Ashwagandha benefits the body and mind in several aspects, including treating poor thyroid function and depression. This adaptogenic herb is nothing new, either. It’s been used for its medicinal purposes for more than 2,500 years. Commonly, Ayurvedic medicine has used it to treat a variety of ailments. And today, there is indeed a laundry list of what all this herb can do for your health. For example, do you have a difficult time recalling dates and other specific details? Then you should know that ashwagandha benefits also include improving memory! It can also be used to combat stress, anxiety, and 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.
Adrenal fatigue 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. Stemming off from this concept, it may also help prevent or correct issues with infertility.
When you’re stressed and unable to manage it, it can spill-over into and affect other areas of your life, including reproduction. If you’re struggling with adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances, or infertility due to high amounts of stress, you may want to consider trying ashwagandha. It may even help lessen the extreme discomfort that comes with painful menstruation.
3. Combats Stress and Anxiety
Another one of the common ashwagandha benefits is the capability to serve as an anxiety remedy. Many people seem to suffer from anxiety, and there are a variety of treatments and medications available to help treat it. For example, doctors may prescribe common anti-anxiety medications in order to help cope with symptoms. However, it turns out that ashwagandha may in fact be comparable to some of these anti-anxiety medications.
PLOS One published a study that examined ashwagandha benefits. 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. In some scenarios, stress and depression go hand in hand, as poor stress management can increase likelihood of developing an issue with depression. However, as ashwagandha improves stress resistance, it can therefore improve quality of life, including, perhaps, improvement of depression symptoms. Ashwagandha may help treat depression in that it can help lower levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
One study demonstrated how, when used on rats, this herb can help stabilize mood when subjects were faced with “behavioral despair” and “learned helplessness.” If you or someone you know struggles with depression, perhaps you should consider adding this herb to a treatment plan.
5. Helps to Fight Cancer
More and more, it seems people are turning to natural treatments in order to prevent and treat cancer. And with the harm that can come from conventional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, it’s no wonder. For example, there is a large list of fruits and vegetables that may play a role in cancer prevention as well as treatment. There are also herbs and natural supplements that may play a similar role, as well. Indeed, ashwagandha benefits extend to fighting cancer, as well.
In particular, this herb 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)