Function In Women
A clinical study published in 2015 found that ashwagandha may benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction. In the study, it was observed that the administration of ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction, as self-reported by the participants. It also significantly improved the number of successful sexual encounters and improved metrics of distress around their sex lives and sexuality. More can be read about the study here.
5. Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men
Ashwagandha may help in boosting testosterone resulting in improved fertility in men. A systematic review on benefits of ashwagandha found that administering ashwagandha to infertile men has shown to improve sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels.
6. Sharpens Focus And Memory
Ashwagandha has proven to be helpful in improving attention spans, memory, and the ability to perform motor responses after instructions. Several studies have found that, compared to a placebo, ashwagandha significantly improved participants’ reaction times during cognition and psychomotor tests (which measure the ability to respond to instructions and perform an indicated action).
7. Supports Heart Health
Many studies have found that Ashwagandha supports heart health. In these studies, it was observed that Ashwagandha can increase VO2 max levels, which is a measure of maximum amount of oxygen a body can utilize during exercise. These VO2 levels are used in measuring how well the heart and lungs deliver oxygen to muscles during physical activity. Therefore, higher VO2 levels indicate a healthy heart.
While there are no risks or harmful effects associated with Ashwagandha that have been found in studies so far, it is always recommended to talk to your doctor before introducing any new dietary supplement to your diet.
How To Take Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha comes in various forms like gummies, powdered extracts, oils, teas etc. that can be easily combined with any meal during the day or take it as is in the form of a gummy.
It is recommended to introduce ashwagandha in the form of tea since it is a light on the body and teas are generally good for health since it aids in hydration. Another form of consuming ashwagandha would be the powdered form, which you can include in your smoothies or just sprinkle on top of your meals.