Ashwagandha is considered to be a conventional stress reliever. It’s also being researched for its potential to enhance memory and immune function. However, what does the science say about all of its purported health benefits and therefore are any supported by decent proof? Keep reading to find out!
Does Ashwagandha Have Health Benefits?
Like many nutritional supplements, ashwagandha is not approved by the FDA for almost any function. The evidence presented here is deemed preliminary and inadequate to warrant medical use.
To avoid unexpected interactions along with other negative events, talk with your doctor before integrating ashwagandha into your daily regimen.
- May combat the effects of strain on the Body and Mind
- May excite the immune system
- Believed to reduce pain, inflammation, and oxidative damage
- Promising research into possible metabolic and cognitive advantages
- Associated with enhanced cardiovascular, gut, and adrenal health
- Has disagreeable taste
- Might Increase thyroid hormones
- Can Cause digestive problems
- Not sufficient clinical testing to justify medical use
- Insufficient evidence for a Whole Lot of claims
- No safe and effective dose has been determined
- Long-term side effects unknown
Potential Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha supplements haven’t been accepted by the FDA for medical use and normally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective. Speak with your physician before supplementing.
Possibly Successful For:
Of all the potential advantages of ashwagandha, this has got the strongest body of evidence to support it, but it has not been accepted by the FDA! It is important to speak with your doctor before you use ashwagandha for any reason.
Ashwagandha is traditionally used as a tonic to calm the nerves. In two studies of 116 chronically-stressed people, the main infusion improved anxiety, well-being, and pleasure; it also decreased cortisol degrees.
In a study of 39 people, ashwagandha extract was slightly effective for individuals with stress. Although these results are promising, the potency of ashwagandha in people with anxiety remains to be determined in bigger, better-designed trials.
In many animal studies, Ashwagandha was useful against stress and melancholy and for enhancing stress tolerance.
Ashwagandha is famous for combating anxiety, which can be encouraged by decent studies. Its supposed ability to ease anxiety is insufficiently researched.
Ashwagandha Benefits with Insufficient Evidence
The subsequent purported advantages are only supported by restricted, low-quality clinical studies. There’s insufficient evidence to support the use of ashwagandha for any of those below-listed uses. Remember to speak with a health care provider before taking ashwagandha, and never use it instead of something your physician recommends or prescribes.
Ashwagandha root extract improved memory in 50 people with moderate cognitive impairment. The extract also enhanced working memory in another analysis of 53 individuals.
In rats, Ashwagandha shielded against memory impairment because of PTSD and the deficiency of oxygen (hypoxia).
3) Weight Loss & Muscle Growth
Ashwagandha root extract reduced food cravings, ingestion, and body fat in a study of 52 individuals.
In 3 research with over 100 individuals, ashwagandha extract in combination with resistance training:
- Decreased body fat
- Increased muscle power
- Boosted testosterone
- Reduced body fat
At a trial of 49 healthy athletic adults, Ashwagandha extract enhanced endurance and self-reported physical health following 12 months.
It had the exact same effect on 40 elite cyclists following 8 weeks of supplementation.
In a small trial of 12 individuals, Ashwagandha decreased blood sugar levels as effectively as diabetes drugs, without significant adverse side effects.
Ashwagandha also decreased blood glucose in several animal studies. In a few of the studies, HbA1c (a step of long-term blood sugar) and insulin amounts improved as well.
In other animal studies, Ashwagandha reduced the severity of complications from diabetes, such as testicular dysfunction, cataracts, and nerve pain. Supplementation also improved antioxidant status; this is useful because surplus sugar creates oxidative stress.
Ashwagandha has helped with diabetes by reducing blood sugar and glucose levels and enhancing antioxidant defense, but more research is required to determine whether it’s successful for this purpose.
6) Heart Health
Ashwagandha is believed to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and protect against atherosclerosis, thus enhancing heart health, but clinical signs are restricted. In a single human trial, adding ashwagandha to conventional anti-ischemic drugs improved outcomes compared to conventional treatment alone.
In animal studies, Ashwagandha decreased the risk of stroke and heart attacks. It also decreased cholesterol levels and shielded against oxidative damage due to chemotherapy.
In a study of 133 individuals with tuberculosis, Ashwagandha along with other herbals in conjunction with antibiotics relieved fever and coughing better than antibiotics. In another analysis of 99 individuals with tuberculosis, Ashwagandha improved symptoms, inflammation, and body weight.
In cell and mouse studies, Ashwagandha has inhibited or killed germs such as Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.
An herbal remedy containing Ashwagandha sped up retrieval from viral hepatitis in 29 patients .
Ashwagandha has also shown antiviral activity against HIV, herpes, and Infectious Bursal Disease virus from cell-based research.
Ashwagandha inhibited the growth of several species of fungus (Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium oxysporum, and Fusarium verticillioides) in cell research.
Ashwagandha has revealed anti-parasitic action against Leishmania and Malaria in animal studies.
Cell studies suggest that ashwagandha can help fight bacteria, parasites, and viruses. However, more research on animals and, finally, people will be required.
