Benefits of Ashwagandha (WS)

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda herb. It grows in India, Pakistan, Spain, Africa, parts of the Middle East, and part of Asia. Traditional medicine uses the leaves, fruits, seeds, shoots, and roots of this plant as multiple remedies.

Ashwagandha root is also called Indian ginseng, winter cherry and somnifera root. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-fatigue, anti-stress, and adaptogenic properties.

Anxiety & Stress

Five studies concluded that WS intervention resulted in greater score improvements (significantly in most cases), than placebo in outcomes on anxiety and stress scales. To is to say, anxiety decrease by 56.5% and stress by 44%. [1]

Another study supports the use of Ashwagandha acts as a mood stabilizer in clinical conditions of anxiety and depression in Ayurveda. Moreover, this study suggest that it not only reduces stress and anxiety, but also morning cortisol levels.

In a 2009 study, compared Ashwagandha to pharmaceutical drugs lorazepam and imipramine, The study showed similar efficacy without the side effects.

Muscle Mass & Strength

ashwagandha powderA study reports that WS supplementation is associated with significant increase in muscle mass and strength. Moreover, it also suggests that it may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program. [2]

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Withaferin A, (contained in Ashwagandha leaves and roots), exhibits fairly potent anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory activities. To clarify, anti-inflammatory activity has been attributed to biologically active steroids, of which Withaferin A is a major component.

It is as effective as hydrocortisone sodium succinate dose for dose. Above all, it was found to suppress effectively arthritic syndrome without any toxic effect.

Anti-ageing Properties

Double-blind clinical trial carried out to study the effect of plant on prevention of ageing in 101 normal healthy males in 50-59 years age group. Consequently, AW root powder (0.5 g) was given orally three times a day for 1 year.

As a result, the outcome showed statistically significant increase in Hb (hemoglobin), RBC (red blood cell count, hair melanin and lower cholesterol. [3]

Benefits for Brain

An extensive study using in vivo and in vitro model systems provides first ever pre-clinical evidence that Ashwagandha can be used as a promising natural therapeutic remedial for the prevention of neuro-degeneration and cognitive impairments. [4]

Treatment development for cognitive impairments in bipolar disorder is truly in its infancy; extracts of WS may hold promise as a potential treatment option. The bioactive constituents of Ashwagandha, include withanolides, indosides, Withaferin A, and others. They possess anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-oxidant, cortisol lowering, anti-stress, pro-cholinergic, anti-glutamatergic and neuro-protective properties, the very processes that are thought to underlie cognitive impairments not only in bipolar disorders but also in other psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and major depression.

Benefits for Memory & Cognition

Cognitive decline is often associated with the aging process. As a result, WS has long been used in the traditional Ayurvedic (Indian) system of medicine to enhance memory and improve cognition.

A eight week study showed that a group treated with WS demonstrated significant improvements compared with the placebo group in both immediate and general memory.

Moreover, the study also demonstrated significantly greater improvement in executive function, sustained attention, and information-processing speed. [5]

Benefits for Hair

It has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Therefore, it might improve scalp and hair health.

Tyrosine, an amino acid found in its composition, stimulates the production of melanin and inhibiting the loss of it. Most importantly, it might combat free radicals, protect from the sun and slow down the aging process in skin and hair.

Decrease of hair loss has been reported. The stimulation of the production of collagen and sebum may help healthy hair growth through its stimulation of DHEA. DHEA is naturally occurring hormone in the body, which slows down or reverses aging.

Its anti-inflammatory properties can combat dandruff and other issues, such as scalp eczema and psoriasis.

In Conclusion

Studies indicate WS possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, ant-depression and rejuvenating properties. It also appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems.

Therefore, WS seems to be quite powerful on its own, or combined with other ingredients. [6]

Warnings

Ashwaganda should never be taken by pregnant women, nursing mothers, hyperthyroidism or people with a sensitivity to plants in the nightshade family. The nightshade family includes tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes, eggplant. If you have an auto-immune disease or irritable bowel disease use caution with WS. Always consult with your physician for possible medication/supplement inter-actions.

Hundreds of positive reviews regarding Ashwagandha stress and anxiety relief.

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