What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (pronounced osh-wah-gun-duh) is an herb that has been historically used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. This medicinal herb comes from the Withania somnifera shrub and may also be referred to as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry. Ashwagandha acts as a tonic for boosting stress resilience, energy, and performance for healthy adults.
This potent root extract is native to India and North Africa and is becoming more popular in the West. Thanks to new clinical trials and exciting research, the Ashwagandha root is gaining traction as a reliable herbal supplement to improve quality of life. Known as the "rejuvenator" in Ayurvedic medicine, see how this Withania Somnifera extract can help offer positive side effects to your overall brain function.
How Ashwagandha Works
Many of ashwagandha root's potent health benefits are due to its rich content of active compounds and extracts. This includes alkaloids and antioxidant compounds called withanolides. Alkaloids help protect your cells by acting as anti-inflammatory agents. You'll find this compound in traditional medicine like morphine, but it exists in a more natural form within Ashwagandha. Withanolides are technically considered a steroid that will help you metabolize energy in a better way as you fight fatigue.
The Ashwagandha root is known as an adaptogen. Adaptogens act as mental and physical stress-relieving agents by encouraging homeostasis within the body. One of the benefits of Ashwagandha is how it assists the tiny endocrine glands situated above the kidneys responsible for releasing the stress hormone cortisol. Clinical studies have shown Ashwagandha helps lower the amount of cortisol pumped out by these adrenal glands and, in doing so, reduces insomnia, anxiety disorder, over-eating, and burnout.
Research also suggests that Ashwagandha enhances gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signaling in the brain. GABA is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps prevent your neurons from spiking or getting over-excited. This gives your immune system and nervous system a sense of calm. GABA almost acts as a sedative or general tonic to give your body some peace with an alternative treatment. Even a few milligrams of an herbal drug like Ashwagandha can help signal the brain to slow down.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha serves a different purpose than traditional medicines and capsules, so it's natural that healthcare providers want to run each clinical test and pilot study before prescribing a specific dosage. Luckily, few adverse effects have been found, and there have been more signs of significant improvements for healthy adults as benefits of Ashwagandha. The following are some of the evidence-based benefits of using this Withania somnifera extract alternative treatment.
Regulates Stress and Anxiety
Ashwagandha is probably most well-known for regulating the stress response and maintaining a sense of calm within your immune system. Several studies have shown that ashwagandha extract reduces the feelings of chronic stress that are so common nowadays. Whether you're dealing with an anxiety disorder, oxidative stress, or just feeling overwhelmed in your central nervous system and brain function, you can see a significant increase in your stress response with this dietary supplement.
In a 2019 study, chronically stressed adults were given either a daily dose of ashwagandha or a placebo for two months. The results noted that ashwagandha significantly reduced feelings of stress and cortisol levels. Plus, the participants' sleep quality improved! Enjoy the protective effects of this natural extract as a general tonic to help you manage your stress.
Boosts Energy and Metabolism
Ashwagandha boosts energy and stamina. Research shows that Ashwagandha has a positive impact on the thyroid, therefore showing significant improvement for your energy production. This endocrine gland is responsible for producing the hormone thyroxine, needed for controlling metabolism and energy production. When the thyroid is functioning properly, healthy adults will have better chances to fight fatigue and improve energy.
In the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a study on subclinical hypothyroid patients found Ashwagandha normalized levels of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and the active thyroid hormone thyroxine. This use of Ashwagandha is successful for patients dealing with chronic stress or individuals just looking to improve regular brain function.
The potent antioxidants in ashwagandha—like withanolides—combat oxidative damage and quell inflammation in the body. This is significant because chronic inflammation is at the root of many chronic health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and more. Help prevent a variety of conditions by keeping your cells in check in the most successful way.
Improves Exercise Performance and Recovery
Ashwagandha is a useful natural supplement for athletes and exercise enthusiasts. Not only does it regulate stress and increase energy (important for optimal physical performance), but it also supports muscle strength and endurance for elite athletes.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found taking a dose of 600 mg of Ashwagandha root extract combined with a resistance training program enhanced muscle strength, muscle size, and loss of body fat. Participants taking Ashwagandha also avoided exercise-induced muscle damage, indicating improved exercise recovery and the efficacy of a high-concentration Ashwagandha routine for athletes.
Make Ashwagandha Part of Your Daily Diet
Okay, you knew it was coming ... time for a shameless plug. Do you think the benefits of adding Ashwagandha to your daily diet could help? Create a personalized daily vitamin pack that includes Ashwagandha and any other vitamins, minerals, or supplements you think could help. Start by adding Ashwagandha to your customized VitaRx Kit here!