Ashwagandha is the common name of Withania Somnifera, an ancient herb that has gained popularity as a potential dietary supplement for countering the stresses we experience in modern life.
Research classifies Ashwagandha as an “adaptogen” meaning that it can potentially support stress relief.
Ashwagandha has also been found to offer a variety of benefits for the mind and body. From enhancing the brain’s abilities to balancing blood sugar levels and even improving one’s mood.
We acknowledge that Ashwagandha is a herb that is brimming with potential so we delved into the world of all things ‘shwagandha and compiled a helpful factfile — from what it is, to the benefits stated by science and how to implement it into your diet — if you have questions, we have got you covered.
So here’s all you need to know about this powerful adaptogen.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a plant that is native to India. You often hear terms like “Ashwagandha root” or “Ashwagandha berry” in supplements because the roots and berries are the parts of the Ashwagandha plant that is used to make medicine and supplements.
Ashwagandha is described as the “Indian Ginseng” in Ayurvedic, Unani, and Indian medicine. It is believed to treat a variety of ailments such as increasing longevity, recovery rates, and improving sexual function.
Due to its adaptogenic properties, modern-day scientists have begun exploring and researching the health benefits that ashwagandha has to offer.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
A growing body of scientific literature suggests that Ashwagandha is a safe supplement that can potentially be very effective for improving cognitive and brain function, as well as boosting general health and wellness.
Ashwagandha helps decrease stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is known for its adaptogenic properties and its ability to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Clinical trials found that Ashwagandha was able to reduce general and social anxiety in individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorders when placed in stressful situations (1).
Research also found that Ashwagandha was particularly effective in reducing the stress hormone, cortisol (2).
Elevated levels of cortisol over a prolonged period of time not only serves as an indicator of high stress and anxiety levels, but it also has adverse effects on overall well-being such as weight gain, high blood pressure and increased risks of contracting chronic diseases.
Recent studies also suggest that Ashwagandha may alleviate symptoms of depression. A 60-day study found that consuming 600 mg Ashwagandha extract led to a 79 percent reduction in severe depression symptoms among chronically stressed adults (3).
Overall, one reason Ashwagandha helps alleviate stress and anxiety is by reducing the body’s production of cortisol. In the future Ashwagandha may be an alternative treatment method for individuals who are suffering from chronic stress, anxiety, and even mood disorders.
Ashwagandha may enhance brain functioning
While Ashwagandha was traditionally used only in Ayurvedic practice to boost memory, recent research suggests that this natural herb may indeed have positive benefits for the brain.
Studies have revealed that individuals who consumed 300-500mg Ashwagandha Root Extract daily saw noticeable improvements in performance tasks involving reaction time, general memory and attention span. All of which are indicative of enhanced psychomotor skills (4,5).
Anxiety, additionally, is a key factor that can hinder cognitive abilities such as concentration and memory. Being able to decrease anxiety levels may also indirectly improve cognitive performance.
Scientists have also begun exploring using Ashwagandha as a possible treatment method for neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent studies indicate that Ashwagandha hampers the formation of a compound known as beta-amyloid. This amino acid accumulates in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and impedes the brain’s ability to process information — leading to the cognitive decline experienced by Alzheimer’s patients (6).
Despite being only in its preliminary phase of research, the findings on Ashwagandha’s ability to enhance brain and cognitive functioning are extremely optimistic. Combined with improvements in scientific technologies, Ashwagandha could serve as a full-fledged neuroprotectant to not only patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, but for the general public as well.
Ashwagandha could reduce the risk of heart diseases
The stress reduction benefits of Ashwagandha may have additional benefits to individuals with heart-health issues too.
For example, high-stress levels are often associated with increased weight gain due to increased food consumption. A study found that consuming 300mg Ashwagandha twice per day reduced cortisol levels and perceived stress symptoms among individuals who were chronically stressed. As a result, they experienced a decrease in food cravings and therefore reduced or maintained body weight (7).
