Ashwagandha or Withania Somnifera is another amazing nootropic. Every part of this plant comes with various uses. And like Bacopa Monnieri, it’s also classified as an adaptogen. It has the ability to help users adapt to stress.
The name ‘Ashwagandha’ comes from the words, ‘ashva’ and ‘gandha’. Ashva means horse and gandha means smell. The plant is often described to have a horse-like, strong smell.
In Ayurvedic medicine, this herb is known as the Indian ginseng. It’s also used in traditional African medicine. Let’s talk further about the health benefits of Ashwagandha.
The role of botanicals in minimizing stress has long been studied. Stress prevents individuals from reaching their full potential in everyday tasks.
A healthy adrenal function is critical in stress management. Adrenals produce hormones responsible for the body’s reaction to stress. If the adrenals are taxed due to stress, other hormones in the body are adversely affected too.
Ashwagandha is known to decrease the effects of chronic stress. This includes ulcer derived from stress and the negative effects of stress on a person’s ability to recall tasks they learn.
In the same study, it was also found that the plant doesn’t seem to cause a condition called ginseng abuse syndrome.
Ashwagandha has the ability to help relieve stress and anxiety.
In a study participated by employees with moderate to severe anxiety, it was found that those who received the herbal medicine or those in the naturopathic care group registered lower levels of anxiety.
The group also received dietary counseling and a standard multivitamin. They as well practiced deep breathing relaxation techniques.
Researchers also underlined that the herb did not display negative side effects as opposed to other anti-anxiety drugs.
If you’ve been battling with thyroid problems, ashwagandha may be beneficial for you. This herb is known to help treat thyroid dysfunctions.
In a pilot study conducted in India, ashwagandha root extracts were provided to participants. Results indicated that the plant may help normalize thyroid levels in patients with subclinical hypothyroid.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is also known as mild thyroid failure.
Ashwagandha is also known for its potential to help balance blood sugar levels.
A study conducted on animals showed that this nootropic can help regulate blood sugar among diabetic rats.
A clinical trial conducted in India also showed that ashwagandha has the ability to lower blood sugar levels, comparable to the effects of oral drugs for hypoglycemia.
Ashwagandha contains withanolides. Withanolides are natural steroids that help improve the brain’s cognitive functions. In one study, ashwagandha extracts were administered to rats in a 30-day test.
The results revealed that the plant helps reverse behavioral deficits and plaque buildup, among others. All of which play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ashwagandha is also known to help boost the immune system.
A study conducted at Kyushu University in Japan showed that herbal medicines, including ashwagandha, can help enhance immune function. It does this by stimulating the release of immunoglobulin.
Immunoglobulin is a class of proteins that serve as antibodies. They are found in the cells of the immune system.
The herbal medicine is also found to improve body endurance during physical activities.
A study conducted in India revealed that Ashwagandha root extract improves both the cardiorespiratory endurance and the quality of life of healthy athletic adults.
Fifty healthy male and female athletes participated in the study. Their oxygen consumption was measured at the peak of their physical activity.
Ayurvedic medicine also describes ashwagandha as a natural aphrodisiac.
In one study, its root extracts were administered to 50 healthy women. Results showed that participants scored higher in sexual function.
In another study participated by 75 fertile men and another 75 that are undergoing infertility screening, it was found that ashwagandha helped improve sperm count and activity.
In a study conducted in Pittsburgh, root and leaf extracts of the plant were found to protect experimental rodents against chemically-induced cancers.
Another study conducted in Osaka, Japan mentioned the ability of ashwagandha to bring about apoptosis or cell death in various tumor cell types.
A study conducted in Mumbai, India evaluated the safe dosage of ashwagandha among 18 healthy volunteers. They were given ashwagandha capsules every day for 30 days, with the dosage increasing every 10 days.
Results showed a significant increase in strength in muscle activity. Total body fat percentage was also reduced.
Another study looked into the potential effects of the plant’s root extracts on the muscle mass and strength among healthy young men that are active in resistance training.
Results showed that the group treated with ashwagandha significantly increased their muscle strength on the leg extension and bench press exercises, as compared to those in the placebo group.
A study conducted on rodent subjects found that ashwagandha can help promote heart health by reducing cholesterol levels.
A study conducted on human subjects experiencing chronic stress, on the other hand, revealed that ashwagandha significantly reduced bad cholesterol levels.
Ashwagandha is generally safe for most people. However, the effects of its long-term use are still unknown.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are warned against the use of ashwagandha as it might result in miscarriages. If you are diabetic, be sure to track your blood sugar levels. The use of ashwagandha may interfere with the regular medications you’re taking.
The same goes if you have high or low blood pressure. Always monitor your blood pressure level to check whether ashwagandha interferes with your medications.
It’s no longer surprising why ashwagandha is popular among nootropic users.
If you have health concerns that this natural remedy can help address, talk to your doctor about it. Who knows, the solution you’re looking for might be in this Ayurvedic medicine.
After all, ashwagandha has been in use to treat a variety of ailments for over a thousand years now. It’ll be great if you can add yourself to the list of those who found wonders in this nootropic.