Ashwagandha Benefits: Stress, Anxiety and More

Ashwagandha has been gaining popularity for the variety of benefits it has for health and wellness. Native to India and North Africa, ashwagandha is a small shrub with yellow flowers. Extracts and powders can be made from the plant’s root or leaves which has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions for over 3,000 years in Ayurveda, an ancient form of Indian medicine. 1, 2

Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen, a substance that can increase resistance to stress through stabilization of physiological processes and homeostasis.2,3 This means that the native herb can help the body to biologically manage stress better.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress is caused by external physical and psychological factors. Adaptogens help the body normalize the biological process associated with stress and have an increased ability to adapt to changes. 4

The group taking ashwagandha saw a 44% decrease in stress levels.

Research has shown that ashwagandha can block stress pathways by regulating communication between the nervous system and the brain.5 One study by Ixoreal Biomed followed 64 participants over the course of 60 days to understand the level of efficacy ashwagandha has on stress levels. The group taking ashwagandha saw an average decrease in stress levels of 44%. 4

Boost Testosterone and Increase Fertility in Men

Ashwagandha can help to increase testosterone and fertility in men. A pilot study done to examine the effects on fertility in men included participants that were classified as having oligospermia, or a low sperm count. After taking 225 mg of ashwagandha three times per day for 90 days, the study showed:5

  • 167% increase in sperm count
  • 53% increase in semen amount
  • 57% increase in sperm movement

Muscle Growth and Strength

Ashwagandha Helps Muscle Growth

Research has shown that ashwagandha has the potential to increase and improve overall body composition, including increases in strength and reductions in body fat. A study examining the overall tolerability, safety and benefits of the herb showed that after 30 days of taking ashwagandha, participants had significant increased muscle growth.6

In addition, another study found many other significant changes related to strength. Participants were given either ashwagandha or a placebo over a period of eight weeks while all undergoing the same resistance training. The participants that took ashwagandha experienced significant increases in muscle size and testosterone while also having significant decreases in muscle damage and body fat percentage, suggesting ashwagandha may help with weight loss.7

Ashwagandha for Sleep

Ashwagandha for sleep

Another area of health that ashwagandha may help to improve is sleep. Studies have shown that the herb can significantly improve overall sleep quality as well as the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, and the amount of time spent asleep.8,9 In one study, results between healthy subjects and insomnia subjects were compared. Both groups showed notable improvement in all areas of sleep, with the insomnia subjects having an increased improvement in sleep over healthy participants.9

How to Take Ashwagandha

Due to its variety of positive benefits, ashwagandha has gained popularity and is available in many different forms. It can typically be found in tablet, capsule or powdered forms. You will want to look for powder or capsules made from the root of the plant as that is what is normally used in trials.

Traditionally, ashwagandha powder is mixed in with ghee, honey or water and is ingested. However, the powder may have a bitter or earthy flavor and it can be mixed with smoothies, hot beverages or sweet desserts to help cover the taste. Another popular form of taking ashwagandha is to make moon milk. Moon milk is commonly used as a natural sleep aid and ideally should be drank before bed time.10

Ashwagandha Dosing

Depending on the area of health you would like to improve, the dosing for ashwagandha can vary to maximize benefits. It’s important to note that it must be taken daily to experience the benefits of this powerful herb. The most popular dosages tend to range from 500-600 mg per day, taking 250-300 mg twice per day. If you’re looking to improve a certain area of health, note the below dosages.11

  • To reduce stress and anxiety, take 500-600 mg daily
  • To improve testosterone and fertility, take 5 grams (5,000 mg) daily for 3 months
  • To improve muscle growth and strength, take between 600-1,250 mg daily
  • For sleep, take a dosage of 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily

 

1Healthline 

2 WebMD

3 Wikipedia

4NCBI 

5NCBI 

6Pubmed

7NCBI 

8 Cureus 

9 Science Direct 

10Masterclass

11Healthline 

 


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