Ashwagandha also known as winter cherry is an annual evergreen shrub.  The shrub is small with yellow flowers.  It can be found in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.  It is one of the main herbs used in a traditional form of alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing, called Ayurveda.  Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years to help many different ailments. 

Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means to smell the horse, this is due to the smell of the herb as well as the potential to increase strength. 

Ashwagandha is growing in popularity and you can even buy it as a supplement now.  


Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Stress Reduction

One of the most known uses for Ashwagandha is to reduce stress and anxiety.  Ashwagandha is categorized as an adaptogen.  An adaptogen helps your body cope with stress.  Ashwagandha has shown to help control heat shock proteins, as well as cortisol levels.  It also reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is a system that helps your body regulate stress response.  Taking a daily dose of Ashwagandha may also help with insomnia, and the overall quality of your sleep.  Some studies have shown that it can also reduce stress related weight gain. 

Increase Endurance & Strength

There are some benefits of Ashwagandha for athletes as well.  It has been shown to help enhance strength and oxygen use during exercise.  Ashwagandha may also increase muscle strength, speed, muscle power, and even lower your body fat percentage.  Ashwagandha enhances your maximum oxygen consumption, which is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use in intense activity. 

Low maximum oxygen consumption is associated with increased mortality risk.  Where a high maximum oxygen consumption lowers your risk of heart disease. 

Boost Heart Health

Ashwagndha can help boost your heart health.  It can lower high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol levels, ease chest pain, and prevent heart disease. 

Help Mental Health

In many studies Ashwagandha has been shown to be helpful in a number of different mental health areas.  It has been shown to be useful as an antidepressant in people who suffer from depression. 

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In people with schizophrenia it was shown to help reduce their depression levels, as well as reduce overall symptoms, and improve perceived stress. 

Improve Brain Function

For people with bipolar disease it helped improve cognitive impairment. 

Ashwagandha use for people with Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, or Parkinson’s disease showed to slow or prevent loss of brain function in the disease’s progression. 

Ashwagandha when taken daily has also shown to improve cognitive skills, memory, improve reaction times, and improve attention spans. 

Improve Sexual Function

Other benefits of Ashwagandha are it boosts testosterone and male fertility.  It also can improve sexual function in women. 

Reduce Pain & Inflammation

Ashwagandha may help with arthritis as a pain reliever.  It may also contain anti-inflammatory properties which can help with rheumatoid arthritis. 

Insulin & Blood Sugar

There isn’t much research done on how it affects insulin in the body but Ashwagandha may help reduce blood sugar levels. 


Dosage & Frequency 

The amount of Ashwagandha you take depends on what you are trying to use it for.  There are no standard doses.  You can get the herb in either capsule, powder or liquid extract. 

Taking a too big of a dose may cause your body to not absorb all of it.  As well as bring on unwanted side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  It has shown to be better to take small doses more frequently. 



You will want to stay clear of Ashwagandha if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, undergoing surgery soon, have a thyroid condition, or are immunosuppressed. 



Effects may not be immediate.  It is relatively safe when dosed appropriately, and is easily available in all its supplemental forms.  It is an ancient medicinal herb with lots of health benefits.  



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