Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a therapeutic and medicinal herb that has been used in traditional medicine, especially in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, for hundreds of years. It is highly popular for its ability to relieve stress with little to no side effects.
Ashwagandha also exhibits anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidizing, sleep-inducing properties. It also helps in drug addiction withdrawal as well as improves overall body health.
Furthermore, leaf extracts of Ashwagandha can selectively inhibit cancer cells making it a viable adjunct therapy for cancer treatment.
Below are various health benefits of ashwagandha
1. Treats Keratosis
Ashwagandha is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat keratosis. Keratosis is a condition where non-cancerous keratin growths are found to grow on a patient’s skin, and this makes their skin dry and rough. Taking three grams of ashwagandha with water two times a day can help relieve keratosis symptoms.
2. Recommended For The Gut
If you are suffering from rectal bleeding, irritable bowel, intestinal ulcers or any other condition related to the gut, ashwagandha might be what you need. In a study involving mice with swelling bowel illness as participants, root extract from ashwagandha was given to them and helped them restore their mucous. Additionally, this herb helps prevent constipation. It’s also used to treat and prevent hemorrhoids.
3. Protects Against Harmful Industrial Chemicals
People working in big industries are always at risk of being exposed to toxic substances. Fortunately, leaf extract from the ashwagandha plant helps protect human cells against poisonous chemicals like methoxyacetic acid. Additionally, this herb is also recommended for protection against heavy metals, diesel exhaust, and harmful pesticides that could cause harm to various organs in your body.
4. Ashwagandha For Alzheimer’s Disease
According to a study conducted at the University of Stanford, it was discovered that semi-purified root extract of ashwagandha was able to reverse Alzheimer’s disease successfully. ashwagandha taken orally was found to help enhance neural dysfunction in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Ashwagandha For Parkinson’s Disease
Studies have found ashwagandha to be effective in treating neurodegenerative health conditions like Parkinson’s. Patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are likely to experience physiological abnormalities, oxidative damage, catecholamines, and other related symptoms. Ashwagandha helps slow down the effects of these symptoms. Additionally, a root extract of this plant showed a significant improvement in the anatomical, behavioral, and biochemical abnormalities in Parkinson’s disease model rats.
6. Ashwagandha Stimulates The Thyroid Gland
This herb was found to stimulate the thyroid hormone in female mice. In male mice, a root extract of ashwagandha enhanced thyroidal activity. In female mice, it only stimulated the thyroxine concentration. In a study investigating the effects of ashwagandha on thyroid glands, it was discovered that ashwagandha root extracts, administered on a daily basis, could help increase the production of thyroid hormones.
7. Enhances The Production Of Collagen
Some of the components found in this plant can help stimulate the production of estrogen in your body. Estrogen is one of the compounds that help you to maintain youthful skin. It does so by encouraging the production of collagen and skin’s natural oils.
8. Boosts Energy
If you are constantly experiencing fatigue that affects your concentration at work, ashwagandha could be what you need to stay active. Studies indicate that this herb can help you boost your energy and remain active throughout the day.
9. Promotes Fat Cell Death
Weight loss is a problem that affects many people across the world. Today, there are many weight loss supplements available on the market, making it difficult for users to choose the best brand. ashwagandha is a natural herb that helps curtail the production of fat cell and also help in getting rid of them. Studies have proven that ashwagandha root extract helps in weight loss in adults.
10. Helps Reduce Stress/Anxiety
This herb has been proven over the years to be very effective in controlling and managing anxiety in both humans and animals. Ashwagandha root extracts, at high concentrations, help in improving resistance towards stress. As such, the herb helps humans to live a life free from anxiety and stress. According to a study, ashwagandha was found to be very helpful in reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels compared to other herbs and supplements. In addition to causing stress, cortisol also contributes to wrinkle formation, muscle loss, and body weakness.
11. Used To Improve Sexual Desires In Men
Today, many men are suffering in silence because of erectile dysfunction. Ashwagandha has been used for many years to help men increase their libido, but you are advised to visit your doctor and seek their opinion before using it. Studies show that ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng) is also effective in enhancing semen quality. According to one study, this herb was found to help boost production of sperm and increase its mobility, therefore improving semen quality.
12. Ashwagandha For Huntington’s Disease
Some studies have shown that ashwagandha was effective in treating Huntington’s disease. This herb helps slows, remove, reverse, or stop synaptic loss and neurotic atrophy. Additionally, it was discovered that ashwagandha contains neuroprotective properties that make it capable of treating biochemical, mitochondrial and behavioral dysfunction in Huntington’s disease model animals.
13. Ashwagandha For Schizophrenia Disease
The root extract of ashwagandha is beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia. Ashwagandha helps to reduce the side effects of antipsychotic drugs, side effects such as metabolic syndrome (MS), used in the treatment of schizophrenia.
