What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is a small shrub with vibrant yellow flowers and orange-red color ripe fruits. Indigenous to India and parts of North Africa, this herb has been cherished for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its myriad of health-enhancing properties. The name "Ashwagandha" translates to "smell of the horse" in Sanskrit, reflecting the traditional belief that its consumption imparts the strength and vigor of a stallion.
How is Ashwagandha used traditionally?
Ashwagandha is deeply woven into the tapestry of different cultural practices. Traditionally, the roots and berries of the plant are utilized in various forms, including powders and liquid extracts. Ayurvedic practitioners often incorporate Ashwagandha to restore balance and vitality in the body for over 3,000 years. Beyond its medicinal applications, the herb finds its place in rituals and ceremonies, attesting to its cultural significance.
Unveiling Ashwagandha's Science-Backed Health Benefits
1. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Chronic stress can lead to numerous health issues such as heart disease, obesity, and mental health problems; Researches have been showing Ashwagandha's potential as an ally against stress and anxiety.
In a 2008 study led by Auddy B and colleagues, the effects of a standardized Ashwagandha extract on chronically stressed individuals were examined using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled approach. Participants administered 125 mg of the extract twice daily (250 mg) for 60 days displayed a remarkable 71% decrease in overall stress according to a standard anxiety scale. After this period, this group exhibited significant reductions in serum cortisol (by 24.2%), serum C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker), pulse rate, and blood pressure. Moreover, when compared to the placebo group, those on ashwagandha reported marked alleviations in feelings of stress, anxiety, fatigue, appetite loss, feelings of "impending doom", concentration issues, irritability, forgetfulness, and sleeplessness.
The 2012 study in "Indian J Psychol Med" by K. Chandrasekhar and colleagues demonstrated that a high-concentration, full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract significantly reduced stress, lowered serum cortisol levels, and improved the quality of life in adults compared to a placebo, with only mild and comparable adverse effects in both groups.
2. Promote Better Sleep
Insufficient sleep heightens the risk of several health issues such as increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer, accelerated aging, and premature death. Many people especially older people may rely on potentially harmful prescription drugs. Ashwagandha extract has been shown to significantly improve restorative sleep in studies.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial by Deshpande A, Irani N, Balkrishnan R, et al. The study had 150 participants experiencing non-restorative sleep (NRS), the effects of a standardized ashwagandha extract (Shoden®) on sleep quality were evaluated. Participants were given 120 mg of the extract daily for 6 weeks. The study found that those receiving the ashwagandha extract experienced a 72% increase in reported sleep quality, as opposed to a 29% increase in the placebo group.
3. Enhance Cognitive Performance
Ashwagandha extracts, rich in bioactive compounds like withaferin A, withanolides, and withanosides, possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the brain from diseases. These compounds can cross the blood-brain barrier and have been demonstrated to enhance cognitive performance in healthy adults, improving reaction time, discrimination, vigilance, and other brain functions.
Ashwagandha has been use for its wide range of health benefits for thousands of years, notably its efficacy against stress and anxiety. Looking for a trusted product with Ashwagandha? Life Nutrition's Sleep Tonight contained patented KSM66 Ashwagandha extract. Let it be your natural ticket to a peaceful night's rest and a serene state of mind.