Lately, lots of women from around the globe are becoming curious about ashwagandha. The supplement everyone is talking about for its benefits.
Ashwagandha is an incredibly healthy and ancient medicinal herb. This plant is classified as an “adaptogen,” which means it can help your body manage stress.
It also offers other benefits to the body and brain. For example, it can lower blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol, increase brain function, and help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Although a lot is said about it nowadays, in this post, we will share some of the main benefits of ashwagandha for women (and men alike) backed by science. Note that I said “for women,” this is why…
Ashwagandha and female sexual dysfunction (FSD)
Female sexual dysfunction is a disorder that occurs when there is a significant change in a woman’s usual sexual behavior.
Sexual thoughts and fantasies decrease or even disappear, and relationships are postponed or avoided. In addition, there is an inability to enjoy the moment (sexual pleasure), which can affect life quality and personal relationships.
Generally, the four areas in which women have difficulties are desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain associated with the intercourse.
- Hypoactive sexual desire syndrome
- Female anorgasmia syndrome
- Vaginismus syndrome
- Sexual avoidance syndrome and sexual anxiety disorder (sexual phobia)
Hypothesis on why Ashwagandha root extract can help women with FSD
According to an article on patient.info, stress and mental disorders are the leading causes of female sexual dysfunction. And this is where ashwagandha comes into play.
Ashwagandha and stress
Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” because the adrenal glands release it in response to stress and when blood sugar levels get too low.
In some cases, cortisol levels can chronically increase, leading to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.
In a study of chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented ashwagandha had significantly greater cortisol reductions than the placebo group. Those taking the highest dose had a 30% reduction, on average.
Ashwagandha is widely credited as a stress helper. Researchers have reported that it has even blocked the brain stress pathway during “in vivo” studies and has regulated chemical signaling in the nervous system.
You may want to read – Adaptogenic Herbs for Hormone Balance: What are they?
Several controlled human studies have shown that it can also effectively reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders.
It has also been reported that people taking ashwagandha showed anxiety reduction, compared to 50% of those taking a placebo.
May reduce depression symptoms
Although not as thoroughly studied in psychiatric nutrition, some research suggests that ashwagandha may help alleviate symptoms of depression.
It has been reported that consumption of 600 mg of ashwagandha extract per day resulted in a 79% reduction in severe depression, while the placebo group reported a 10% increase.
Although more studies are lacking, it is one of the most recommended dietary supplements in psychiatric nutrition.
Ashwagandha for weight loss: Can it help?
Yes, because by improving stress markers in the body, it reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone), helping you control weight.
As we mentioned earlier, cortisol is the hormone that controls stress in our body, but it can also contribute to weight gain. High levels of this hormone can promote obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in the long term.
You may want to read – Leptin Supplements: The Key to Weight Loss?
According to a study published in Life Extension Magazine, Ashwagandha can reduce cortisol hormone levels by up to 26%, so watch for further research.
Excess cortisol, in addition to causing anxiety and stress, increases insulin resistance by decreasing the body’s optimal use of glucose.
This means that muscle tissue starts to get damaged, the immune system is weakened, and your body will transform the excess glucose into fat, i.e., you will increase in size.
You will be able to find ashwagandha in mixing powder, so you can add it to your smoothies or with a glass of milk and honey before bedtime to get a good rest or take it as a supplement in capsule form.
An exciting plant that you should not lose track of this summer and keep away the tiredness and fatigue of the season will also be an ally in your bikini operation.
Ashwagandha and Ayurveda
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, and it is an alternative medicine based on Vedic principles of natural healing. It has been used for over 5,000 years to relieve stress, increase energy levels and improve concentration.
The word or term “Ashwagandha” comes from the Sanskrit “horse scent,” which refers to both its characteristic odor and its ability to increase strength.
Its botanical name is Withania somnifera, and it is also known by several other names, including Indian ginseng and winter cherry.
The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that is native to India and North Africa. Extracts or powder from the root or leaves of the plant is used to treat various conditions.
Many of its health benefits are attributed to its high concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to fight inflammation and tumor growth.
May lower blood sugar levels
In several studies, ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. One test-tube study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.
In addition, several human studies have confirmed its ability to lower blood sugar levels in both healthy people and people with diabetes.
Even in a four-week study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with ashwagandha had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared to 4.5 mg/dL in those who received a placebo.
Possesses anti-cancer properties
Studies have found that ashwagandha helps induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells. It also prevents the growth of new cancer cells in several ways.
First, ashwagandha is believed to promote reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside cancer cells, disrupting their function. Second, it may make cancer cells less resistant to apoptosis.
The MSKCC has reported that it may help treat several types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon, brain, and ovarian cancers.
Ashwagandha for women… and MEN
As we have seen so far, ashwagandha consumption provides great benefits for women. Nevertheless, men may also enjoy its properties due to its powerful effects on testosterone levels and reproductive health.
In a study of 75 infertile men, the group treated with ashwagandha showed increased sperm count and motility.
In addition, the treatment led to a significant increase in testosterone levels. The researchers also reported that the group taking the herb had increased antioxidant levels in the blood.
In another study, men who received ashwagandha for stress experienced increased antioxidant levels and improved sperm quality. After three months of treatment, 14% of the men’s partners had become pregnant.
May increase strength and muscle mass
Research has shown that ashwagandha can improve body composition and increase strength. In a study to determine a safe and effective dose of ashwagandha, healthy men who took 750-1,250 mg per day of powdered ashwagandha root gained muscle strength after 30 days.
In another study, those taking ashwagandha had significantly greater gains in muscle strength and size. It also doubled the reduction in body fat percentage compared to the placebo group.
May reduce inflammation
Several studies have shown that ashwagandha helps decrease inflammation. Human studies have found that it increases the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy.
In a controlled study, the group taking 250 mg of standardized ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared to a 6% decrease in the placebo group.
It has also been shown to decrease inflammation markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease or when the body is at risk for general inflammation.
Promotes cardiovascular health
As if that weren’t enough, ashwagandha can help improve heart health by reducing the risk of high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In other words, it promotes blood lipid control.
Human studies have reported results that caught the attention of some researchers. In a 60-day study of chronically stressed adults, the group taking the highest dose of standardized ashwagandha extract showed a 17% decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol and an 11% decrease in triglycerides average.
May improve memory and brain function
Some studies have concluded that ashwagandha may actually reduce memory and brain function problems caused by injury or disease.
Research has shown that it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from damaging free radicals.
Although ashwagandha has traditionally been used to enhance memory in Ayurvedic practice, there is only a small amount of human research in this area.
In one study, healthy men who took 500 mg of extract daily reported significant improvements in reaction time and task performance than men given a placebo.
Another eight-week study in 50 adults showed that taking 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily significantly improved overall memory, task performance, and attention.
What are the contraindications of ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is generally a safe supplement. However, certain people should not take it, including pregnant and lactating women.
People with autoimmune diseases should also avoid ashwagandha unless cleared by a physician. This includes people with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes.
In addition, those taking medications for thyroid disease should be careful when taking ashwagandha, as it may increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.
It can also lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels, so medication dosages may need to be adjusted if you take them.
The standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450-500 mg capsules once or twice daily.
Ashwagandha for women: Conclusion
Although ashwagandha is very safe for both men and women, certain people should not use it unless authorized by their physician. The standardized root extract is commonly taken in 450-500 mg capsules once or twice daily.
Ashwagandha is a traditional herbal medicine with multiple health benefits. It can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, increase fertility and testosterone in men, and even increase brain function.
Supplementing with ashwagandha can be an easy and effective way to improve your health and quality of life. Give it a try!