12 Benefits of Ashwagandha for Your Health + Supplements and Uses
Despite being successfully used in other cultures, Western medicine has been delayed in its acceptance of alternative therapies and treatments. Thankfully, science has produced research that supports the beneficial health benefits of herbs like ashwagandha.
No, that wasn’t the sound of a sneeze. Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that can benefit your physical and mental health and promote overall well-being. Here’s everything you need to know about this wonderful herb.
Can You Say Ashwagandha?
This medicinal herb has been used by ancient medicine practices for centuries. It is classified as an adaptogen because it has the ability to help your body control stress. In doing so, your body is physically and mentally better equipped to handle stress and overcome illness.
It has also been known to boost the immune system after an illness, promote homeostasis, and allow your body to heal and replenish.
Used in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha benefits the immunological, neurological, endocrine, and reproductive systems. This ancient practice centers on healing people without surgeries and medications and this herb played a critical role in the healing processes.
With science now supporting many of the popular claims of the healing herb, many people are beginning to enjoy the extensive health benefits it offers in place of drugs and painful procedures.
You’ll Love Ashwagandha Because…
Here are the 12 biggest reasons you should consider taking an ashwagandha-containing supplement.
1. Boosts Your Immune System
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body, reduce inflammation and enhance the function of your immune system. Because inflammation can slow down the immune system, ashwagandha is beneficial in controlling this and preventing your immune system becoming overly compromised.
2. Controls Inflammation
Inflammation not only compromises your immune system, but it is involved in several serious diseases like heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Ashwagandha reduces inflammatory markers and increases the activity of natural killer cells. These cells fight infections which reduces the need for inflammation.
3. Helps Fight Cancer
Ashwagandha extract has anti-tumor properties which allow it to reduce tumor growth. Treatment of ashwagandha in cancer patients results in an increased number of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting pathogens. This is thought to be beneficial after chemotherapy which eradicates many of these cells, leaving you vulnerable to illness. It is believed that these immune boosting properties allow the body to inhibit the growth of new cancer cells.
4. It Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Ashwagandha increases insulin secretion and improves insulin sensitivity which is beneficial to diabetics. In addition to this, the herb has the ability to lower blood sugar levels more efficiently than the leading diabetes medications. Inflammation plays a part in diabetes, and the anti-inflammatory powers of ashwagandha help mediate this, thereby helping relieve inflammatory-related pain.
5. Supports Thyroid Function
Studies have shown that ashwagandha helps support thyroid health and specifically can improve function in underactive thyroids. Because of the control over hormones that your thyroid has, any dysfunction can have widespread effects. Regular treatment with ashwagandha increased thyroid function in individuals with hypothyroidism and Grave’s disease.
6. Lowers Cholesterol
Ashwagandha can protect your heart by controlling inflammation and also by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Decreasing these dangerous blood fats protects you from clogged arteries, atherosclerosis and blood vessel damage that can lead to heart disease.
7. Increases Fertility and Sexual Function
If you are not a fan of oysters you can always try ashwagandha instead, as it is another great natural aphrodisiac. Studies found that extracts taken for two weeks improves male fertility and boosts testosterone levels. Along with a stronger sex drive, males also benefited from increased antioxidant levels and increased sperm count without having to visit a fertility clinic.
8. Relieves Anxiety
Stress is a natural part of your life. The trouble is that chronic stress and worry can damage your body through excessive inflammation and oxidative damage. Deep breathing with ashwagandha herbs has been shown to promote a calming effect over the body, relieving stress and anxious thoughts. With anxiety medications also causing potentially harmful side effects, a natural option is preferred, and ashwagandha seems to be the herb for the job.
9. Controls Cortisol Levels
The impact ashwagandha has over stress lies in its ability to control the levels of cortisol in your body. This is the stress hormone that is released as a result of feeling stress, perceived or real. Cortisol is also released when your blood sugar levels are too low. Too much cortisol not only increases anxiety, but it also can elevate your blood sugar to dangerous levels and increase fat storage around your stomach. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in stressed individuals, thereby protecting you from the potential damage that may follow prolonged periods of stress.
10. Relieves Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in the country and antidepressants can often make symptoms worse. Ashwagandha helps your body tolerate stress better and can improve a person’s self-assessment and outlook. By regulating hormonal balances, this herb can help relieve depressive feelings and symptoms. Studies have found that ashwagandha treatments provide antidepressant relief comparable to the leading medications but without negative side effects.
11. Increases Strength, Muscles, and Stamina
Staying healthy involves staying fit and ashwagandha can help to improve your muscle mass and increase stamina and strength. In a study with resistance training, individuals that used ashwagandha supplements showed reduced muscle damage, increased testosterone, increased muscle size and endurance as well as lower body fat percentages.
12. Boosts Your Brain Power
Aging increases oxidative damage which destroys brain function. Ashwagandha extracts helps to improve brain function by relieving stress and providing antioxidant support. Brain cell degeneration is reduced while cognition, attention, and memory improve with this herb, making it a powerful ally for individuals suffering with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The Essential Element
You may not be able to pronounce it, but ashwagandha is a medicinal herb you should get to know. Whether you are looking to treat a specific health condition or just improve your overall health and well-being, a regular ashwagandha supplement will give you the results you are looking for.