Ashwagandha helps decrease the risks of heart disease by lowering “bad” cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation. A 60-day study found that participants who consumed 250mg Ashwagandha Extract saw their LDL cholesterol decreased by 17 percent and their triglycerides decrease by 11 percent (2).
Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory properties reduce C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation. CRP has been found to be linked with higher risks of heart disease, and Ashwagandha supplementation is able to successfully reduce CRP levels by up to 36 percent.
Ashwagandha is also seen to improve blood pressure levels. A study conducted over a period of six months found that a 5.6 percent decrease in diastolic pressure and 1.6 percent in systolic pressure (3) could be observed with standard doses.
Overall, the combined effects of lowering body weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure may help reduce the risks of heart disease in the long run.
Ashwagandha can elevate testosterone levels in men
Ashwagandha supplements may have powerful benefits on testosterone levels and the sexual health of men.
For example, men who were treated with Ashwagandha reported a significant increase in testosterone levels, sperm count (163 percent), semen volume (53 percent) and motility (57 percent) (8).
As such Ashwagandha could be helpful if you are experiencing fertility or sexual issues.
How Ashwagandha works
Ashwagandha contains chemical compounds that might help calm the brain, reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure and strengthen the immune system.
For example, Ashwagandha helps circulate an amino acid known as GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This may help serve as a natural tranquilizer to reduce excessive activity in the brain when stimulated.
Furthermore its antioxidative properties may help protect brain cells from the oxidizing damage caused by free radicals. This may play a role in slowing down neurodegenerative diseases.
While the exact mechanisms of how Ashwagandha works have not been entirely laid out and explored, its properties display benefits that have been proven through scientific experiments and these cannot be overlooked. Its nootropic properties have great potential.
What dosage of Ashwagandha should I consume?
Based on existing scientific research, Examine.com recommends the consumption of 300-500mg Ashwagandha Root Extract with meals.
While more research is required to determine if higher doses lead to more benefits, some studies have found that lower dosages of 50-100mg can occasionally result in some stress reduction effects.
So it is best to stick to the recommended dosage of 300-500mg of Ashwagandha Root Extract per day. If it is your first time starting on Ashwagandha supplementation, you can consider starting with lower doses to see how your body reacts to it (9).
When choosing an Ashwagandha supplement, it is always important to make sure that you are provided with the right amount of ingredients. If your supplement does not provide you the minimum amount daily, you might not be able to achieve any noticeable benefits that this superfood has to offer.
If you’re looking for a supplement that includes Ashwagandha in the right amount, SuperGreen Tonik premium greens could just be the one for you.
One serving of SuperGreen Tonik contains 500mg Ashwagandha Root Extract, which has been proven to be effective in eliciting enhanced physical and mental health (see references).
Additionally SuperGreen Tonik is packed with micronutrients and other superfoods which work in unison to ensure that you hit your daily nutritional requirements, as well as improve your overall physical and mental well-being — making sure that you continuously stay on top of your game amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Side effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is safe for consumption and is well-tolerated when taken in moderate amounts.
Side effects are rare and they only surface when individuals consume excessive amounts of Ashwagandha.
Common side effects reported are indigestion, loose bowels, some abdominal discomfort, and drowsiness (10).
Individuals on long-term medication should always consult a medical practitioner before consuming Ashwagandha. This is because there could be certain interactions with other drugs.
Summary of Ashwagandha Root
Ashwagandha has been shown to be an effective adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries. This is why its one of the one of the key SuperGreen TONIK ingredients.
The current science on Ashwagandha indicates can be beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety, brain functioning, fertility, and various health markers.
The current findings on Ashwagandha are extremely optimistic and it could be used as an alternative treatment method for stress, mood, and neurodegenerative disorders in the future.
While Ashwangdha is safe and well-tolerated, it should not be consumed in excessive amounts.
Always look for products that offer Ashwagandha in the optimal amounts. SuperGreen Tonik contains the right amount of Ashwagandha along with other variety of superfoods to help you meet your nutritional need and optimize your health and well-being.