Ashwagandha: A Versatile Complete Rejuvenation!!
Our relentlessly hectic lives have made the craze of adaptogens higher than ever. The lot ranging from therapeutic mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga to herbs such as Rhodiola and Ashwagandha have had an unpredictable boom in sales since we love to constantly survive the edge, but we also love to have low stress, the two things that don’t often concur.
Anxiety is one of the top mental health problems being experienced by people nowadays, principally owing to the giant amounts of stress we entail upon ourselves. I believe you must have heard that adaptogens are a great help, and we’re here to present you the scoop on what the science speaks about these herbs. At present, our prime focus is “Ashwagandha”.
This shrub largely grows in hot as well as humid temperature conditions such as India, but amazingly favors the dry climates. It has a long history of use in herbal medicine as a vitality booster, male-specific health tonic, and as a means of mitigating human affliction. Ashwagandha is nowadays getting recommended to almost every person, as most individuals can derive various health benefits including its efficacious stress-reducing properties.
The name “Ashwagandha” signifies “the smell of horse” attributable to the root’s characteristic horse-like smell, but I individually believe it has an aroma like a bag of bread crumbs. Because of the smell, it was also supposed to grant the vigor and virility of a horse. In addition, it is known by the names, Winter cherry and the scientific name is Withania somnifera. It is composed of active constituents such as withanolides and withaferin-A that offer it exclusive stress mitigating properties.
Also, you may have seen people popping up this herb in the form of supplement formulations geared toward stress cutback, workout development, as well as sleep improvement. An extensive array of uses and claims in relation to the benefits of Ashwagandha has been accounted for, and here at HealthDiva, we’re going to focus on the six major ones that we can pop up repeatedly.
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that is known to mitigate stress, anxiety, and depression; and provides a relaxing effect.
- As a lot of herbs go, we also hear that it augments cognitive functioning.
- It actually boosts the levels of testosterone and improves male fertility.
- Ashwagandha seems to work in workout formulations as it is said to fortify strength and boost muscle mass.
- Ashwagandha has also been claimed for its unique property on heart health as it is said to deliver beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system.
- Several health gurus have also stated it as a natural anti-cancer agent.
This is the area where Ashwagandha actually shines. A lot of research studies indicate that there are pretty good health benefits here. One study depicted a considerable reduction in self-reported stress levels, anxiety, insomnia, and demonstrated an augmentation in the social performance as compared to placebo (1).
This similar study also observed a reduction in the cortisol levels in the blood (a reduction from 27.9% to 7.9% in the placebo group) i.e. a 20% difference! You might be thinking, what this cortisol is? Cortisol is one of the body’s key stress hormones and gets considerably elevated during the durations of acute or chronic stress. While cortisol is thought to be essential for survival and plays key roles in the body, having too much wreaked havoc on the intact body.
Thus, so far, the research studies have established that this herb is quite effective in reducing stress and anxiety levels and appears to perform this primarily by lessening down the cortisol levels.
TESTOSTERONE BOOSTING AND MALE FERTILITY EFFECTS:
Ashwagandha is the key to enhance masculinity. As far as the improvement in the levels of testosterone goes, it only seems considerably in men with already low testosterone levels. The slight testosterone boost observed in a few other studies is unlikely to occur to all individuals and is also quite unlikely to have a number of effects apart from an increase in libido.
We’re not very sure that it does anything in extra of helping to normalize the testosterone levels in guys with formerly low levels. Stress can ruin your balls, thus the anti-stress properties of Ashwagandha may be playing a significant role here as well.
Now, fertility is an altogether different story. A few research studies have found an increase in the total semen quality as well as a decrease in the oxidative damage caused to sperm cells with supplementation of Ashwagandha (2). It has also been seen that up to 15% of couples experiencing infertility issues have got tremendous benefits from this herb while their plans on conceiving!
While not the toughest heart health supplement out there, the research depicts that Ashwagandha is constituted with beneficial abilities to exert favorable effects on the blood lipid profiles. Research studies have noted a reduction in LDL cholesterol, an increase in HDL cholesterol, and a decrease in triglycerides and blood pressure (3). These improvements are all great and emerge to have occurred across manifold studies in which they were measured.
Everybody requires a little brain boost, and this herb is just worth looking into. Research studies have established an increase in cognitive functioning in those affected with mild cognitive dysfunction (4). Stress reduction may play a significant role in augmenting the cognitive functioning in otherwise healthy adults, thus the cognitive benefits of Ashwagandha may be secondary at least.
Ashwagandha’s use in neurodegenerative disorders is largely attributed to the withanolides present in Ashwagandha (constituted with great neuro regenerative and shielding effects) (5).
Thus, if you are facing any kind of stress due to an illness or any kind of regular stress with everyday life, Ashwagandha’s immune-boosting properties certainly help you stay on top of it all.
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- Chandrasekhar, K. et al. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 34(3): pp 255-62.
- Mahdi, AA. et al. (2009). Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.
- Auddy, B. et al. (2008). A standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. JANA. 11(1): pp 50-56.
- Choudhary, D. et al. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. J Diet Suppl. 14(6): pp 599-612.
- Kuboyama, T. et al. (2014). Effects of Ashwagandha (roots of Withania somnifera) on neurodegenerative diseases. Biol Pharm Bull. 37(6): pp 892-7.
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