Ashwagandha is a cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine. Used in a wide range of natural treatments, this adaptogenic herb holds a huge amount of potential for both preventing and treating common health problems, including those caused by our hectic lifestyles.
After being used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years, this superfood root is finally making a name for itself in the western world. And now, thanks to an explosion of research into ashwagandha, we can better understand the evidence-backed health benefits of this adaptogenic herb.
1. Helps thyroid imbalance
When it comes to treating conditions such as hyper- and hypo-thyroidism, there is no magic cure. However, there are plenty of natural supplements we can take to help restore balance – and ashwagandha is one of them. Proven to help regulate an overactive or underactive thyroid, this adaptogenic herb helps bring balance back to hormone levels.
In one recent study, scientists found that those participants taking ashwagandha experienced a slight rise in the T4 hormone, suggesting that the herb could help stimulate the production of thyroid hormones. So while far from a one-stop cure for thyroid problems, ashwagandha certainly shows plenty of promise.
2. Zaps stress
When your cortisol levels spike, you know about it. Often causing anxiety, depression and even chronic fatigue syndrome, too much cortisol can leave you feeling mentally drained. That’s where ashwagandha comes in. One of the most reported benefits of this adaptogenic herb is its ability to reduce cortisol levels. In one large-scale study, researchers found that a regular dose of the herb lowered levels of the stress hormone by as much as 26 percent. As a result, participants reported feeling less stressed, depressed and anxious.
3. Boosts brain health
Rates of neurodegenerative diseases have spiked in the western world, leading many researchers to focus their attention on natural preventions and treatments. Luckily, ashwagandha is showing promise. The Institute of Natural Medicine in Japan has led significant research into the effect of ashwagandha on brain health. After creating a model based on damaged nerve cells, the researchers were able to measure the impact of ashwagandha on regenerating the axons and dendrites of nerve cells. The results were promising, suggesting that adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha may well be useful in treating neurodegenerative diseases including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
4. Eases menopause symptoms
Hot flashes, memory loss, and mood swings are all part and parcel of the menopause for many women. But ashwagandha may well be able to ease these symptoms. According to a recent study, the women given a regular dose of ashwagandha reported improved menopausal symptoms. The research showed that by targeting the endocrine system, ashwagandha was able to promote hormone balance, therefore reducing symptoms including fatigue, hot flashes and stress, while also boosting energy levels.
5. Increases stamina
Ever feel sluggish and tired during the day? Then ashwagandha might be able to help. Studies have shown that this superfood can help boost stamina. Thanks to its revitalizing effect on mental well-being, researchers have suggested it can sharpen brain function and boost concentration, as well reducing physical aches and pains. Perfect for those that need a little more get-up-and-go.