Ashwagandha has been known to traditional healers for centuries. Today, it is earning praise in the West for its ability to reduce stress among other things.
While some dispute whether ashwagandha is a genuine “adaptogen” there is nonetheless compelling evidence that it is capable of providing numerous health benefits.
Below our team of experts will take a close look at the benefits of ashwagandha supplements.
9 Benefits Of Ashwagandha
The potential benefits of ashwagandha are many and include:
1: Ashwagandha can help improve blood sugar levels.
There have been several studies that show that Ashwagandha can lower blood sugar levels for those who have both relatively normal levels and diabetes. One study showed that Ashwagandha increased insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in muscles (1).
Another small study from the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology suggests that participants with type 2 diabetes showed a vast improvement in their fasting blood sugar levels over 30 days. However there was no control group present during testing (2).
2: Ashwagandha may reduce cancer cell growth.
While there is minimal testing on humans and a lack of clinical trials available, tests on animals suggest that ashwagandha may be able to impede the growth of cancer cells and help induce apoptosis (3).
Related animal tests show that Ashwagandha may be able to treat a variety of cancers, including lung, brain, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers (4).
A 2014 study completed by PLOS ONE showed that mice with tumors on their ovaries were treated with withaferin, either alone or with an anticancer drug, and they showed up to 80% reduction in tumor growth and prevented cancer from spreading (5). While this hasn’t been shown in humans, the research is promising.
3: Ashwagandha can help improve mental wellbeing.
In one study, the participants who took ashwagandha showed a 30% reduction in cortisol levels compared to the control group. Cortisol levels are linked to stress. If they become chronically elevated, it can also negatively impact blood sugar levels and increase body fat storage (6).
In one study of 64 participants, over 60 days, showed an almost 70% reduction in anxiety and insomnia in those taking ashwagandha versus the control group, who only showed 11% (7). In another study, almost 90% of participants reported reduced anxiety, whereas those who took the placebo showed 50% of participants felt a reduction in anxiety (8).
4: Ashwagandha may be able to reduce the effects of depression.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t been thoroughly studied. One participant who was studied for the effects on anxiety reported a reduction in depression as well, but they were the only participant with a history of depression, so the results are unclear.
5: Ashwagandha may improve infertility.
There is a strong connection between Ashwagandha and reproductive health, particularly in testosterone levels in men. In a study of 75 men struggling with infertility, Ashwagandha was shown to increase sperm mobility and overall count.
It also showed that participants had a significant testosterone increase and antioxidant levels in the blood. Another study showed that the herb had a positive impact on sperm quality, resulting in 14% of participants’ partners becoming pregnant after three months of treatment (9).
6: Ashwagandha can improve muscle growth and body composition.
Ashwagandha has shown to impact muscle growth, strength, and body composition. In fact, many individuals who have taken the herb show an improvement in strength after 30 days. In one particular study, Ashwagandha was shown to reduce body fat twice as much as the control group (10).
7: Ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation.
It’s been shown that Ashwagandha may help with overall inflammation in the body. The herb has shown to increase natural killer cells activity, which are the cells that fight infection, keeping your body healthy.
Ashwagandha also decreases markers of inflammation, like CRP, or C-reactive protein. This particular marker is linked to heart disease. Taking the supplement can result in up to a 35% reduction in CRP.
8: Ashwagandha can help improve cholesterol levels.
For those looking to lower cholesterol and triglycerides can turn to Ashwagandha for a natural aid.
There have been significant results through animal studies, but the human trials have shown less of an impact, but there are results reported. Studies have shown up to a 17% decrease in LDL cholesterol and an 11% decrease in triglycerides in humans.
9: Ashwagandha helps improve memory and cognitive function.
In a study with rats who suffer from epilepsy, the herb helped to reverse almost off the spatial memory impairment caused by the seizures, which might be linked to less oxidative stress.
One of the big benefits that have been tied to the herb is memory and cognitive improvement, but there aren’t many studies completed to back up the claims. However, the studies that have been performed show a positive increase in clarity and productivity. In an 8-week study of 50 participants, there was a positive increase in memory, performance, and focus (11).
Whether you need help controlling blood sugars, reducing stress or building a healthier, stronger body ashwagandha can probably help. Ashwagandha’s anti-inflammatory properties alone make it a potentially valuable ally in the fight against numerous chronic conditions.