Benefits of Ashwagandha
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) also commonly known as Indian Ginseng is a perennial shrub with bright orange fruits when ripe. It has been used by Ayurveda for more than 3000 years as an adaptogen to relieve physical and mental stress. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other numerous benefits of Ashwagandha, some backed by science, others not so much. Below are some of the benefits of Ashwagandha that have been explained by science.
- Lower Blood Suger Levels (BSL): In a PubMed study it was discovered that Withaferin A, a withanolide found in the leaf extract of Ashwagandha is partially responsible for the anti-diabetic activities. Subjects were found to have higher insulin secretion and an improvement in insulin sensitivity. In other similar studies Ashwagandha has been reported to reduce BSL in schizophrenic and Diabetic patients faster than the commonly used oral medications or placebo.
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety Levels: In a study lasting 60 days, 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress were randomly placed in the Placebo group or the Drug study group and were medicated accordingly twice a day for a duration of 60 days. The Drug study group was medicated with tablets containing high concentration full spectrum extract of the Ashwagandha root. The study reached the conclusion that Ashwagandha root extract help improve the individual's resistance towards stress safely and efficiently. Similar results were observed when tested with subjects suffering from anxiety.
- Increase Testosterone Levels in Men: The root extract of Ashwagandha has been used for ages to treat male infertility. In a recent study, 46 male patients with oligospermia (sperm count < 20 million/mL semen) were divided randomly to be treated by placebo or Ashwagandha root extract for a duration of 90 days. At the end of the test period, it was observed that there was a 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume and 57% increase in sperm motility for the subjects treated with Ashwagandha root extract which was significantly more than placebo subjects. Ashwagandha basically reduces the cortisol (stress hormone) levels which in turn is a major factor for testosterone levels in men.
- Anti-Cancer Properties: The root and leaf extracts of Ashwagandha are found to have steroidal lactones commonly referred to as Withanolides. One such withanolide, Withferin A (WA) has been found to protect experimental rodents against chemically induced cancer. This anti cancer property of WA is being studied by scientists and oncologists worldwide for application purposes. Animal studies have shown Ashwagandha effective on a range of cancers and for reduction of tumor growth in rodents.
Ashwagandha is probably one of most trusted natural medicine out there as it is promoted by doctors today and centuries before alike. There are many other claimed benefits of Ashwagandha which are not backed by science. One of them is that Ashwagandha can increase the height of a person with regular intake. While Ashwagandha has been found to improve bone health and bone density, it has not been scientifically verified to actually stimulate the pituitary glands to secrete HGH. It also has some mild side effects that may vary from person to person. Having said that, Ashwagandha is one of the safest and most effective medicinal herbs that actually show results. Take one spoonful of Ashwagandha powder every night with a glass of milk and jaggery and you will be golden!
Stay healthy and have a nice day!
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