11 Proven benefits of ashwagandha
Ashwagandha (scientific name Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) is a plant from the Solanaceae family. It is native to Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka and can grow up to 1.5 metres tall. On the Iberian Peninsula, it can be found along the Mediterranean coast. Its original name comes from Sanskrit language and translates as ‘horse aroma’ due to its horse-like smell. In India, it began to be used thousands of years ago and forms part of what’s known as Ayurveda, or traditional Indian medicine.
The root of this plant, a small shrub with small leaves and orange-red fruits shaped like berries, has very well-known adaptogenic properties1. But it can also exert many more positive actions.
What benefits does ashwagandha offer?
Due to its adaptogenic properties, one of the best-known benefits of ashwagandha is its contribution to emotional balance, relaxation and overall wellbeing2. There are many well-known benefits of using ashwagandha:
- It has a general rejuvenating effect3.
- It helps to maintain skin health4.
- It protects skin tissue from damage and protects overall health through its antioxidant activity5.
- It has antioxidant properties1.
- It helps to maintain physical and mental capacity when we feel weak, exhausted, tired or lose concentration. It is considered a nervous system tonic6.
- It offers support in times of mental stress, nervousness and anxiety. It supports optimum relaxation, emotional balance and overall wellbeing. It also helps calm your mind and enhance physical wellbeing2.
- It improves the body’s resistance to stress and its ability to deal with it. It helps maintain mental balance and supports mental function in older people. It also helps with sleep onset. It supports memory, aids recovery from stressful events and helps maintain emotional stability7.
- It helps maintain energy levels and increase muscle mass and weight because it helps develop muscle. It helps maintain feelings of physical and mental energy and vitality and helps maintain the body’s vitality. It supports the body’s resistance to stress and helps you feel more energised. It is also considered an energy tonic and stimulator for the body8.
- It helps keep your respiratory system healthy9.
- It supports female reproductive organ health and helps maintain strength during pregnancy. It supports male sexual function and helps maintain sperm mobility10.
- It has a beneficial effect on the heart and cardiovascular system11.
The ashwagandha plant is known for its properties as an adaptogen1:
- It offers support during times of nervous tension2 or can help you feel more energised8.
- It supports the body in stressful situations7, calming your mind and body and supporting emotional balance and overall wellbeing2.
- It can be used to support male sexual function and aid fertility10, as it helps to maintain and sperm mobility and count10.
- If offers benefits for the heart and cardiovascular system11 and helps maintain respiratory system health9.
The antioxidant power of power of ashwagandha3
Many plants contain substances that the dermatological industry uses to treat the skin. Withania somnífera (L.) Dunal is one of those plants because of its antioxidant activity5.
Skin health is greatly enhanced thanks to its general rejuvenating effect3. It helps maintain skin health4 due to its capacity to protect tissue from damage5.
Help with sleep onset7 and anxiety2
Stressful episodes can affect our emotional stability, resulting in an overall state in which our body suffers strain and our mental balance is negatively affected12. This can also affect sleep, memory function and make overall recovery difficult13.
These effects can all be aggravated in older people14. This is why ashwagandha’s ability to support the body in recovering from stressful events is one of its major benefits7, together with its proven effectiveness in supporting sleep onset8.
The properties of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal have been shown to be ideal for coping with periods of mental stress and anxiety2. Studies have also explored the effectiveness of this natural remedy on these symptoms15. A group of people with anxiety received naturopathic treatment. Combined with dietary guidance, deep breathing relaxation techniques and a standard multivitamin, they were administered herbal ashwagandha extract. The results found that indicators of anxiety levels reduced significantly, improving concentration, fatigue, social functioning, vitality and overall quality of life15.
A natural tonic for the nervous system
When we are very busy, tiredness or stress can build up and we experience symptoms of exhaustion and loss of concentration16. In these periods when we may need support, ashwagandha offers an advantage. It helps maintain physical and mental capacities and acts as a nervous system tonic6.
Ashwagandha root contains adaptogenic properties1 that can support our body in times of nervous tension and anxiety2. It contributes to mental relaxation and physical wellbeing, helping to regain emotional balance and overall wellbeing2.
Support for athletes
Maintaining energy levels is one of the aspirations of frequent sports practitioners. The properties of ashwagandha contribute to the body’s resistance to stress, helping maintain energy levels and even helping you feel more energetic8.
Supplementation with ashwagandha is associated with increased muscle mass and weight8. This plant’s contribution to muscle development is complemented by its properties as an energy tonic and natural invigorator8. This helps the body to maintain optimum endurance and physical and mental wellbeing, while also helping to maintain the body’s vitality8.
Support for fertility
Another headline benefit of Withania somnífera (L.) Dunal is its support for reproductive systems. For women, this plant offers support for reproductive organ health, and is also proven to offer effective support during pregnancy10. For men, the properties of ashwagandha support reproductive system function because it helps maintain sperm count and mobility10.
Our ashwagandha extract, standardised to contain 5% withanolides
We are interested in the wisdom of Ayurvedic traditional medicine, which has been recommending the use of ashwagandha to treat anxiety and insomnia for thousands of years
Because the effectiveness of this plant lies in its withanolide content, Anastore has developed a root extract standardised to contain 5% of these compounds from triterpene lactones, for proven soothing, antioxidant and adaptogenic effect, and action on the immune system.
- Extracted from the EFSA health claims application list, under evaluation (ID 3251).
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- Front Behav Neurosci. 2014; 8: 397. Published online 2014 Nov 13. Doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00397. PMCID: PMC4230035. PMID: 25431554. Valerie L. Kinner, Serkan Het, and Oliver T. Wolf*.
- Learn Mem. 2004 Nov; 11(6): 671–678. doi: 10.1101/lm.77104. PMCID: PMC534695. PMID: 15576884. Jessica D. Payne and Lynn Nadel.
- Am J Psychiatry. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 May 4. Published in final edited form as: Am J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec; 166(12): 1384–1391. Published online 2009 Sep 15. Doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09040461. PMCID: PMC2864084. NIHMSID: NIHMS191501. PMID: 19755573.
- Cooley K, Szczurko O, Perri D, Mills EJ, Bernhardt B, Zhou Q, Seely D. Naturopathic care for anxiety: a randomized controlled trial ISRCTN78958974. PLoS One. 2009 Aug 31;4(8):e6628. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006628. PMID: 19718255; PMCID: PMC2729375.
- Psiquiatría BMC . 2017; 17: 167. Publicado en línea el 5 de mayo de 2017. Doi: 10.1186 / s12888-017-1237-y. PMCID: PMC5420158. PMID: 28476149.