The Herb You’ve Never Heard Of
Call it Indian-Ginseng. Call it an Ayurvedic Herb. Or call it Withania Somnifera. Whatever you call it, the herb Ashwagandha has been used as a medicinal herb for over 3,000 years. Today, it is found in supplements of every shape and size that claim to improve libido, prevent cancer, and even boost brain function. It’s hard to know what to believe for a herb you’ve never heard of, but it is important to know the effects of each ingredient in your supplement. Well, we’ve done the legwork for you so you can know the effects of Ashwagandha that have been back by medical studies.
Anxiety and Depression Relief
Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can increase blood sugar and fat storage in the abdomen. The calming side effects of ashwagandha have been proven to help as a natural aid in stress relief. A study in 2011 showed that ashwagandha extract proved to be as effective as the benzodiazepines that are normally prescribed for anxiety conditions. In a separate study, the benefits of this herb were described as a mood stabilizer, aiding in the relief of the symptoms of depression in addition to anxiety.
A study was performed on several individuals with ranging cholesterol levels from low, normal, to high. After several weeks of ingesting the herb, patients saw a decrease in almost 10% of their total cholesterol. Animal studies show decreases in triglycerides and cholesterol by over 45%. For these reasons, ashwagandha is thought to help in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Reduction in Blood Sugar Levels
Several different types of studies have been performed on ashwagandha lowering blood sugar levels. One study was performed in test tubes and showed that when the herb was introduced to the test environment, the secretion of insulin increased and muscle cells became more sensitive to the insulin. In human testing, a study was performed on several people with type 2 diabetes where they consumed an ashwagandha supplement for one month. At the end of that month, their fasting blood sugar level was as low as when the patients were taking a known medication for diabetics.
In 2013, a study showed that Ashwagandha helped improve low sex drive and low sperm count. The herb regulated enzyme activity and hormones which then led to better quantity and quality of sperm.Supporting studies showed that infertile men who had been consuming ashwagandha saw that their testosterone levels increased significantly, as did their sperm count, motility, and antioxidant levels in the blood.
Memory and Brain Function
One of the more impressive studies performed was in a group of healthy men who received daily ashwagandha supplements and then test on their memory and reaction times in certain tasks. Compared to the men taking the placebo, they showed significant improvements in memory and brain function while using ashwagandha.
With little to no side effects, ashwagandha is a safe supplement for almost everyone. There are several studies that have been performed to test the validity of certain health claims of this herb but the findings were either inconclusive or the results were marginal, and thus, I left them out of my report.
If you aren’t currently taking an ashwagandha supplement, it’s not too late to start and there are tons of varieties to choose from. Powders and pills are the most common forms, but you can also find it in liquid form such as in Kyani Sunrise. No matter what form you decide to take, just make sure you are taking the amount recommended by your doctor.