The Benefits of Ashwagandha – Dr. Eric Berg DC
9 Reasons to Include Ashwagandha in Your Health Regimen
MERCOLA – Articles by Dr. Mercola
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Known as Rasayana in Ayurveda, ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that enhances your body’s ability to withstand stress and is considered to be a rejuvenator.1 According to Ayurveda, ashwagandha is also known as:2
Balya — increases strength
Brusya — Sexual performance enhancer
Vajikari — Spermatogenic
Kamarupini — Libido enhancing
Pustida — Nourishing
Also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, ashwagandha contains compounds known as withanolides, which have not only antioxidant and anti-stress activities but also enhance immunity, protect the heart and offer neuroprotective, hypoglycemic and anti-tumor effects.3 Its name comes from the Sanskrit word “ashwa,” or horse, because its root smells like horse urine and gives you the power of a horse when consumed.4
Nine Reasons to Consume Ashwagandha
In addition to withanolides, ashwagandha contains phenolic acids, alkaloids, saponins and tanins, which offer a wide variety of pharmacological activities. Together, ashwagandha and its bioactive compounds may benefit diseases such as arthritis, impotence, amnesia, anxiety and more. Ayurvedic doctor Dixa Bhavsar explained on social media:5,6
“This miracle herb has taken the medical world by storm (especially during #covid). And for good reason. Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) is immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, sleep inducing, anticonvulsant, anti-stress, and antibacterial properties, this herb is like the one-stop shop for all ailments.”
Why else might you want to consider ashwagandha?
1. Relieve Stress and Anxiety — In a study of 125 adults who took ashwagandha or placebo daily for 90 days, those who took ashwagandha had lower serum cortisol levels — a measure of stress — and higher scores on a happiness questionnaire, “suggesting significantly lower stress levels and significantly better psychological well-being and sleep quality.”7
Another study involving 64 individuals who had a history of chronic stress evaluated the effectiveness of a full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root to help reduce stress and anxiety. Those in the study group took 300 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha root twice a day for 60 days.
Analysis of the data revealed a significant reduction in stress assessment at the end of 60 days when compared to the placebo group. People taking ashwagandha also had substantially lower serum cortisol levels.8 According to the study, which was published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine:9
“The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”
2. Improve Cognitive Function — Ashwagandha has notable benefits for brain health, such that taking ashwagandha for 90 days improved memory and focus in cognitively sound adults between the ages of 20 and 55.10
In another study of adults with mild cognitive impairment, eight weeks of ashwagandha supplementation twice daily led to significantly greater improvements in immediate and general memory, executive function, sustained attention and information-processing speed compared to placebo.11
The herb was also found to improve aspects of cognition, including verbal working memory, response time and social cognition response in people with bipolar disorder.12
3. Better Sleep — If you’re looking for a sound night’s rest, sleep hygiene should be your go-to response, tending to things like eliminating light in your bedroom, turning off electronics well before bedtime and going to bed and waking at approximately the same time each day. However, ashwagandha may be provide a natural complement to these strategies.