What is ashwagandha?
Made popular by a trending interest in Ayurveda (traditional Indian alternative medicine), Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement with the potential for several health benefits. Traditionally, Ashwagandha has been used to reduce stress and anxiety while increasing strength, but recent studies have shed even more light on Ashwagandha’s uses.
A 2008 clinical study, Sensoril® Ashwagandha was tested in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel study with 98 healthy subjects with mild-moderate stress given 125mg once daily and twice daily, 250mg twice daily, and a placebo over 60 days. The study found that for all doses, DHEA was increased and there were significant reductions in both C-reactive protein and cortisol. Subjects also reported significant promotion of calmness and reduction of feelings of anxiousness and irritability, improved concentration, reduced forgetfulness, and less fatigue.
While this herbal medicine is steeped in tradition, this study also shows a lot of promise when it comes to how Ashwagandha may support whole-body and mental health.
What is Ashwagandha?
“Ashwagandha” means “smell of the horse” in Sanskrit. Named after its characteristic smell, this herb is also commonly named “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng.” Scientifically known as Withania somnifera, Ashwagandha is a shrub. Typically, the berries and roots make up the herbal supplements found in stores. However, many different parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine. Not to be confused with Physalis alkekengi (also known as Winter Cherry), Ashwagandha is only found in parts of India, Africa, and the Middle East.
The Top Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ayurvedic medicine dates back to 6000 BC with Ashwagandha in the form of tonics.
However, in today’s age, the herb is used in slightly different ways, and a few of the most common possible uses include:
- May help reduce mental and physical stress
- May contribute to a more positive mood
- May reduce sleeplessness
Ashwagandha Potentially Reduces Stress
Arguably the most common use of Ashwagandha is for stress relief and occasional anxiousness. As an adaptogen, or a bio-regulating and stress-reducing compound, the limited studies suggest that Ashwagandha may work to control stress mediators such as c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1), Cortisol, and heat shock proteins (Hsp70).
Early peer-reviewed studies show promising results for ancient Ayurvedic wisdom. One study of recreationally active men showed that those who took 500 mg of Ashwagandha for 60 days had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reported feeling less stressed when compared to a placebo group.
Although research is limited, results are promising that Ashwagandha has the potential to reduce feelings of anxiousness and stress.
Ashwagandha May Enhance Cognitive Performance
There is some evidence that Ashwagandha may also help to enhance cognitive performance by improving the neural pathways (psychomotor) through which motion originates.
Ashwagandha May Improve Sleep Quality
Due to the potential to reduce stress and anxiety, it should come as no surprise that taking Ashwagandha may have a positive impact on sleep.
A study that tested the use of Ashwagandha for sleep in 80 adults — 40 with healthy sleep patterns and 40 who experienced sleeplessness — showed that those in both groups who took Ashwagandha against a placebo had significantly improved sleep quality.
The researchers concluded that Ashwagandha may be an effective treatment for sleeplessness and is impactful regardless of age or health condition.
How Much Should I Take?
When it comes to how much Ashwagandha you need to take, it largely depends on the form of the supplement. You can have Ashwagandha in gummies, capsules, drops, or even powders. Sensoril Ashwagandha has been clinically studied to provide benefits supporting stress, mood and sleep starting at doses of 125Mg
Ashwagandha is an ancient traditional medicine that has a variety of potential health benefits. As an easy addition to your daily healthcare routine, Ashwagandha may amplify your mood, reduce stress, and help you feel stronger.