8) Symptoms of OCD & ADHD
In a study of 30 people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Ashwagandha extract taken with standard treatment reduced their symptoms more than medication alone.
Ashwagandha also effectively treated the symptoms of OCD in mice.
ADHD is generally treated with psychostimulants, such as Ritalin. But, their long-term security was questioned in many studies. A safer choice would be preferable for many parents.
An herbal mix comprising Ashwagandha, peony, Gotu Kola, spirulina, bacopa, and lemon balm improved reaction time, impulsivity, and focus in a study of 120 children with ADHD, with no adverse side effects reported.
No studies have investigated the impact of Ashwagandha independently in ADHD.
Ashwagandha will reduce symptoms of OCD and ADHD, but more trials are required to confirm its effectiveness.
In a pilot trial of 11 individuals, Ashwagandha reduced the severity of sensory problems experienced by schizophrenia patients.
But, it didn’t assist with feelings of isolation or depression in a different study of 25 schizophrenic patients.
Ashwagandha decreased pain, stiffness, and handicap in 60 individuals with knee joint pain. Ayurvedic treatment comprising ashwagandha lower pain, joint tenderness, and swelling at a study of 86 people with rheumatoid arthritis.
In a different study of 42 people, an herbal combination comprising Ashwagandha, Indian frankincense, turmeric, and zinc diminished pain from osteoarthritis. Ashwagandha also relieved pain in 3 rodent studies.
11) Reproductive Health
Ashwagandha may lower the complications of menopause. In a trial of 51 menopausal women, ashwagandha reduced symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, sleep problems, irritability, and anxiety.
In 50 healthy women, Ashwagandha enhanced self-reported measures of sexual function such as arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction.
Ashwagandha with Tribulus Terrestris revived hormone balance in rats with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
In a clinical trial of 150 men, Ashwagandha reduced oxidative stress, increased testosterone, and lowered FSH. These hormonal changes promote the creation of fresh sperm cells. Additionally, it improved sperm count and mobility.
In 46 men with reduced sperm count, Ashwagandha increased:
- Sperm count, by 167 percent
- semen volume, by 53 percent
- semen motility, by 57%
It regained semen quality in 180 infertile men.
Ashwagandha has the capability to enhance reproductive health in both men and women by normalizing hormone levels, semen quality, and sexual performance. However, more studies will be required to confirm any advantage.
The root or whole plant extract has been used as a sleeping agent in Ayurveda. A mouse study discovered that trimethylene glycol is the active component of Ashwagandha responsible for sleep induction.
Ashwagandha improved sleep quality in 6 out of 18 healthy men and women. It also enhanced sleep in rats by activating the GABA pathway.
Sleep loss is unhealthy and leads to increased amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell death in the brain. Interestingly, Ashwagandha averted the negative effects of sleep deprivation in rodents, probably through antioxidant mechanisms.
Ashwagandha may help individuals fall asleep and improve sleep quality. It may also reduce the effects of sleep deprivation. However, as usual, more studies are required.
In a small trial of 5 individuals, Ashwagandha extract enhanced the immune response by triggering white blood cells. In two different trials (a total of 142 individuals ), an herbal mix containing Ashwagandha improved the action of natural killer cells, white blood cells specialized to fight tumors and viruses.
In mice, Ashwagandha extract enhanced immunity by activating bone marrow cells, macrophages, and lymphocytes.
It increased the degrees of Th1 cytokines and prevented the depletion of white blood cells in mice.
Finally, in a combined mouse and cell study, Withaferin A inhibited the action of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). These dysfunctional immune cells can stimulate tumor development and stop the immune system from attacking cancer cells.
Ashwagandha may excite the immune system to fight cancer and infections, but more clinical trials are needed.
14) Gut Health
In a single case report, an Ayurvedic medicine comprising Ashwagandha helped treat constipation, stomach pain, and nausea.
An enema of Ashwagandha restored the health of the intestinal lining in rats using IBD.
Notice, nevertheless, that one animal study and a single case study of an herbal combination cannot be regarded as strong evidence. We want additional studies before making any definitive claims about Ashwagandha’s impact on the digestive tract.
15) Adrenal Function
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is an inborn dysfunction of enzymes that control hormone production in the adrenal gland. It ends in a lack of cortisol and aldosterone and too many male hormones. Symptoms include excessive facial hair, acne, hair loss, menstrual irregularity, and infertility.
In two case studies, Ashwagandha improved the symptoms and hormone levels of elderly women with CAH.
Controlled trials will be needed to confirm this advantage.
Ashwagandha Uses Lacking Evidence
No clinical evidence supports the use of ashwagandha for any of the states listed in this section.
Below is a list of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. On the other hand, the research listed below should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
16) Oxidative Stress
Withanolides, the Ashwagandha active compounds, are potent antioxidants. In a study on human cells, Ashwagandha improved markers of age-related oxidative stress (FOXO3A and SIRT3), indicating it can prevent premature aging.
In rat studies, Ashwagandha boosted the body’s antioxidants, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione. It also prevented kidney injury due to dehydration and oxidative damage because of chemotherapy.
