Known as an adaptogen, or herb that can have health impacts, ashwagandha is native to India, North Africa, and the Middle East. Although it’s been used for thousands of years, it’s recently risen to mainstream popularity due to the science behind its many benefits.
As an ancient medicinal herb, ashwagandha has many benefits and experts from Myprotein India shares what it actually does.
A study done over a two-month period compared stress levels in groups who used ashwagandha supplements and those who did not. Scientists think that ashwagandha can block the pathway that sends stress signals to the brain. The study found significantly lower stress in the group who took this supplement regularly.
Research has shown a benefit to thyroid function in individuals whose levels were classified as nonclinical hypothyroidism. Low thyroid function can be to blame for many metabolic issues. This is an important finding because treatment of this condition can prevent low thyroid function from progressing to more serious health outcomes.
Along with improving stress levels, ashwagandha is also linked with lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” and is commonly high in individuals who are struggling to lose weight. Lowering cortisol in addition to supporting thyroid function may work together to help with weight loss.
The same study that showed a reduction in body fat percentage also found reduced overall cholesterol and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol. Healthy cholesterol levels are important for circulation and heart health to prevent disease.
An 8-week trial in healthy volunteers showed improved strength after taking this medicinal herb consistently as part of their strength training program.
This trial also showed other promising benefits like less muscle damage (which translates to shorter recovery time) and increased testosterone levels (which can help with bulking).
Keeping our brains healthy and well trained is as important as keeping our muscles healthy and trained. Ashwagandha was shown to improve overall memory and attention span in research done on its cognitive effects. This can be helpful when you need to focus on a difficult task at hand.
Some cultures have used ashwagandha as a medicinal herb for years, and recent clinical research is promising. There is good evidence to support the use of ashwagandha for both mental and physical health benefits, like stress reduction and fat loss.