Ashwagandha, also known as ‘Indian Winter Cherry’, is an ancient medicinal herb. It is used in Ayurveda, alternative medicine that originated from India. In recent years, it appeared an high number of times and with impressive results in randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled, proving to have tangible effects on health.
The herb is classified as an adaptogen, which means that it helps combat stress.
Nowadays, ashwagandha is a commonly used supplement among athletes, active and busy people, who value high performance and productivity. Numerous studies suggest that this herb can provide significant health benefits.
Top 5 Benefits of Ashwagandha
1. Might help decrease stress levels and anxiety.
Everyone experiences stress. It is a normal human reaction when changes occur. However, too much stress too often can lead to many health issues, including weight gain, heart problems, early aging, and even long-term disabilities. (1) (2)
Ashwagandha is well known for its properties to reduce stress and many research studies have proved its efficiency. (3)
In a six-week study published in 2000, 88% of the participants that supplemented with ashwagandha, reported a decreased anxiety. (4)
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 2012, examined 64 participants with chronic stress. They were randomised to two groups – a placebo-controlled group and a drug treatment group. The participants in the drug treatment group reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia after taking capsules of 300mg ashwagandha, twice a day for 60 days. The placebo group only reported an 11% reduction in anxiety. (5)
Furthermore, several studies reveal that ashwagandha can alleviate symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders. (6)
2. May increase testosterone and fertility in men.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It typically starts to decrease by 1% each year after age 30. Testosterone is responsible for many important roles in men’s bodies. It regulates bone and muscle mass, fat distribution, libido, strength and the production of sperm. (7)
High testosterone levels are crucial for athletes and active people, as testosterone elevates the rates of muscle protein synthesis post-training. This promotes athletic performance and recovery. (8)
In a controlled clinical trial that was published in 2009, 150 men were examined. Half of the participants did not have any medical concerns The treatment with ashwagandha led to a significant increase in testosterone levels, increased sperm count and quality. (9)
Another study examined stress-related male fertility. After 3 months of ashwagandha treatment, the participants’ results showed improved semen quality and 14% of the men’s partners got pregnant. (10)
3. Can improve cardiorespiratory endurance.
Cardiorespiratory endurance, or aerobic endurance, refers to the body’s ability to keep exercising at medium to high intensity for extended periods of time. Aerobic fitness is the capacity to take in, transport and utilize oxygen.
A 2015 study examined 50 healthy athletic males and females, aged between 20 and 45 years. The participants were randomised to either placebo (control) group, or ashwagandha (study) group. The subjects in the study group received 300 mg of root extract of the ashwagandha plant, twice a day, whereas the placebo group received similar capsules containing sucrose (sugar).
After 12 weeks, the study group reported enhanced aerobic endurance and higher VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption). (11)
Other similar studies also agree that ashwagandha promotes aerobic fitness. (12)
4. May increase muscle mass and strength.
Muscular strength helps you maintain a proper posture and makes your body burn more calories, which contributes to healthy body weight.
Research has shown that ashwagandha—when paired with resistance training— is a reliable way to enhance physical strength, muscle size and muscle endurance, among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. (8) (13)
In one study from 2015, 57 males with little experience in resistance training were randomised into treatment and placebo groups. The group treated with ashwagandha had a significantly greater increase in muscle strength on the leg-extension exercise and bench press exercise. The treatment group also showed better muscle recovery and an increase in muscle size, compared to the placebo group. (8)
5. Might reduce inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s attempt to heal itself from toxins, infections and injuries. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, pain and loss of function.
Studies have found that ashwagandha enhances natural killer cell activity, which is crucial for the early immune response against infections. (14)
Furthermore, it is shown that only 250mg of ashwagandha daily is enough to decrease markers of inflammation. (15)
This ancient herb provides many health benefits for everyone, especially for active people that want to boost their athletic performance.
Ashwagandha capsules by LEMAlab are organic and high-quality choice for everyone who wants to experience the efficiency of this herb. The dietary pills are easy to take daily and also convenient to transport when traveling.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are there any side effects of ashwagandha?
If you do not exceed the recommended dose limit, there should be little to no side effects. However, larger amounts of ashwagandha can lead to nausea, headache or stomach irritation.
- When will I notice the fitness performance benefits from ashwagandha?
Most of the studies examined participants over the period of 12 weeks, so it safe to say that performance benefits will be noticeable within 3 months.
- Should I take ashwagandha in the morning or in the evening?
There is no wrong time to take ashwagandha. If your goal is to reduce stress and help induce sleep, it is a good option to take it in the evening. If you aim for cognitive and physical performance benefits, it would be convenient to take ashwagandha in the morning and/or during the day.
- Scott, S. Melhorn, ‘Effects of Chronic Social Stress on Obesity’
- D’Oria, A. Leonardini, ‘The Role of Oxidative Stress in Cardiac Disease: From Physiological Response to Injury Factor’
- Candelario, E. Ceullar, Z. Feimeng, ‘Direct evidence for GABAergic activity of Withania somnifera on mammalian ionotropic GABAA and GABAρ receptors’
- Andrade, ‘A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera’
- Chandrasekhar, ‘A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults’
- Cooley, ‘Naturopathic care for anxiety: a randomized controlled trial ISRCTN78958974’
- Stanworth, T. Jones, ‘Testosterone for the aging male; current evidence and recommended practice’
- Wankhede, D. Langade, ‘Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial’
- K. Ahmad, A. Mahdi, K. Shukla, N. Islam, ‘Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males’
- Mahdi, K. Shukla, ‘Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility’
- Choudhary, A. Shetty, D. G. Langade, ‘Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults’
- Pérez-Gómez, S. Villafaina, ‘Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on VO2max: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’
- S. Sandhu, B. Shah, S. Shenoy, ‘Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults’
- Bhat, A. Damle, ‘In vivo enhancement of natural killer cell activity through tea fortified with Ayurvedic herbs’
- Auddy, J. Hazra, ‘A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study’