Ashwagandha’s antioxidant properties may potentially increase wellbeing. It raised the antioxidant enzymes and reduced markers of oxidative stress in a study of 30 people.
In 3 studies, Ashwagandha expanded the life span of a pig (C. Elegans) frequently used to examine models of longevity.
Ashwagandha increases the body’s natural antioxidant capacities, which may promote longevity.
17) Brain Health
In cell studies, Ashwagandha encouraged the development of brain cells and stimulated neuronal regeneration.
Ashwagandha can reduce oxidative damage from medication and shield against excessive glutamate. It assisted control epileptic seizures in mice and treat dyskinesia (involuntary movement) in rats.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia brought on by deposits of beta-amyloid proteins and loss of cells. Ashwagandha improved cognitive function and reduced beta-amyloid residue in mouse models of Alzheimer’s.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease involving the progressive reduction of dopamine neurons. In a mouse model of Parkinson’s, Ashwagandha normalized serotonin levels and reduced free radical damage to brain cells.
Huntington’s disease is a genetic illness that leads to oxidative damage and also a progressive breakdown of brain cells.
In rat studies, Ashwagandha protected against oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, suggesting it might be useful in diseases like Huntington’s.
Ashwagandha may protect against nerve damage and improve the signs of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Clinical studies should confirm these advantages.
18) Bone Health
Bone health problems often arise after menopause, when low levels of estrogen interrupt bone construction. In mice with estrogen deficiency, Ashwagandha prevented bone loss and stimulated new bone formation.
It enhanced bone construction from calcium-deficient cows and rats and increased bone hydration in arthritic rats.
In cell studies, Ashwagandha stimulated bone formation and secure cartilage.
According to animal research, ashwagandha may prevent bone loss due to menopause and calcium deficiency. This potential benefit has not yet been studied in humans.
19) Kidney Damage
In rat studies, Ashwagandha protected the kidneys against toxicity of several chemicals, for example:
- Bromobenzene (poisonous compound)
- Carbendazim (antifungal)
- Gentamicin (antibiotic)
- Lead (heavy metal)
- Streptozotocin (chemotherapy)
In addition, it protected against kidney damage brought on by dehydration.
20) Liver Health
Ashwagandha shielded the liver from damage from radiation and heavy metals in rats.
It raised the bile content in rats with high cholesterol and diminished certain liver enzymes that indicate tissue damage.
21) Respiratory Health
Polysaccharides extracted from Ashwagandha suppressed coughing in guinea pigs as effectively as codeine.
In baby rats, withaferin A also shielded the lungs against inflammation and oxidative stress brought on by toxic bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Future trials will clarify if Ashwagandha or its chemicals may be helpful against respiratory infections.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that involves elevated levels of inflammation. In a mouse study, Ashwagandha diminished inflammatory markers which tend to be saturated in lupus and other autoimmune disorders, including IL-6 and TNF-alpha.
23) Conventional Utilization as a Venom Antidote
In India, Ashwagandha is used as a treatment for snake bites and scorpion stings. A compound from Ashwagandha inhibits cobra and viper venom in mouse and cell studies.
24) Morphine Dependence
Ashwagandha might assist in preventing people from creating a dependence on morphine, and it might help people that are already dependent wean themselves from morphine without intense withdrawal symptoms.
In a rat study, Ashwagandha extract decreased withdrawal symptoms and prevented morphine dependency. In neurons exposed directly to morphine, Ashwagandha infusion prevented the downregulation of opioid receptor activity. Thus, Ashwagandha might be useful to stop dependence when opioid painkillers are necessary.
25) Mild Hypothyroidism
Mild hypothyroidism, or very low thyroid hormones, occurs in 3-8% of people and is especially prevalent in women over 55. Remedy with levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone T4, frequently comes with more dangers than benefits; consequently, many people with mild migraines go untreated.
At a trial of 50 people with mild migraines, Ashwagandha extract normalized TSH and thyroid hormones (T3 and T4).
It also improved thyroid hormones in hypothyroid rodents and reduced oxidative stress and inflammation.
Ashwagandha is believed to increase thyroid hormones, but the available research is scarce.
Ashwagandha enhanced fatigue and quality of life in a trial of 100 cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
Several animal and research have proven that the components of Ashwagandha, particularly withaferin A, inhibit or destroy cancer cells.
What’s more, Ashwagandha can make the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel better against lung cancer, according to mouse research.
In cell and animal studies, Ashwagandha has slowed or reversed the development of several cancers, including:
Ashwagandha may support chemotherapy and improve the quality of life. Cell and animal studies are exploring if it may block the rise of different cancers, however far more robust research will be required.
Ashwagandha is a versatile conventional herb that is traditionally believed to relieve anxiety and anxiety. Its active components are investigated for cognitive and emotional benefits; they may also help manage neurological conditions from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia, but more study is needed.
The antioxidant properties of ashwagandha are hypothesized to protect the liver, lungs, brain, and kidneys. It might also prevent hormonal imbalances and improve sexual function in both women and men, but larger trials are required to verify its effectiveness and safety.