Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, has been used more than 2,500 years. It’s commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of ailments. For example, ashwagandha benefits include treating anxiety, improving thyroid function and relieving adrenal fatigue, to name a few. It can also treat depression as well as combat several forms of cancer. Learn more about this powerful herb by reading the list below.
Here are 10 ashwagandha benefits to consider:
1. Improves Thyroid Function
One of the unique ashwagandha benefits is the ability to improve both an under-active as well as over-active thyroid. This powerful herb can support a sluggish thyroid in those who have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease as well as Grave’s disease. However, research on its effects on hyperthyroidism is limited.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study in 2017 that examined ashwagandha benefits, as well. Participants in the study had diagnoses of thyroid disorder, but didn’t have any obvious symptoms of thyroid deficiency.
The treatment group received 600 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract every day for 8 weeks. The control group received the placebo. In comparison to the placebo, researchers found the ashwagandha improved TSH and thyroxine levels considerably. They concluded this herb may be beneficial in normalizing thyroid levels in patients with hypothyroidism. (1)
2. Relieves Adrenal Fatigue
Ashwagandha benefits continue with the ability to support adrenal function. (2) If your adrenals are overworked due to too much physical or mental stress, you can develop a condition known as adrenal fatigue.
This can disrupt hormones in your body, such as progesterone, which can lead to infertility as well as reduced levels of DHEA. In this way, ashwagandha can help to balance hormones and help correct adrenal fatigue.
3. Combats Stress and Anxiety
Another one of the common ashwagandha benefits is the capability to serve as an anxiety remedy. PLOS One published a study that examined ashwagandha benefits, as well. They found this herb to be comparable to common pharmaceutical drugs lorazepam and imipramine. …Without the side effects!
Furthermore, this study divided participants into two groups. One group received psychotherapy and a placebo, while the other received naturopathic care. This care included a standard multi-vitamin as well as ashwagandha twice daily. It also included deep-breathing exercises and dietary counseling. Those in the naturopathic group saw a drop of anxiety by 55 percent. The placebo group, on the other hand, saw a reduction of anxiety by 30.5 percent. (3)
4. Improves Depression
Likewise, on the list of ashwagandha benefits is the ability to treat depression. This herb improves stress resistance and can therefore improve quality of life. One study demonstrated how, when used on rats, this herb can help stabilize mood when subjects were faced with “behavioral despair” and “learned helplessness.”
5. Helps to Fight Cancer
Ashwagandha benefits extend to fighting cancer, as well. In particular, it helps inhibit the proliferation of lung, stomach, and breast cancer cells, as well as colon cancer cells. Experts suggest this is due to the fact that this herb can boost immunity and has strong antioxidant capabilities, as well. (4)
6. Reduces Brain Cell Degeneration and Improves Memory
Due to its potent antioxidant activity, ashwagandha benefits also include protecting the brain from cell degeneration. This lends itself to fighting off Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinson’s.
Emotional, physical and chemical stress can all have damaging effects to the brain and nervous system. Recent research has proven that ashwagandha is more than a stress reliever, it also protects the brain from cell degeneration, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. One of the main reasons ashwagandha is so effective at healing the brain is because it contains powerful antioxidants that destroy the free radicals that cause aging.
Ashwagandha has naturally occurring steroids that, when injected into rodents, can promote cell outgrowth, reverse behavior deficits and plague buildup, but also reduce amyloid beta burden. This is a crucial component in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. (7)
Furthermore, the Journal of Dietary Supplements published a study wherein researchers found that this herb enhances short-term and general memory in those with mild cognitive impairment. (8)