What is Ashwagandha
It is a perennial shrub of the nightshade family with yellow, foul-smelling flowers and orange fruits that resemble physalis. Botanically, this plant is known as Withania somnifera. And the name ashwagandha (ashwagandha) came from India (from Sanskrit Ashwagandha – “the smell of a horse”). It is also sometimes called “winter berry” and “Indian ginseng”.
For millennia, the powder from the roots and leaves of this plant has been usedSteroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine , A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Studyin Indian medicine to relieve stress, enhance immunity, increase energy and concentration. Today ashwagandha is available in supplement form, and numerous scientific studies confirm that “Indian ginseng” is really good for the body.
Why ashwagandha is beneficial
Many medicinal properties of the plant are attributed to the high concentration of vitanolides.Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine- lactoid steroids Vitaferin A and Vitanolide A, named after the plant itself. These bioactive molecules have beneficial effects on metabolism , hormone and neurotransmitter levels.
Helps Fight Stress
High levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase the risk of cardiovascularStress Can Increase Your Risk for Heart Diseaseand metabolicChronic stress, metabolism, and metabolic syndromediseases, promotes the growthStress May Cause Excess Abdominal Fat In Otherwise Slender Women, Study Conducted At Yale Showsbelly fat and negatively affectsStress Effects on Neuronal Structure: Hippocampus, Amygdala, and Prefrontal Cortex on cognitive functions.
Ashwagandha extract reducesA double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somniferacortisol levels by 28-30%A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults, A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study and helps to adapt to stressful factors.
In experimentA Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study In 2008, taking 125–250 mg of ashwagandha for 1–2 months significantly reduced symptoms of chronic stress: improved sleep and appetite, removed constant fatigue, irritability and forgetfulness, headaches and difficulty concentrating.
The same effect was observed in a later study.A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults… Taking two months of 600 mg of the supplement daily increased the participants’ ability to withstand stress and improved their quality of life.
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Relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression
This plant has a beneficial effect on the psyche. For example, in one study, taking ashwagandha supplements decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression by 71.6% in 6-8 weeks.A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults…
Perhaps this effect is due to the effectDirect evidence for GABAergic activity of Withania somnifera on mammalian ionotropic GABAA and GABAρ receptorson receptors of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. It is the main neurotransmitter that is involved in the processes of inhibition in the nervous system, and its deficiency is associatedGABA, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, and neurological disease with a wide range of mental illnesses.
Improves brain function
Ashwagandha positiveAshwagandha (Withania somnifera) reverses β-amyloid1-42 induced toxicity in human neuronal cells: implications in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) , Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions , Withania somnifera root powder protects againist post-traumatic stress disorder-induced memory impairmentaffects memory and other cognitive functions in people with brain impairment. Some researchers believe that Indian ginseng supplements can be used as part of therapy for these conditions.An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurvedalike dementia, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease and brain damage caused by stroke.
Ashwagandha can help healthy people too. A study found that taking 500 mg of ashwagandha per day for two weeks increasedEffect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants results of tests for cognitive and psychomotor functions.
Improves metabolic health
Ashwagandha increasesHypoglycemic activity of withanolides and elicitated Withania somniferainsulin production . As a result, cells are twice as good at absorbing glucose from the blood, which reducesEffects of Withania somnifera in patients of schizophrenia: A randomized, double blind, placebo controlled pilot trial study , A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Studysugar level similar to diabeticsHypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of winter cherry (Withania somnifera, Dunal) rootand in healthy people.
In addition, ashwagandha reducesHypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of winter cherry (Withania somnifera, Dunal) root , Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers , A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly in Reduces Stressically-Related Parameters Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Studythe level of cholesterol and, most importantly, the amount of LDL and very low density – compounds that increase the risk of clogging of blood vessels.
Thus, taking ashwagandha supplements can help prevent metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, especially for people who are overweight and have a sedentary lifestyle.
May help treat cancer
In vitro animal and cancer cell studies have shownMolecular targets and mechanisms of cancer prevention and treatment by withaferin a, a naturally occurring steroidal lactonethat Vitaferin A is able to induce apoptosis – the programmed death of cancer cells.
This substance providesWithaferin A Induces Cell Death Selectively in Androgen-Independent Prostate Cancer Cells but Not in Normal Fibroblast Cells production of reactive oxygen species inside cancer cells, thereby disrupting their function, increasing sensitivity to apoptosis and preventing the growth of new tumors.
In an experiment on mice with ovarian cancer , the intake of Vitaferin A reducedWithaferin a alone and in combination with cisplatin suppresses growth and metastasis of ovarian cancer by targeting putative cancer stem cellsswelling by 70-80% and prevented the spread to other organs. In other studiesEffect of Withania somnifera root extract on spontaneous estrogen receptor-negative mammary cancer in MMTV / Neu mice , Stabilization of membrane bound enzyme profiles and lipid peroxidation by Withania somnifera along with paclitaxel on benzo (a) pyrene induced experimental lung cancer , Immunomodulatory effects of Withania somnifera on azoxymethane induced experimental colon cancer in mice , AshwaMAX and Withaferin A inhibits gliomas in cellular and murine orthotopic models Ashwagandha extract has been shown to help improve breast, lung, intestinal and brain cancers.
Improves Reproductive Health in Men
Taking ashwagandha increasesEfficacy of Withania somnifera on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile males: a proton NMR study at 800 MHzsperm quantity and quality, increases the level of the male sex hormone testosteroneExamining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trialand luteinizingWithania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males a hormone that stimulates testosterone production in Leydig cells in the testes.
So, in one studyWithania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male FertilityTaking 5 grams of ashwagandha per day increased the sperm quality of infertile men. After three months, 14% of the partners of the participants became pregnant.
Increases strength and muscle mass
Since ashwagandha raises testosterone levels and improves muscle sensitivity to insulin, it is good for strength performance.
In one studyExploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers Taking 0.75–1.25 grams of ashwagandha per day for a month helped participants significantly increase the strength of the extensors of the back and quads, the muscles on the front of the thigh, as well as increase grip strength, increase muscle mass and reduce body fat.
In another experimentExamining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trialover eight weeks of training, the men who took the herb extract (300 mg twice daily) increased their bench press weight by 43% over the placebo group and 32% more in the leg extension. In addition, in the first group, strength training caused less damage, and according to the results of the experiment, they increased much more muscle mass. In men taking ashwagandha, arm girth increased 38% more than in the placebo group, and chest girth increased by 55%. The body fat, on the contrary, decreased – the first threw off 3.5% of fat, the second – only 1.5%.
Who shouldn’t try ashwagandha
Although side effects from taking ashwagandha are rare, there are people who are not recommended12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha experimenting with Indian herb:
- pregnant women and women during lactation;
- people with autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis , type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus, autoimmune thyroiditis;
- those who are taking medications for thyroid diseases;
- those taking drugs that affect blood sugar and blood pressure.
How to take ashwagandha supplements
In order for ashwagandha to bring only benefits to the body, be sure to consult with a therapist before taking it.
Ashwagandha is available in powder, tablet, or capsule form. Typically, one capsule contains 250 to 450 mg of powder from the roots and leaves of the shrub.
The daily allowance for this plant has not been determined. Most studies have taken 450-500 mg12 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha Ashwagandha per day gave good results and did not cause side effects. When choosing a dosage, be guided by the recommendations of the doctor and the manufacturer on the package.
In terms of course duration, in scientific experiments, people generally took the supplement for 2–3 months. This period did not cause addiction or withdrawal symptoms.