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5 Healthy Benefits of Ashwagandha For Men and Women

Updated: Apr 7

You may have heard about Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng. This exotic herb, used in traditional Indian medicine systems for thousands of years, has recently become popular in the US due to its anti-anxiety properties.


Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, a plant-based derivative that helps our bodies strengthen the balance between its internal systems. It can be ingested as a tea, powder, tincture, or supplement in raw form, giving you plenty of options for use.



1. Relieves Stress and Anxiety


Adaptogens are edible plant extracts traditionally used to help manage and heal ailments like stress and anxiety. Although adaptogens don't necessarily heal our stress and anxiety, they can help us adapt to harmful forces and factors. Stress mediators are part of our stress system — they’re how we react to stress. The stress system includes elements such as neuroendocrine hormones, neurotransmitters, cytokines, and growth factors. According to researchers, ashwagandha can ease stress and effectively control anxiety. It helps control stress mediators like heat shock proteins (Hsp70), cortisol (stress hormone), and stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1). Scientists believe the herb reduces the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity that’s responsible for how we react to stress.

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A study with 58 participants concluded that ashwagandha may reduce stress and anxiety in humans. Test subjects who consumed 250 or 600 mg of ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks showed reduced levels of the hormone cortisol when compared with subjects who received a placebo.


In a 60-day study, 60 adults consumed either a placebo or 240 mg of a standard ashwagandha extract every day. The herb positively affected their HPA — they had less anxiety than placebo participants.


2. Improves Sleep


Besides helping alleviate stress and anxiety, multiple studies show it can help improve poor sleep.


Sleep and anxiety are interlinked; by improving one, you can help the other. Ashwagandha helps improve sleep quality, as shown in 58 test subjects — both 250 mg and 600 mg participants — had improved sleep quality, with the 600 mg group significantly improved.


If you're battling anxiety and loss of sleep or want to improve your sleep quality, ashwagandha may help.


3. Supports Virility In Men


Surprisingly, ashwagandha may offer benefits for men who battle low testosterone levels.


Stress can have a more far-reaching effect than just mental health; it can affect physical health as well, including a link to low virility in males. Ashwagandha may help by improving the quality of sperm production.


A clinical study considered the effects of ashwagandha on 180 infertile men who were given 5 grams a day for three months. Results showed that a good balance was restored between participants’ plasma metabolites and reproductive hormones, leading researchers to suggest that ashwagandha may make an effective infertility treatment.


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4. Improves Athletic Performance


Ashwagandha may improve your physical performance by increasing your strength and the effectiveness of your body’s oxygen use during exercise.


A 2020 study gave participants 300-1000 mg of ashwagandha daily for 2 to 12 weeks. Results indicated that taking this herb can help increase oxygen consumption (VO2 max). VO2 refers to the amount of oxygen utilized during the most intense duration of exercise. The better your VO2 measure, the better your heart and lung fitness. Ashwagandha may prove useful to elevate VO2 levels in professional and recreational athletes, improving overall athletic performance.


5. Reduces Inflammation


In traditional Indian medicine, one of the earliest uses of ashwagandha was treating pain and inflammation. According to researchers, the herb was traditionally crushed into a paste with water and applied to inflamed joints and other areas of swelling.


A study showed that the herb can significantly reduce C-reactive protein, regarded as an inflammatory marker. Participants were given 125 mg of ashwagandha for 60 days and periodically tested. By the end of the trial, inflammation markers were found to be considerably reduced.


Final Message


Ashwagandha is conveniently available in capsule form or as a root powder that makes an excellent tea.


Tests on the herb’s effectiveness will continue, but study results to date are promising regarding ashwagandha’s use as a beneficial herbal medicine.




 

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