If Ashwagandha sounds unfamiliar to you, that’s because it was relatively unknown in the western world up until recently.
However, in the last 18 months, Ashwagandha is increasingly being used by more and more people for various perceived benefits. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what Ashwagandha actually is, and what some of the reported health benefits are.
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a plant that originates from India, where it has been used as part of herbal medicine for thousands of years. It’s unusual name actually comes from the Sanskrit language and describes the way the plant smells (like a horse!). When people take Ashwagandha today, the plant is usually harvested and ground into a powder which is put into capsules.
Ashwagandha is also considered to be an adaptogen, which are substances well known for helping you manage stress. Due to this, Ashwagandha has historically been used in India to combat a range of conditions relating to stress and nerves. As Ashwagandha is being used more widely today, more research is starting to be conducted regarding the specific health benefits – which is leading to more people taking an interest.
What are the Reported Benefits of Ashwagandha?
The main benefits of Ashwagandha are commonly associated with its supposed ability to reduce stress levels and its calming qualities. Ashwagandha is commonly sought out by people who are suffering from anxiety or are finding themselves affected by the stresses of daily life. However, stress is just one of many issues that Ashwagandha can reportedly help with, so let’s take a look at some of the other supposed benefits.
Improving Energy Levels and Endurance
Because of its stress relieving properties, Ashwagandha is said to be able to improve your general energy levels by combating fatigue. It is also thought to be able to have an impact on endurance. One study found that Ashwagandha had a significant positive effect on the endurance of elite cyclists, who were able to improve their performance after taking the supplement.
Strengthening Immune System
We all know the value and importance of our immune system, and it’s crucial we actively try to support it. Ashwagandha is reported to have a significant impact on our immune system due to its immune boosting properties. According to this study, it has been found to improve the bodies defence against diseases as it’s able to improve cell-mediated immunity. Ashwagandha also contains antioxidant properties, which helps to protect against cellular damage from free radicals. The anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha have been reported to aid people who are in need of pain relief.
Increasing Testosterone Levels in Men
It has also been reported that Ashwagandha is able to boost testosterone levels in men, whilst also increasing muscle mass and strength. In addition to this, Ashwagandha is also said to be able to increase fertility levels within men, as found in this study.
Whilst there is still a lot of research to be done regarding the exact benefits of Ashwagandha, it is becoming increasingly popular amongst people as its availability continues to grow.