14. Ashwagandha Boosts Immunity
People with weak immune system are always prone to numerous diseases. Studies have shown that ashwagandha consumption helps to improve the immune system. In rats induced with immunosuppressive medication, ashwagandha was found to prevent myelosuppression. As such, Ashwagandha helps in increasing platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cell counts in both animals and humans.
15. Fights Insomnia
According to a 2017 research by Tsukuba University in Japan, the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine found out that ashwagandha contains substances that could help treat insomnia. Triethylene glycol, an active component of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves, is responsible for sleep induction.
16. Treats Anemia
Hematopoiesis is a process through which the body generates new blood. Many clinical studies have been done to find out if ashwagandha contains hematopoietic properties, and the results indicate that ashwagandha does have hematopoietic properties. Rodents that were administered with this herb showed a significant increase in their white and red blood cell counts. As such, ashwagandha is useful in treating anemia and other related diseases.
17. Recommended For Eye Diseases
According to research done in Hyderabad, India, the anti-oxidants properties of ashwagandha makes it a vital product capable of treating numerous eye diseases, including cataract blindness. In the study, it was discovered that ashwagandha could be used as a cataract-static agent. Additionally, this herb is also used to treat and prevent “diabetic cataracts”, a condition caused as a result of high levels of blood glucose.
18. Ashwagandha For Arthritis
Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties that make it capable of reducing the effects of arthritis and other related conditions. When root extract of ashwagandha was administered to arthritis model rats, it was noted that the severity of this condition was reduced significantly.
19. Treats Adrenal Fatigue
So, what exactly is adrenal fatigue? Adrenal glands are tasked with the production of certain vital hormones in your body, including cortisol and adrenaline. In the event that you feel overcome by emotional, mental or physical stress, it would not be easy for your body to secrete these hormones, and thus we say that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. Also, if this happens, you are likely to age fast or even become infertile. The good news is studies have shown that Ashwagandha helps reverse the effects of adrenal fatigue.
20. Protects Your Brain
Ashwagandha has strong anti-oxidant properties that make it useful for your brain and other body organs. Some people age prematurely because their nervous systems are weak. This herb helps protect your nervous system by reducing chronic tension associated with increased oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is known to boost lipid peroxidation as well as decrease the production of important compounds, such as glutathione peroxidase and catalase enzymes. However, with Ashwagandha, your nervous system and brain could be protected from these.
21. Promotes Wound Healing
This herb is highly advised for wound healing. Once applied to a wound, it works as curative poultice speeding up the healing process on your body. The root extract of ashwagandha is recommended for this treatment.
22. Ashwagandha For Heart Diseases
According to a study conducted in India, it was discovered that ashwagandha has cardioprotective effects. Regularly administered doses of this herb showed significant improvement of the heart inhibited by cardiac apoptosis. However, it’s not yet clear if ashwagandha can be used to treat severe heart conditions like ischemic.
23. Pain Reliever
Studies also show that this herb calms the nervous system, thus helping relieve pain and/or fever. Mice experiencing heat pain administered to them by hot plate technique exhibited significant pain relief when they were given ashwagandha.
24. Ashwagandha For Weight/Muscle Gain
Weight loss is a problem that many people are usually concerned about, but there are a few folks who would want to add weight. Ashwagandha has been featured as one of the most important ingredients in supplements that are aimed to help users gain muscles. However, you are advised to seek advice from your doctor before using such formulas.
25. Boosts Memory
Memory loss is a problem that affects many people and tends to be more pronounced as one age. Studies show that this herb is very effective in treating memory conditions caused by trauma and sleep.
26. Treats Skin Inflammation
Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal for treating skin inflammation. One of the constituent compounds that make it effective is known as withanolides. Extracts of withanolides are able to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria that cause skin inflammation.
27. Makes Hair Stronger
This herb has been very successful in treating and preventing hair loss. One reason why we suffer from hair loss is because of stress. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha helps to lower the levels of cortisol, a hormone responsible for stress. That way, it’s able to stop and prevent hair loss in humans.
28. Ashwagandha Eliminates Dandruff
Ashwagandha contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective in preventing and getting rid of dandruff. It’s also ideal for treating scalp psoriasis and eczema.
29. Ashwagandha Is A Potent Anti-Venom
In India, this herb has been used as an antidote to snake bites for centuries. Some anecdotal evidence shows that if the roots of this plant are combined with some potent drugs meant to treat snake bites, the resultant concoction would be capable of even treating scorpion-stings.
30. Reduces Cortisol Levels
In one recent study, ashwagandha was found to help reduce cortisol levels significantly (up to 26%). High levels of cortisol increase degenerative and inflammatory processes in your body. Also, the participants had improved lipid profile patterns and lowered blood glucose levels.
