Ashwagandha Root

Ashwagandha Root

Ashwagandha root, also known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry, is one of the most important herbs in the Aryuvedic medicine. This ancient medicinal herb has multiple health benefits and its history of medicinal use dates back 3,000 years. Ashwagandha root is commonly used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, stress, infertility, cognitive dysfunction, and testosterone deficiency in men. You can load up on this nutritious herb through capsules, powders, or liquid extracts.

Overall Health Benefits of Ashwagandha Root

  • Improves symptoms of diabetes [1-3]
  • Improves blood pressure [4-6]
  • Boosts fertility and improves sexual function [7-10]
  • Fights inflammation [11-14]
  • Treats nerve damage [15-16]
  • Treats stroke [17-24]
  • Improves kidney function [25-27]
  • Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease [4] [28-29]
  • Improves muscle mass and strength [30-32]
  • Boosts cognitive health [33-37]
  • Prevents cancer [38-43]
  • Improves sleep quality [44-47]
  • Wards off depression and improves mood [48-51]
  • Improves energy levels [30] [52]

How Ashwagandha Root Exerts its Health Benefits

Ashwagandha is jam-packed with various alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins – these are naturally occurring organic compounds that have potent anti-stress, anti-cancer, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, this medicinal herb possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha Root

Improves Symptoms of Diabetes

Taking ashwagandha root supplements has been found to produce beneficial effects on the symptoms of diabetes:

  1. Treatment of diabetic rats with ashwagandha root improved blood sugar levels after 8 weeks of treatment. [1]
  2. In rats with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), ashwagandha root supplementation reversed insulin resistance. [2]
  3. In fructose-fed rats, ashwagandha root normalized blood sugar by reducing inflammatory markers and improving insulin sensitivity. [3]

Improves Blood Pressure

Evidence suggests that ashwagandha root supplementation can be beneficial in hypertensive patients:

  1. A study found that ashwagandha root reduced systolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients. [4]
  2. A study also found that ashwagandha root powder lowered systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients. [5]
  3. A study reported that that ashwagandha root can lower blood pressure through its anti-stress properties. [6]

Boosts Fertility and Improves Sexual Function

Studies show that ashwagandha root supplementation can positively impact overall sexual health:

  1. In healthy women, supplementation with high-concentration ashwagandha root extract for 8 weeks improved various parameters of sexual health such as arousal, lubrication, satisfaction, and the number of successful sexual encounters. [7]
  2. In men, oral intake of ashwagandha root has been found to improve sperm count and motility by inhibiting lipid peroxidation. [8]
  3. In older men, intake of a standardized ashwagandha root extract for 8 weeks resulted in improvements in fatigue, vigor, and sexual and psychological well-being. [9]
  4. In men with low sperm count, supplementation with ashwagandha root extract at a dose of 675 mg thrice daily for 90 days increased sperm count, semen volume, sperm motility, and blood testosterone level. [10]

Fights Inflammation

Numerous studies also support the potent anti-inflammatory effects of ashwagandha root:

  1. A study found that the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties of ashwagandha root can help improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. [11]
  2. In a mouse model of skin inflammation, supplementation with ashwagandha water extract reduced inflammation by inhibiting the MAPK/NF‑κB pathways and by regulating cytokines. [12]
  3. In mouse cells, treatment with ashwagandha-based herbomineral formulation reduced the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. [13]
  4. A study found that ashwagandha water extract can suppress brain inflammation by inhibiting microglial activation and migration. [14]

Treats Nerve Damage

There are also studies that support the beneficial effects of ashwagandha root on nerve damage and other associated conditions:

  1. A rat study found that ashwagandha root can help improve nerve health by protecting against oxidative damage. [15]
  2. In rat models of postoperative and neuropathic pain, administration of ashwagandha root extract (100 and 300 mg/kg) for 15 continuous days produced potent analgesic effect. [16]

Treats Stroke

A number of clinical studies found that ashwagandha root can help improve the symptoms of patients with stroke:

  1. In a mouse model of stroke, treatment with an aqueous root extract of ashwagandha root (200 mg/kg) daily for 7 days significantly reduced the volume of dead tissues in the brain. [17]
  2. In mice with stroke, administration of ashwagandha root at a dose of 200 mg/kg improved functional recovery and significantly reduced brain damage. [18]
  3. In rats with occluded brain arteries, administration of ashwagandha root for 3 weeks improved performance in a series of tests assessing brain function. [19]
  4. In a rat model of stroke, ashwagandha root supplementation improved survival rate. [20]
  5. In a middle cerebral artery occlusion rat model of stroke, pretreatment with ashwagandha root for 30 days prevented motor impairment and significantly decreased markers of oxidative stress. [21]
  6. In rats with dieldrin-induced cognitive impairment, ashwagandha root reversed brain dysfunction via modulation of oxidative stress. [22]
  7. In mice with bisphenol A-induced cognitive dysfunction, ashwagandha root supplementation improved learning and memory as evidenced by better performance in the Y-maze and Morris water maze test. [23]
  8. In obese rats with cognitive impairment, administration of dry leaf powder of ashwagandha at 1 mg/kg of body weight resulted in significant improvement in working memory and locomotor coordination. [24]

