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6 Cool Benefits of Ashwagandha

6 Cool Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has been buzzing in recent years and it’s emerged as a go-to herb in the supplement market for its reported health benefits. Among those is the positive impact many say it has on stress and anxiety.

Ready to learn more about ashwagandha? Let’s take a look at the benefits of ashwagandha on stress and anxiety. We’ll also touch on some other reasons you may want to incorporate ashwagandha into your diet moving forward.

 

What Is Ashwagandha

Sometimes referred to as Indian Ginseng or Indian Winter Cherry, ashwagandha is a significant herb in Ayurveda, an ancient medicinal practice originating in India. It’s been used across the world for quite some time but it seems that in recent years it’s gained traction in the mainstream market.

That’s because people who use it are finding many benefits for their health, from anxiety and stress relief to reduced inflammation, blood sugar, and even improved body composition. Perhaps, the most noteworthy benefit comes with taking the edge off stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.

 

Ashwagandha’s Impact on Stress and Anxiety

When you’re stressed and anxious, it puts your body into overdrive, which can spill over into other areas of your life. It can affect how much sleep you get, your eating habits, the ability to gain or lose weight, and most certainly, your mood.

Luckily, ashwagandha may be able to provide some relief from stress and anxiety, and elevate your mental health. Overall, there’s a ton of research out there demonstrating ashwagandha’s ability to relieve stress and help with anxiety. For example:

  • One study found that the daily consumption of 300 mg of ashwagandha for 8 weeks resulted in lower levels of anxiety and fatigue in participants.
  • In another study, participants who consumed either 250 or 600 mg of an ashwagandha supplement experienced a decrease in cortisol levels (a hormone that plays a major role in your stress levels).
  • A two-month study found that participants who consumed 240 mg of ashwagandha daily experienced substantial anxiety relief when compared to the control group.
  • An animal study showed that ashwagandha may stabilize your mood and have a comparable effect to lorazepam, which is a common medication people take for anxiety.

 

Additional Ashwagandha Benefits

There are many benefits of taking ashwagandha besides stress and anxiety relief. Let’s take a look at a few of them below:

Better sleep quality

Ashwagandha might be able to help if you’ve been struggling to get quality sleep. One 12-week study found that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily resulted in improved sleep quality and enhanced mental sharpness to start the day when compared to a placebo group. The study also pointed out that the group that consumed the ashwagandha root experienced less anxiety upon waking up in the morning.

Lower blood sugar

In many studies, ashwagandha has been found to reduce blood glucose. It contains a compound called Withaferin A (WA). The role WA plays in blood sugar is that it prepares your body and stimulates cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream, which makes it more efficient at reducing and stabilizing blood glucose levels.

One study of 25 participants found that taking ashwagandha had a 300% greater impact on reducing fasted blood sugar levels than a control group.

Higher cognitive function

As we age, cognitive decline and memory loss can unfortunately occur. If you’re looking to slow this decline or even maybe gain some cognitive brain power, research indicates ashwagandha may be able to help.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements took a look at how ashwagandha may impact adults with “mild cognitive impairment.” Consuming 600 mg daily of ashwagandha-root extract over 8 weeks enabled participants in the study to see improved general memory as well as memory in the short term, and they were able to achieve better test scores on various cognitive tests.

Reduced inflammation

Inflammation is at the heart of gut-related disorders like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It’s also the root cause of many other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

We talked about WA earlier as a compound that helps reduce blood sugar levels and it also may play a hand in mitigating inflammation too. In one eight-week study, those who consumed ashwagandha root saw a greater reduction in C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) compared to a placebo group.

Improved body composition

One thing to consider is taking a look at your gut for weight loss. And if you’re looking to get more fit, you may want to combine ashwagandha with a strength training routine for the best results.

A study published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that, when compared to a control group, those who took 600 mg of ashwagandha root daily while following a strength training regimen achieved greater strength increases, developed more muscle mass (especially in the chest and arms), reduced their body fat percentage more, and raised their testosterone levels higher.

Ashwagandha has also been shown to increase VO2 max (which is a rough measure of physical fitness). It’s worth pointing out that a high VO2 max is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, while a low VO2 max has been linked to higher mortality risk.

Ashwagandha Summary

Also known as Indian Ginseng or Indian Winter Cherry, ashwagandha is an herb derived from an ancient medicinal practice known as Ayurveda. It may be worth incorporating into your diet for its many health benefits, which include:

  • Improving your mood through anxiety and stress relief
  • More quality sleep
  • Improved blood glucose
  • Enhanced cognitive function and better memory
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Fat loss, more muscle mass, and a higher VO2 max

Interested in what ashwagandha can do for you? Ashwagandha is available as a potential ingredient in Floré Custom Probiotics, which our formulation team can select for you if you’re looking for anxiety and stress relief!

About the Author

Chad Richardson is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, OH. When he’s not behind his computer, you can find Chad at the gym doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation, scrolling through Netflix trying to find a new binge-worthy show, or out at a game rooting on his hometown sports teams.

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