5 Health Benefits of
Over the last decade, there has been a steady pace of new natural product introductions focused on boosting a person’s immune system and increasing cognition, and one product category that is gaining a lot of attention is adaptogens. Adaptogens are compounds used in herbal medicines that may balance physiological processes and promote homeostats, and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people are adding adaptogens into their health and wellness regimen.
One of the more popular adaptogens is Ashwagandha, also known as Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng. It is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and in parts of Africa, and its berries, leaves and roots have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than three thousand years.
Ashwagandha holds enormous promise as an alternative or adjunct therapy with the potential to address mild to serious conditions and symptoms. In case you are wondering whether consuming ashwagandha is healthy for you as a potential medicine, there are thousands of medical studies you can find on the National Institute of Health’s Library of Medicine website on ashwagandha, and here is just one study.
The numerous medical studies and research done on ashwagandha has uncovered a versatile shrub whose compounds may help to support the healthy functioning of several bodily processes. While there are several more benefits to including ashwagandha in your daily routine, below are 5 reasons to consider adding it to your health regiment line up.
May Reduce Stress and Depression:
Ashwagandha may help to reduce stress by mediating the HPA axis (Hypothalamic- Pituitary–Adrenal) and controlling cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone that plays an important role in several bodily functions. It may also have indications for helping mental health conditions like depression. Compounds found inside ashwagandha like alkaloids, saponins, steroidal lactones and withanolides have been shown to exhibit anti-depressant effects in studies.
May Improve Performance and Increase Stamina:
Using ashwagandha over time may enhance physical performance and increase stamina by increasing maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) in the body. VO2 max relates to how much oxygen is available for the body to use during strenuous exercise or activity. Here is an NIH study that supports this finding. It may also increase one’s focus and concentration.
May Reduce Inflammation:
Studies on ashwagandha have shown that it possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In one study, it was shown to reduce an inflammation marker called C-Reactive Protein (CRP.) When inflammation increases in the body, so does the level of c-reactive protein. The powerful antioxidant properties of ashwagandha may also help to reduce inflammation by fighting against free radicals in the body.
May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels:
People with diabetes who have added ashwagandha to their diets have reported a stabilizing effect with blood sugar levels. It has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and improve insulin secretion in muscle cells. This may also help to reduce blood glucose levels, so ashwagandha may be good at helping to manage symptoms of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
May Boost Immune Response:
Ashwagandha increases the body’s response to stress by controlling stress hormones via the HPA axis mentioned above. By working to create homeostasis between the body’s internal environment and external stimuli, it strengthens the immune system as a result. The antioxidant properties of ashwagandha also boost the body’s ability to fight off invaders and ashwagandha has been shown to possess compounds that increase the production of white blood cells in the body, our first line of defense in fight off viruses and bacteria.