Improves Kidney Function

Evidence suggests that ashwagandha root can help improve kidney function and protect against various kidney diseases:

  1. A study reported that ashwagandha root has the therapeutic potential for chronic renal dysfunction. [25]
  2. A study found that Withania somnifera (WS) or ashwagandha root can prevent kidney disease by scavenging free radicals. [26]
  3. In rats with gentamicin-induced kidney dysfunction, ashwagandha root improved kidney function by decreasing creatinine levels. [27]

Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Studies suggest that ashwagandha root can help protect against cardiovascular diseases:

  1. A study found that ashwagandha root can help treat generalized muscle weakness and neuromuscular impairment associated with heart disease. [4]
  2. In healthy male and female athletic adults, ashwagandha root extract supplementation enhanced cardiorespiratory endurance and improved quality of life. [28]
  3. A study of adults with high levels of stress found that ashwagandha root extract can help lower risk of cardiovascular disease through its stress-relieving properties. [29]

Improves Muscle Mass and Strength

Several lines of clinical evidence suggest that ashwagandha root can help prevent muscle wasting associated with aging and certain diseases:

  1. In young male subjects, ashwagandha root supplementation resulted in significant increases in muscle mass and strength, suggesting that the treatment can be useful in resistance training program. [30].
  2. In recreationally active men, supplementation with 500 mg dose of an aqueous extract of ashwagandha root improved upper and lower-body strength after 12 weeks. [31]
  3. In elite athletes, supplementation with 500 mg capsules of aqueous roots of ashwagandha twice daily for 8 weeks improved cardiorespiratory endurance. [32]

Boosts Cognitive Health

A number of studies also support the cognitive-enhancing effects of ashwagandha root:

  1. In human brain cells, treatment with ashwagandha protected against β-amyloid-induced toxicity. [33]
  2. In rats, ashwagandha root supplementation protected against aluminum-induced neurotoxicity through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. [34]
  3. In rats, oral administration of a semipurified extract of ashwagandha root reversed the development of Alzheimer’s disease. [35]
  4. A study found that ashwagandha root extract can improve cognitive and psychomotor performance and can be a valuable addition in the treatment of diseases associated with cognitive impairment. [36]
  5. In patients with mild cognitive impairment, ashwagandha root supplementation enhanced both immediate and general memory, executive function, attention, and information processing speed. [37]

Prevents Cancer

Strong scientific evidence also supports the potent anti-cancer properties of ashwagandha root:

  1. A study showed that ashwagandha root has chemotherapeutic-like effects in malignant human cells. [38]
  2. A study found that ashwagandha root can enhance the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs. [39]
  3. A cell study found that ashwagandha root extract caused selective killing of cancer cells via induction of reactive oxygen species-signaling. [40]
  4. A study found that various parts of ashwagandha especially the root is effective against different kinds of cancer. [41]
  5. A study also found that ashwagandha water extract can inhibit cancer cell growth. [42]
  6. A cell study found that ashwagandha prevented the migration of cancer cells in different sites of the body. [43]

Improves Sleep Quality

Several studies show that ashwagandha root has beneficial effects on the sleep quality of people with impaired sleeping patterns:

  1. In patients with insomnia and anxiety, ashwagandha root supplementation at a dose of 300 mg twice daily improved sleep quality and sleep onset latency. [44]
  2. In older human subjects, administration of ashwagandha root extract at a dose of 600 mg/day resulted in improved quality of life, sleep quality, and mental alertness. [45]
  3. A mouse study found that triethylene glycol, an active sleep-inducing component of ashwagandha leaves, could potentially be useful for insomnia therapy. [46]
  4. In stressed male and female participants, subjects who received ashwagandha root extract had significant improvement in sleep quality. [47]

Wards off Depression and Improves Mood

Studies found that ashwagandha root can help improve overall mood through its anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects:

  1. In patients with anxiety, ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improved resistance towards stress as well as self-assessed quality of life. [48]
  2. A study showed that ashwagandha root aqueous extract was beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety in patients with low mood. [49]
  3. In healthy adults, daily supplementation with ashwagandha improved mood and reduced stress levels. [50]
  4. In women with high levels of stress due to impaired sleep, ashwagandha supplementation improved mood by reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. [51]

Improves Energy Levels

Studies also found that ashwagandha root can help boost energy levels which can benefit athletes and people living an active lifestyle:

  1. In healthy adults and athletes, ashwagandha root extract supplementation enhanced cardiorespiratory endurance by improving maximal oxygen uptake. [52]
  2. In young male subjects, ashwagandha root supplementation improved performance in resistance training program by increasing muscle mass and strength. [30]


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