Sunday, June 23, 2024

Top 5 Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Reetika Choudhury

Ashwagandha is a plant, which is known for boosting energy, improving overall health, and reducing inflammation, pain and anxiety, which is why it is also used as a popular herbal medicine. If you’re often nervous or stressed, someone has probably recommended Ashwagandha to you, praising its many benefits. But if you’re doubtful about herbal remedies, you might not have looked into Ashwagandha yet, here we shall explain the basics and share some scientifically proven benefits of using it.

What is Ashwagandha?

The name “Ashwagandha” comes from Sanskrit, meaning “smell of the horse.” This refers to both the herb’s distinctive odor and its reputed capacity to enhance strength.

Commonly referred to as “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng”, is an evergreen shrub with yellow flowers native to India, Africa, and regions of the Middle East.

What are its benefits?

  • Reduce blood sugar level Preliminary evidence suggested that ashwagandha had benefitted individuals with diabetes or high blood sugar levels. It is found that ashwagandha significantly reduced blood sugar, HbA1z, insulin, blood lipids and oxidative stress markers. This is because of the compounds in ashwagandha, such as withaferin A, which exhibit potent antidiabetic activity and help stimulate glucose uptake from the bloodstream. This suggests that ashwagandha may help in managing diabetes, though larger and longer-term studies are necessary to confirm this.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety Ashwagandha is well-known for reducing stress. It’s an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body manage stress. You may know that uncontrolled stress can lead to heart disease. Research shows that ashwagandha supplements can reduce stress and anxiety. In four studies, people with a history of anxiety took 125mg-1000mg of ashwagandha extract daily for one-two months. It was reported that they started feeling lower levels of anxiety and stress. Ashwagandha controls the mediators of stress, including heat shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol, and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1). It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a system in our body that regulates the stress response. Thus, if you are stressed, then invest in consuming Ashwagandha by listening to your heart.
  • Effective against Cancer Ashwagandha improves long-term illnesses like brain strokes, all forms of cancer including prostate and lung cancers, especially in the last stages, giving the patients a lot of health benefits. Research shows that ashwagandha helps to stop cancer cells from growing. A component found in ashwagandha, called withaferin, aids in the induction of apoptosis, which is conditioned to kill cancer cells.
  • Improves Sleep Quality Many people take ashwagandha for restful sleep and some research shows that it helps with sleep issues. In a study, it was found that people with insomnia who took 300mg of ashwagandha twice daily had fallen asleep faster and had better sleep quality than people who took a placebo. It also helped people feel more alert when they woke up.
  • Promote muscle growth and increasing strength If you love going to the gym and working out every day, ashwagandha could be a great addition to your routine. Research shows that taking around 1gm of ashwagandha daily can improve your muscle strength in just a month. Additionally, ashwagandha can help with weight gain. If you’ve been trying to gain weight without success, try taking ashwagandha for at least a month.

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