The Ashwagandha (also known as Withania somnifera ) is a very healthy medicinal herb, from countries such as India or Pakistan, which has gained great popularity in our latitudes.
Traditionally used as a tea in the East, Aswhagandha offers all kinds of diverse benefits for the body and the brain. For example, it helps lower blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), boost brain function and even help fight the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Despite the skepticism with which the healthy contributions of this type of herbs are still received, the benefits of the Ashwagandha are supported by diverse analyzes. We present 10 of these benefits backed by scientific studies.
10 Benefits of the Ashwagandha
1.It can reduce the levels of sugar in the blood
Several studies on Ashwagandha have shown that its consumption can have effects on the reduction of blood sugar levels. For example, a test tube study found that Ashwagandha increases insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.
Several studies in humans have also confirmed its effectiveness in reducing blood sugar levels, both in healthy people and people with diabetes or similar conditions. For example, in a study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with Ashwagandha for 4 weeks had an average reduction in fasting blood glucose levels of 13.5 milligrams per deciliter, compared to a reduction of 4.5 milligrams per deciliter. in those who received a placebo.
2.It can help prevent cancer
Several studies, both in animals and test tubes, have discovered that Ashwagandha promotes apoptosis or “programmed cell death” of cancer cells, keeping the processes of cell renewal alive. Likewise, Ashwagandha prevents the growth of new cancer cells, through various forms, for example by generating reactive oxygen species, which are toxic to cancer cells but not to normal cells.
The research Ashwagandha made in animals suggest it may be beneficial for treating various cancers, including breast, lung, colon, brain and ovarian cancer, expected benefits that could manifest itself with equal impact in humans.
Properties of the Ashwagandha
3.Reduce cortisol levels
Known as “the stress hormone”, cortisol is pumped by the adrenal glands in response to unpleasant stimuli. When their levels become very high, blood sugar levels can go up. This is decisive in the accumulation of extra mass in the abdomen.
Studies have shown that Ashwagandha can help reduce cortisol levels, leading to more balanced points.
In a controlled study of adults suffering from chronic stress, the group that supplemented their Ashwagandha diet had a significantly greater reduction in cortisol than the control group. In this sense, the group that received the highest dose had a reduction of 30%, on average.
Benefits demonstrated by the science of the Withania somnifera
4.It can reduce the levels of stress and anxiety
Perhaps for its traditional use as tea, the Withania somnifera is mostly known for its ability to reduce stress. Science has shown that this could be quite true.
An investigation with Ashwagandha that studied its effects in the brains of a group of rats, demonstrated that this grass blocks the route of the tension by means of the regulation of the chemical signals emitted in the nervous system. On the other hand, in humans the following results have been found:
- In a 60-day study of 64 people with chronic stress, those in the Ashwagandha group reported an average 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to 11% in the placebo group.
- In another similar study that lasted 6 weeks, 88% of people who took Ashwagandha showed a reduction in anxiety, compared to 50% who took a placebo.
5.Could reduce the symptoms of depression
Although one cannot speak of forceful studies in this regard, some studies suggest that Ashwagandha can help relieve depression in humans.
In a 60-day controlled study in adults with stress, those who took 600 mg of Ashwagandha per day reported a 79 % reduction in symptoms of severe depression. At the same time, the placebo group reported an increase in stress of 10%.
Benefits of the Withania somnifera for health
6.Can promote the increase of testosterone and fertility in men
The supplements of Ashwagandha can have powerful effects and almost miraculous on male hormone levels and reproductive health.
In a study of 75 men declared infertile, one group was given Ashwagandha and the other a placebo. The group treated with Ashwagandha had an increase in the sperm count and their motility. In addition, the treatment increased the testosterone levels and the sperm quality of the volunteers.
7.Increase muscle mass and strength
Another study has shown that Ashwagandha can improve body and muscle composition and increase strength.
A purpose of the study was to determine how much Ashwagandha is safe and efficient. Healthy volunteers who took 750-1250 mg per day ended up gaining muscle mass and presenting a significant loss of fat after 30 days of having consumed it.
In another study, the Ashwagandha group showed significantly greater gains in terms of strength and muscle size of their anatomy. That group also had more than double the reduction in body fat percentage compared to the group that consumed the placebo.
Several studies in animals have shown that Ashwagandha helps reduce inflammation. Studies in humans, on the other hand, have found that this plant increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infections and help keep us healthy.
It has also been shown that this herb decreases the markers of elements that generate inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
9.Helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides
Withania somnifera can help improve heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Some studies in animals have established relationships between this herb and the significant decrease of fats in the blood. A study in rats, for example, found that Ashwagandha decreases total cholesterol by 53% and triglycerides by almost 45%.
Studies in humans have shown similar results, although with less striking figures.
10.Improves brain functions such as memory
Finally, some research has shown that Ashwagandha promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from the radical damage to which they are exposed by wear.
A study with epileptic rats treated with Ashwagandha ended with a complete reversal of the deterioration of spatial memory they suffered. This positive effect could have been a consequence of a reduction in oxidative stress thanks to the consumption of this herb.
Despite these good results, since Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to improve memory in Ayurvedic practice, there is currently little research in humans in this area. The good results, although promising, still need more research.