Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is said to be one amongst the most important herbs in Ayurveda. It is native to India and North Africa. The herb ‘Ashwagandha’ is said to provide a lot of benefits to the body and brain.
Here are the health benefits of ashwagandha backed by science.
1) Lowers blood sugar levels
In many studies it has been found that ashwagandha lowers blood sugar. It is said to increase the secretion of insulin and improve insulin sensitivity. The effect is found in both healthy as well as diabetes affected people.
According to studies carried out on animals, ashwagandha is said to help kill cancer cells. Those studies have suggested that the herb can be beneficial in treating different types of cancers such as breast, lung, colon, ovarian or brain. The results of the studies seem to be pretty promising but there are no studies to confirm them in humans.
3) Reduces cortisol levels
Cortisol is named as the stress hormone because it gets released when there is stress. Studies show that ashwagandha helps in reducing the levels of this stress hormone. In one study, the group supplemented with the highest dose of ashwagandha had a 30% reduction in cortisol.
4) Reduces stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is best known as a herb that reduces stress. Several human studies show that it can significantly reduce symptoms in those having stress or anxiety disorders. It is known to help reduce insomnia too.
5) Reduces symptoms of depression
A few studies suggest that ashwagandha helps in alleviating depression. In one controlled study, those who took 600 mg of it per day had a 79% reduction in severe depression.
6) Boosts testosterone and fertility in men
Study done on infertile men says that ashwagandha increased their sperm count and motility. Their antioxidant levels in the blood also increased. Ashwagandha definitely works for treating infertility in men.
7) Reduces body fat, increases muscle mass and strength
Ashwagandha helps in improving body composition and strength. Studies show that it increases muscle mass and helps lose fat. It increases strength in men. Check out a post on weight loss benefits of ashwagandha here!
8) Reduces inflammation
Inflammation is bad for health as it can lead to many diseases. Several studies done on animals say that ashwagandha decreases inflammation. In humans it is said to improve immunity and stay healthy. It also decreases inflammation markers.
9) Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
Apart from its anti-inflammatory effects, ashwagandha improves heart health by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Studies on animals are quite promising but the ones done on humans have less dramatic results to report.
10) Improves memory and brain function
Animal studies suggest that ashwagandha actually helps in improving memory and brain function. Though traditionally ashwagandha has been used to boost memory in Ayurveda, currently a very tiny amount of human research exists.
Is ashwagandha safe?
Ashwagandha seems to be a safe bet for most people. However, expecting or lactating moms should stay away from it. People having autoimmune disease should try to avoid ashwagandha unless they are told to do so by their doctor. This includes people with diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus and type 1 diabetes.
Also those who are taking medicines for thyroid disease should be careful wile consuming it as it can increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.
The herb decreases blood sugar and levels of blood pressure. So, you need to adjust the dosage of medicine.
The recommended dosage is 450 to 500 mg per day. However, it would be great if you consult your doctor once before you start taking ashwagandha supplement.
Hope you liked reading this post on the health benefits of ashwagandha!
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