Ashwagandha: The Indian Adaptogen Herb For Reducing Stress & Anxiety

Ashwagandha: The Indian Adaptogen Herb For Reducing Stress & Anxiety

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), with its centuries-old history in Ayurvedic medicine, continues to astound researchers with its multifaceted health benefits.

Known as “Winter Cherry” and “Indian Ginseng” due to its potent adaptogen properties, Ashwagandha is a small shrub native to the dry regions of India.

This adaptogenic herb has been cherished for thousands of years in Ayurveda – the ancient Indian healing system.

From relieving stress and improving sleep to boosting immunity and enhancing cognitive function, Ashwagandha has become one of the most popular adaptogenic tonic herbs in the wellness community.

In this blog article, we will explore the latest science and various health benefits of Ashwagandha, shining a spotlight on the power of this extraordinary herb.

1. Reduce Stress & Anxiety

Ashwagandha Reduces Stress and Anxiety Research

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become seemingly unavoidable companions.

Luckily, Ashwagandha has been shown to alleviate these common mental health issues.

Ashwagandha is considered to be one of the top premier adaptogen herbs in herbal medicine.

Adaptogens are plant substances, which increase the body’s resistance to stress and have a non-specific normalizing effect on body physiology, helping to maintain optimal homeostasis.

One of the primary mechanism’s of adaptogens is their ability to modulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and support the function of the adrenal glands.

The herb’s ability to regulate cortisol, the stress hormone, helps lower anxiety levels, promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation.

Numerous studies have also confirmed that Ashwagandha possesses GABA-mimetic activity.

All of these mechanisms make Ashwagandha, a great choice of herb for reducing stress and anxiety.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials published 2022 investigated the effect of Ashwagandha extract on anxiety and stress.

The systematic review and meta-analysis concluded:

The current systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of RCTs revealed a beneficial effect in both stress and anxiety following Ashwagandha supplementation.[1]

2. Ashwagandha Improves Sleep Quality

Ashwagandha Improves Sleep Quality

Whether you suffer from insomnia or simply face difficulties falling asleep, Ashwagandha may be just what you need.

Unlike conventional sleep aids, Ashwagandha targets the root causes of sleep deprivation, such as stress and anxiety, without causing harmful side effects.

Its adaptogenic properties help regulate cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress and sleep disruption.

Ashwagandha also acts on neurotransmitters, such as GABA, due to its GABA-mimetic properties.

By providing a sense of calm and mild sedation, Ashwagandha can help you drift off to sleep more easily.

A systematic review and meta-analysis published 2021 investigated the effect of Ashwagandha extract on sleep.

The systematic review and meta-analysis concluded:

Ashwagandha extract appears to has a beneficial effect in improving sleep in adults.[2]

3. Ashwagandha May Improve Physical Performance In Men & Women

Ashwagandha May Improve Physical Performance In Men & Women

Traditionally Ashwagandha has a long history of being used medicinally as an adaptogen for improving strength, energy and overall vitality.

Ashwagandha holds remarkable adaptogenic properties that strengthen the body’s resilience to stress and fatigue.

By tackling physiological challenges, adaptogens such as Ashwagandha enable the body to sustain peak performance for longer periods.

Athletes who regularly incorporate Ashwagandha into their regimen report enhanced endurance and increased stamina, accelerating their overall physical capabilities.

A systematic review and Bayesian meta-analysis published 2021 evaluated the clinical trials regarding the effect of Ashwagandha supplementation on physical performance in healthy individuals.

The systematic review and Bayesian meta-analysis concluded:

The findings of this comprehensive systematic review and Bayesian meta-analysis revealed that Ashwagandha supplementation was more efficacious than placebo for improving variables related to strength/power, cardiorespiratory fitness and fatigue/recovery in healthy men and female.

In fact, the probability of at least a small effect size on physical performance favoring subjects supplemented with Ashwagandha is very high (>95%).

However, more comparable studies in exercisers/athletes are needed to derive a more stable estimate of the true underlying effect of the consumption of this aqueous herbal extract in trained individuals.[3]

4. Ashwagandha May Increase Testosterone Levels

Ashwagandha May Increase Testosterone Levels

Several studies have indicated that Ashwagandha has the potential to boost testosterone and other hormones such as DHEA naturally.

Adaptogens such as Ashwagandha influence the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which regulates testosterone production, leading to an increase in its release.

A randomized controlled trial published 2022 aimed to evaluate the effect of Ashwagandha root extract on improving sexual health in adult males.

The study found:

Ashwagandha was also associated with a statistically significant increase in serum testosterone levels. (−66.52; −80.70 to −52.34; p < 0.0001; t‐test)

These findings suggest that Ashwagandha demonstrated a significant subjective perception of sexual well‐being and assisted in increasing serum testosterone levels in the participants.[4]

Another study published 2019 also found:

In conclusion, the intake of a standardized Ashwagandha extract (Shoden beads) for 8 weeks was associated with increased levels of DHEA-S and testosterone.[5]

Recommended Product:

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[1] Does Ashwagandha supplementation have a beneficial effect on the management of anxiety and stress? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

[2] Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis

[3] Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on Physical Performance: Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis

[4] Effect of standardized root extract of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on well‐being and sexual performance in adult males: A randomized controlled trial

[5] A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes including supplements and herbs.


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