Ashwagandha is quickly becoming one of our most popular supplements – but what is it and what are its benefits?
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng or winter cherry, is a small evergreen shrub grown in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda and has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a ‘rejuvenative tonic’ for thousands of years. Ashwagandha is a natural adaptogen, known for its health benefits when ingested. Various parts of the plant are used, but the most common supplemental form is an extract of its roots. Research on ashwagandha continues to grow as scientists study its efficacy against a variety of conditions. Below we have outlined some of these main benefits.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Because Ashwagandha is a natural adaptogen, it may enhance the body’s resilience to stress. Studies have shown that ashwagandha supplements may help relieve stress. In a study with 58 participants, those who took 250mg - 600mg of ashwagandha extract for 8 weeks had significantly reduced perceived stress and levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared with those who took a placebo.
Ashwagandha is commonly taken to help encourage a restful sleep. In the same study as above, researchers confirmed participants slept much better with doses of Ashwagandha, compared to placebo doses. Sufficient and restful sleep in turn helps support your stress levels even further, as well as helping to support your immune system.
Supports Brain Function
Taking ashwagandha may benefit cognitive function. Ashwagandha supplements may improve memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks.
Supports Heart Health & Athletic Performance
Ashwagandha may help improve physical performance in athletes and healthy adults. Studies have shown that ashwagandha can increase the maximum amount of oxygen you take in while physically exerting yourself (VO2). It helps to support normal levels of vigour and performance, helping to support heart health and enhance sports performance.