Ashwagandha, also known as 'Withania Somnifera', was originally used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. This herb is becoming increasingly popular in the west and is most well known for its ability to reduce stress and promote a calmer and happier sense of being. A growing body of evidence is being collated around this powerful herb with an impressive variety of health benefits.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic meaning it can adapt to your body’s needs by balancing out levels, such as hormones and immune cells, to create stability in the body and support our immune system.
Here are 5 key health benefits of Ashwagandha
1. Supports adrenal glands to reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha has been shown to support the adrenals via normalising cortisol levels. This reduces the negative effects of high (or low levels) of this hormone. This is highly significant as ongoing stress can be detrimental to our health. Adrenal function is closely linked to thyroid function, therefore as Ashwagandha supports the adrenal glands, it has an indirect effect on improving thyroid function as well. Initial studies demonstrate ashwagandha’s ability to positively impact thyroid function by stimulating thyroid hormone activity. Our Food-Grown® KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus provides 500mg of organic ashwagandha root with Food-Grown® Magnesium to support the body's resilience to physiological and psychological demand.
2. Increases energy, stamina and endurance
Ashwagandha has been shown to significantly impact athletic performance by improving heart and lung capacity, while increasing energy levels. Not only is this useful for the purposes of exercise, it is also helpful for people who struggle with their energy levels or those with fatigue-related conditions.
3. Stabilises blood sugar
Ashwagandha has been shown to stabilise blood sugar levels, reducing blood sugar when it's too high or increasing it if too low. This is an example of the herb’s adaptogenic effect. Considering the evidence of the impact on blood sugar levels in diseases such as depression and dementia, this herb can have a profound impact on health.
4. Combats neurodegenerative diseases
The active ingredients in ashwagandha, called withanamides, have shown protective effects against B-amyloid-induced plaques in Alzheimer’s Disease. This is thought to be due to the natural antioxidants found in ashwagandha that scavenge free radicals to prevent cell damage. Studies also show promising results of ashwagandha’s protective effects against Parkinson’s Disease.
5. Immune boosting and anti-inflammatory
It has also demonstrated excellent immune-boosting effects on our immune system. It has been shown to encourage anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting immune cells that help to ward off illness. As Ashwagandha has potent anti-inflammatory properties it is very useful in painful conditions such as arthritis. As the herb is rich in iron it also contributes to red blood cell count.
For more on reducing stress and promoting a happier sense of being through nutrition, see '5 Ways to optimise your energy and beat fatigue', 'Stress and hormone balance' and '5 Ways to combat headaches'