Ashwagandha is a legendary medicinal herb with a wide range of documented medical benefits.
Derived from the evergreen shrub of the same name and found throughout India, the Middle East and swaths of North Africa, the use of ashwagandha stretches back to ~6,000 BCE.
At that time, the now-beloved herb found its way into the Ayurveda, India’s treasured system of natural medicine, and grew in notoriety across the region.
Also known as “Indian Ginseng,” the herb quickly developed a reputation in Indian medicine as an incredible adaptogen: a plant that fights physical, chemical and biological stressors.
In the many centuries since, medical practitioners further developed an incredibly extensive range of uses for ashwagandha - - such as improved memory and iimmune function, enhanced fertility and more - - as we will discuss below.
Emphasizing that point, ashwagandha is even on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) monograph of medicinal plants, a prestigious honor exhibiting the herb’s worldwide acclaim and influence.
With that well-deserved, glowing introduction out of the way, let’s dive into Living Proof’s 7 Wellness Benefits of Ashwagandha:
Ashwagandha is most famously an adaptogen, so there’s no better benefit to begin with than the herb’s powerful ability to mitigate many types of stress:
According to a highly in-depth study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the medicinal herb was “associated with a significant reduction of stress levels in individuals and improved the overall quality of life” for the vast majority of patients tested.
In no uncertain terms, this means that ashwagandha can be a safe, reliable treatment option for the billions of patients worldwide suffering from stress and anxiety caused by physical, chemical and biological stressors.
Unlike expensive treatments or those with potentially adverse side effects (such as addiction), ashwagandha is an affordable, natural adaptogen with the power to improve people’s daily lives and help reduce the incidence of stress-related illnesses like heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal distress, depression and many others.
According to the NIH’s reputable 2017 study, a group treated with the medicinal herb “demonstrated significant improvements compared with the placebo group in both immediate and general memory” compared to the control group.
These benefits mirrored the study’s other tests of cognitive function, which revealed that those treated with ashwagandha “demonstrated significantly greater improvement in executive function, sustained attention and information-processing speed.”
Corroborated by data from the Natural Medicine Journal, which reveals significant boosts in short and long-term focus among ashwagandha patients, these results emphasize the herb’s utility to the human brain.
Endurance and strength are two physical components of a strong, successful human. Fortunately, ashwagandha can substantially contribute to both:
According to research from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2010, Withania somnifera (ashwagandha’s scientific name) can reduce symptoms of general weakness like poor muscular strength and weak neuro-muscular coordination, thereby increasing one’s general endurance.
Similar studies from Science Direct show that ashwagandha can also boost “cardiorespiratory endurance and recovery,” making it easier for adults to withstand the physical effects of vigorous exercise in addition to essential daily activities.
A robust immune system is pivotal to your health. Without it, your body cannot carry out its most basic functions and protect itself from foreign invaders that cause it harm.
Research from the National Institute of Health (NIH), National University of Natural Medicine (NUMN) and Frontiers in Pharmacology repeatedly show that ashwagandha bolsters the human immune system in significant, lasting ways:
NIH studies reveal that the herb can stimulate meaningful “anti-inflammatory effects to restore immune homeostasis” in treated patients; this benefit allows the body to more quickly and thoroughly repair itself in the face of threats to its immune function.
Similarly, NUMN research reveals that ashwagandha strengthens “the body’s first-line defense cells,” stimulating a “significant overall increase in the level of white blood cell activation.”
We all know the pain and suffering that cancer inflicts on countless people worldwide.
Thankfully, there are ways to potentially reduce your chances of a cancer diagnosis, such as the use of ashwagandha:
According to robust National Institute of Health (NIH) research, “Indian Ginseng” is effective as an anticancer therapeutic that can help reduce the incidence of a wide range of cancers, including:
While NO supplement can fully guarantee cancer prevention, a healthy lifestyle aided by beneficial supplements like ashwagandha can undoubtedly help.
When discussing the benefits of ashwagandha, some people forget to mention the herb’s potentially powerful and positive effects on fertility and hormone regulation - - particularly in males:
According to a preliminary 2017 study from the National Institute of Health (NIH), ashwagandha shows the ability to measurably improve semen parameters (concentration, volume and motility), making it more likely for men to procreate successfully.
Similarly, a randomized, double-blind 2019 study, also from the NIH, reveals that the medicinal herb can help boost the presence of hormones like testosterone and DHEA-S in men, which are “commonly considered to have positive health-enhancing effects.”
Last but not least, research shows that ashwagandha can help regulate blood sugar, reduce body fat and improve thyroid health.
A 2020 study from the NIH yields results that show the herb can help diabetics manage their blood sugar by “restoring [negatively] altered levels of blood glucose.” This is a crucial benefit for people with diabetes and will undoubtedly receive further research and examination.
Likewise, a comprehensive study published by the NIH in 2017 claims that ashwagandha may also help patients regulate their weight by reducing the impact of chronic stress, a major contributing factor to obesity.
Lastly, another reputable NIH report from 2018 produced data showing that ashwagandha can “normalize thyroid indices in subclinical hypothyroid patients,” contributing to healthier thyroid function over a more extended period.
Ashwagandha can be found as a supplement in capsule or tablet form, as a powder, tincture and tea.