Studies have shown that ashwagandha is a potent herb for treating anxiety and stress-related problems. Additionally, this herb has been proven to encourage reconstruction and regeneration of synapses and cells. This means that it can be used to reverse various degenerative states of the brain and also help in nervous system degeneration.
31. Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Ashwagandha has been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects. Mice administered with ashwagandha were found to have high immune and improved fighting cell activities. Also, it was discovered that Ashwagandha helps in improving the production of bone marrow cells, and lymphocytes in rats. Additionally, it helps suppress tumor-related macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
32. Inhibits Signs Of Aging
Are you struggling with aging signs at a younger age? If yes, you don’t have to. Ashwagandha has anti-oxidant properties that play a very important part in fighting signs related to aging. For example, dark spots, fine lines, wrinkles and other effects of direct exposure to UV light can be treated using this herb. What’s more, ashwagandha has been tested and proven to help treat various skin-related conditions, including skin cancer.
33. Ashwagandha Increases Blood Production
The procedure for making new blood is known as hematopoiesis. Studies have shown that this herb contains hematopoietic properties. In one study involving rats, it was noted that their white blood cell (WBC) and red blood cell (RBC) counts increased significantly when this herb was administered to them. Because of this, scientists believe that the same effects could be achieved in humans. If this is true, then it means that ashwagandha can be used to treat and prevent various health conditions.
34. Antibacterial Properties
Ayurvedic clinical experiments have proven that ashwagandha is successful in dealing with bacterial infections in both animals and humans. According to research conducted at Allahabad University in India, it was discovered that ashwagandha contains antibacterial properties. Additionally, the study found out that this plant is also effective in treating respiratory tract and gastrointestinal illnesses, but it should be taken orally.
35. Protects The Kidneys
Root extract from ashwagandha is recommended for protecting the kidney against harmful substances. This herb has a nephroprotective effect that enables it to protect kidneys. It’s capable of reducing the effects of different types of medications, including gentamicin that could cause serious side effects to your kidneys. Ashwagandha anti-oxidant property helps this herb to successful protect the kidneys from the effects of these drugs.
36. Ashwagandha Prevents Seizures
For many years now, ashwagandha has successfully helped people to control seizures. In one study, it was found that this plant contains anticonvulsant properties. Clinical studies and research have demonstrated that root extract from ashwagandha plant helps prevent seizures. The study was carried out in mice, but the same results can be realized in humans.
37. Ashwagandha Promotes Longevity
What will you do if you knew a plant that has the ability to help you prolong your life on earth? Yes, you heard it right; ashwagandha leaf extracts have the ability to prevent aging symptoms from occurring. Additionally, this plant has potent antioxidant properties capable of extending the user’s life.
38. Ashwagandha May Help Reduce Your Urges For Morphine
Morphine addiction is something that numerous people struggle with. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to overcome this addiction, but ashwagandha may help you to reduce your dependence on this drug. It works by suppressing morphine withdrawal symptoms. As they say, the best way to stop an addiction is to quit slowly. With gradual use of Ashwagandha, you would find yourself quitting sooner than you expected.
39. Ashwagandha For Skin
Having smooth and glowing skin is something that many people wish for, especially ladies. If the tone and texture of your skin give you sleepless nights, you could try using ashwagandha. Additionally, this herb has been used to treat wounds, ringworms, acne, scabies and even leprosy for many years. It helps prevent and treat dark spots on your skin.
40. Reduces Symptoms Of Autoimmune Diseases
When root powder from ashwagandha was administered to rodents with Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE), it was discovered that it had a preventive effect on them. The root powder of this plant managed to reduce and control swelling in pristine-induced SLE rat.
41. Anti-Oxidant Property
Ashwagandha is one of the best antioxidant available on the market today. According to one study, rats were injected with a compound called streptozotocin and ashwagandha was very effective in minimizing the effects of this substance. Because of its detoxifying and antioxidant properties, ashwagandha is recommended for treating kidney injury caused by oxidative stress. Rats prescribed with ashwagandha daily for 21 days, showed a significant increase in glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase.
42. Promotes Healthy Heart
Ashwagandha has been found to help improve heart contractility, heart relaxation, and heart rate. It has also been reported to be very effective in maintaining a normal blood pressure level. Rats diagnosed with high cholesterol levels were administered with this herb and showed a significant reduction in the levels of triglycerides.
43. Anti-Fungal Property
This herb helps in preventing the growth of fungi by deterring hyphal growth and spore germination. This property of ashwagandha is evident in its inhibition of Fusarium oxysporum, F verticilloides, and Fusarium oxysporum.
