Discovering the Power of Ashwagandha

May 15th 2021

Natural + Medicinal: Ashwagandha and Its Benefits

Advancement in the medical sector has forced people to rely more on chemicals rather than natural/organic products. Moreover, the drugs in pharmaceutical products treat diseases and other health disorders; similarly, ayurvedic/ herbal products give treatment through natural ingredients. Ayurveda is a traditional medicine system that uses natural products to treat diseases and keep the body healthy. Ayurvedic or herbal products use natural extract and medicinal herb plants like ashwagandha, cumin, etc., to treat disease or restore health.


What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is a shrub whose roots, leaves, seeds and fruits are used to treat several health conditions. Ashwagandha's health benefits include a variety of positive effects on the body, including improving overall well-being. It is often used as a natural energy supplement to reduce stress hormones called cortisol, depression, cholesterol, control blood sugar level, insomnia, boost immunity, muscle strength and many more.


Ashwagandha Benefits

  1. Stress/Anxiety management

Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen, which means it aids the body's adaptation to stressful situations by reducing inflammation and infection while also modulating adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters. Salve et. al., 2019 conducted a study and the results of this study indicate that taking aqueous Ashwagandha root extract for eight weeks reduced stress levels and improved overall quality of life in people.

As a result, using this herb as a supplement to help with stress and anxiety may be a great alternative.

  1. Body weight management

Obesity is also linked to chronic stress, and is linked to a variety of diseases and conditions. By treating stress and managing cortisol levels, Ashwagandha can help with weight loss. Continuous use of the herb increased perceived stress scores and had a beneficial effect on serum cortisol, body mass index (BMI), and body weight, according to a report.

  1. Improves Memory

Historically, Ashwagandha was classified as a medharasayana– a nootropic herb used in Ayurveda to improve cognition in children with memory problems and to prevent memory loss in the elderly. Ashwagandha has been shown to improve brain function, reaction times, memory, concentration, and task efficiency.
Ashwagandha has also been shown to help with the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms (Jahanbakhsh et. al. 2016). In people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), ashwagandha is also very good at lowering response times and improving attention spans (Singhal at. Al, 2010).

A research was conducted in 50 adults with mild cognitive impairment, a common precursor to Alzheimer's disease, who were given 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract twice daily for 8 weeks. Its common use to improve memory has been confirmed by research (Dnyanraj et. al., 2019).

  1. Male sexual wellness

The magical herb Ashwagandha is revered as an aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine and is used to treat sexual dysfunction and infertility in men. One of the most important benefits of Ashwagandha, according to Ayurvedic theory, is its ability to stimulate and control testosterone production in the body. It is important for men's health to maintain stable testosterone levels.

Ashwagandha helps to restore a balanced sexual life in two ways. It aids in the production of testosterone, then increases luteinizing hormone and testosterone serum concentrations, restoring men's natural sex hormone balance. Second, since ashwagandha reduces stress by inhibiting cortisol development, it aids in the postponement of natural testosterone decline.

In a 2013 survey, 46 men with oligospermia, a disorder characterised by a low sperm count, took part. KSM-66 Ashwagandha supplementation increased testosterone by 17 percent, semen volume by 53%, sperm concentration by 167 percent, lutenizing hormone by 34%, and sperm motility by 57%. (Ambiye V., et. al. 2013).

  1. Improves Sleep Quality

Sleep is important for a person's health, and good sleep helps us function better mentally and physically. Because of its sleep-inducing properties, Ashwagandha has been recommended for centuries.

A ten-week supplementation of Ashwagandha root extract resulted in improved sleep quality, sleep performance, and decreased anxiety in sleep-deprived subjects, according to a prospective, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (Langade, 2019).

  1. Improves immunity

Ashwagandha is one of the powerful herbs that can help improve immunity, according to traditional usage and modern evidence. By enhancing cell-mediated immunity, Ashwagandha strengthens the body's protection against disease.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) substantially increased the CD4 and CD8 count in sputum smear-positive pulmonary Tuberculosis, suggesting its ability to improve immunity and phagocytic activity, according to a report (Kumar et. al. 2018).

Supplements are essential to stay fit and improve our health, but an overdose of any medicinal content can cause severe harm to the body. Besides being transient, herbal side effects typically occur after much larger doses. Ashwagandha is a natural dietary supplement with medicinal properties; it is not mixed chemically with any other drugs.

References:

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Ambiye, Vijay R., et al. "Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: a Pilot Study." Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, vol. 2013, 2013, p. 571420.

https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24371462/Clinical_Evaluation_of_the_Spermatogenic_Activity_of_the_Root_Extract_of_Ashwagandha__Withania_somnifera__in_Oligospermic_Males:_A_Pilot_Study_

Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):96-106 Epub 2016 Apr 6. PMID: 27055824; PMCID: PMC5871210.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27055824/

Dnyanraj C., Sauvik B., & Bose S.(2017) Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions, Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14:6, 599-612,

https://doi.org/10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970

Jahanbakhsh SP, Manteghi AA, Emami SA, Mahyari S, Gholampour B, Mohammadpour AH, Sahebkar A. Evaluation of the efficacy of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) root extract in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2016 Aug;27:25-9.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27515872/

Kumar R., Rai J., Kajal N.C., & Devi P. (2018). Comparative study of effect of Withania somnifera as an adjuvant to DOTS in patients of newly diagnosed sputum smear positive pulmonary tuberculosis. Indian Journal of Tuberculosis. Volume 65, Issue 3, July 2018, Pages 246-251.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijtb.2017.05.005

Langade D, Kanchi S, Salve J, et al. (September 28, 2019) Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus 11(9): e5797.

https://www.cureus.com/articles/22928-efficacy-and-safety-of-ashwagandha-withania-somnifera-root-extract-in-insomnia-and-anxiety-a-double-blind-randomized-placebo-controlled-study

Salve, J., Pate, S., Debnath, K., & Langade, D. (2019). Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus, 11(12), e6466.

https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.6466.

Singhal, H. K., Neetu, Kumar, A., & Rai, M. (2010). Ayurvedic approach for improving reaction time of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affected children. Ayu, 31(3), 338–342.

https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-8520.77169