44. Anti-Viral Property
In one study, it was discovered that ashwagandha contains a vital component that can be used to treat Acute Viral Hepatitis. Ailments, such as HSV 1 (or Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1), can be treated using ashwagandha water extract. Also, the root extract of this herb contains anti-viral property against infectious bursal disease virus. Patients diagnosed with HIV are also advised to take this herb because it helps reduce the effects of the virus.
45. Anti-Parasitic Property
Ashwagandha has been proven to be very effective in treating parasitic-related conditions like Leishmaniasis. Ashwagandha water and alcohol extracts are also used to treat diseases like malaria. In a study involving rodents, ashwagandha was administered to help reduce the effect of malaria parasites, and the results were a success.
Ashwagandha successfully controls sugar and urine levels, liver enzymes and glycated hemoglobin in diabetic rodents. Root extract from ashwagandha was effective in controlling blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Also, ashwagandha was able to reduce blood sugar in rats induced with alloxan. In humans, this herb also helps type 2 diabetes patients to maintain normal levels of blood glucose.
Ashwagandha helps to decrease blood sugar, and by doing so it helps diabetic patients avoid injecting themselves with insulin from time to time. In diabetic rats, it helped them to increase their glucose tolerance. It also noted that ashwagandha can be used to treat painful diabetic neuropathy in rodents within two months from the start of administering the herb.
47. Helps Control Menopausal Symptoms
Menopause is a topic that many women don’t like discussing. The good news is that this herb is effective in managing symptoms associated with menopause. Ashwagandha does this by controlling the production of hormones. As such, this herb helps in reducing menopausal symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, hot flashes and more. Root extract from ashwagandha enhance thyroidal activity and helps stimulate the antiperoxidation process of liver tissues. Furthermore, ashwagandha helps decrease anxiety and helps the mind to relax, thereby helping normalize mood in women with behavioral issues especially during menopause.
48. Improves Fertility In Males
Ashwagandha is a special herb, in Ayurveda, used to treat infertility in rats. Ashwagandha can stabilize hormones and boost fertility by decreasing stress and encouraging relaxation. In fertile men, ashwagandha can be used to increase luteinizing hormone. Infertile males administered with ashwagandha were found to have increased testosterone levels. Ashwagandha boosts the performance of thyroid gland, a gland tasked with the production of some fertility-enhancing hormones.
In males, ashwagandha was found to be useful in controlling and treating hypogonadism. It’s very effective in helping men restore their fertility and improve their sexual performance. It enhances the quality of semen in infertile men and improves their sex hormones.
Male rats fed ashwagandha plant powder for two months (60 days) showed significant improvement in their sex accessory organs. In studies done on mice, this herb was found very useful in restoring spermatozoa. In humans, in the case of infertile males, ashwagandha is used to counteract the creation of Reactive Oxygen Species, also known as ROS. Root extract from ashwagandha was found to be useful in improving sexual competence in rats.
49. Promotes Bone Health
Ashwagandha acts as a bone-building agent and helps in the formation of healthy bones. It works by promoting calcium retention and encouraging bone calcification. In one study, it was found that ashwagandha helped in the formation of tibia bone phosphorus and calcium without causing any serious side effects.
Ashwagandha leaves extract were useful in preventing bone loss in rodents by promoting the production of new healthy bones and preserving the already existing bones. Root powder from ashwagandha had a significant positive impact on adjuvant-induced arthritis in mice.
50. Promotes Muscle Growth
Rodents treated with ashwagandha were noted to have improved body weight. This is because ashwagandha promotes muscle growth and muscle strength. In this light, many trainers advise their clients to consider using this product if they want stronger and improved muscle mass. Also, patients diagnosed with Sarcopenia, a condition that results in muscle loss and strength because of aging, are also advised to use ashwagandha.
51. Helps Maintain Normal Cholesterol Levels
With its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, ashwagandha is highly advisable for controlling cardiovascular issues. It helps in making the heart muscles rigid and is also effective in maintaining normal cholesterol levels. According to one study by the University of Arizona, it was discovered that ashwagandha has hypolipidemic properties. Hypolipidemic agents help in controlling cholesterol levels.
52. For Cancers
Ashwagandha alcohol extract is a potent remedy that can be used to treat and prevent the spread of various cancerous cells in humans. An advantage of this herb, as an adjunct therapy to conventional cancer therapies, is that it suppresses the growth of cancer tumors. It does this by promoting the production of cytotoxic T lymphocytes, a compound that helps in preventing the growth of tumors. Leaf extract from this herb is effective in getting rid of selective cancer cells in humans.
- Pregnant women should avoid using ashwagandha as it could induce abortion.
- Avoid excessive consumption of this herb as it could trigger nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach.
- There is a risk of medical interaction with regular medications especially for patients of hypertension, anxiety, diabetes, depression, and insomnia. As such, consult your doctor before taking this herb.
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