Introducing: the latest member of the superfoods family!
Ashwagandha, the latest member of the superfoods family, is a popular Ayurvedic herb with multiple health benefits. Do you feel stressed and out of balance? Then keep reading! Ashwagandha is best known for its ability to counter stress and restore balance in the body, but the benefits don't stop there.
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, may be unfamiliar to Europeans, but it has been used for thousands of years within Indian Ayurvedic medicine! It is mainly used for physical and mental weakness, fatigue, reduced sex drive, poor memory and issues with weight. But what else is it good for? How much should you take? Are there any side effects? Let's take a look at what the research shows.
5 health benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Never heard of an adaptogen? Simply put, an adaptogen is a natural substance that helps the body adapt and cope with stress and other strains1. Here’s a list with more information on how ashwagandha can benefit your health.
1: Ashwagandha reduces your body’s stress level and counteracts anxiety
As you may have gathered, Ashwagandha is best known for its ability to help strengthen the body's defense against stress and to counteract anxiety4 5 6. Amazing, but how does it work? Well, you may have heard the so-called stress hormone cortisol. When you’re stressed, the cortisol level in your body rises. Ashwagandha can help you lower cortisol levels2, making you feel less stressed! For instance, one study found that chronically stressed adults who were given ashwagandha supplements for 60 days reduced their cortisol levels by almost 30%2. Another study shows that participants reduced their anxiety by up to 44%, thanks to ashwagandha3.
2: Ashwagandha helps boost your immune system
You may have heard that stress can weaken the immune system and make you susceptible to infections? Since Ashwagandha helps strengthen the body's defense against stress, it also helps boost your immune system! Pretty smart, right? Ashwagandha is also a powerful antioxidant7, which, of course, also helps to strengthen your immune system.
3: Ashwagandha contributes to better body composition and makes you stronger
Do you want to build more muscle and reduce fat? Ashwagandha can help you reach your goals! Several studies show that ashwagandha supplements can contribute to increased strength and improved body composition8 9 10. For example, an Indian study found, among other things, that participants who took ashwagandha supplements decreased their body fat twice as much as the participants who didn’t take any supplementation.9.
4: Ashwagandha improves your brain health
Studies show that ashwagandha can have a positive neuroprotective effect in people with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's11 12. So what does this mean? Basically, this means that ashwagandha can have a positive effect on the processes in the body that prevent nerve damage and deterioration of the central nervous system. What’s more, research also shows that ashwagandha can help improve your memory13!
5: Ashwagandha has a positive effect on several diseases
Last but not least, I think it is worth mentioning that several studies show that ashwagandha has a positive effect on several diseases. For example, one study found that ashwagandha inhibits the growth of different types of cancer21. Also, there are several studies that show that in some cases Ashwagandha can help keep the symptoms of diabetes under control2 8 17 22.
How much ashwagandha should you consume?
Ashwagandha sounds great, right? So how much you consume? There is no official recommended amount when it comes to ashwagandha, but many studies suggest 100-500 mg as an effective dose7. However, it’s very individual so you should test it yourself. We recommend that you start with small amounts and then gradually increase the amount until you feel you have reached a level that suits you and your body. You can always contact us if you have any questions.
Where can I find ashwagandha?
Traditionally, ashwagandha is mixed with water, ghee and honey, but the easiest way to take it is in capsule form. Are you curious about what effect ashwagandha can have on you and your body? Why not start by testing our Organic Ashwagandha consisting of 100% organic and vegan ingredients? The capsules are easy to swallow you only need to take one a day! If you want to go a step further, you can always try to mix ashwagandha in your pastries. Or why not combine ashwagandha with other adaptogens in a golden milk latte?
By the way, ashwagandha may be powerful, but it is not magic. Don't give up if you don’t notice a difference right away! Adaptogens help the body to slowly, but surely, find balance. In other words, it may take some time before you notice the effects of ashwagandha.
Does ashwagandha have any known side effects?
Ashwagandha is generally safe for anyone to use8, but there are some possible side effects that are good to be aware of.
- Excessively large doses of ashwagandha have been shown to cause diarrhea and/or stomach pain14 15.
- Ashwagandha can cause an increased level of thyroid hormones16.
- Ashwagandha can react negatively with sedative drugs and medicines used by people with diseases such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, high blood pressure, mental disorders and immune suppression17 18.
There are also some studies suggesting that ashwagandha can exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis19 20.
When should you not consume ashwagandha?
Avoid ashwagandha if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking sedatives or other medicines, have stomach ulcers or other severe stomach irritation, have problems with elevated thyroid hormone levels. Not sure what applies to you, your medications or your illness? Ask your doctor!
2: Auddy, Biswajit & Hazra, Jayram & Mitra, Achintya & Abedon, Bruce & Ghosal, Shibnath. (2008). A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Journal of American Nutraceutical Association. 11. 50-56.
3: Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J. and Sridhar, A. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian Journal of psychological medicine Issue Number: 3, pp.255-262.
6: Andrade, C., Aswath, A., Chaturvedi, S. K., Srinivasa, M., & Raguram, R. (2000). A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian journal of psychiatry, 42(3), 295–301.
7: Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African journal of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines : AJTCAM, 8(5 Suppl), 208–213.
8: Raut, A. A., Rege, N. N., Tadvi, F. M., Solanki, P. V., Kene, K. R., Shirolkar, S. G., … Vaidya, A. B. (2012). Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine, 3(3), 111–114.
9: Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12, 43. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9
10: Sandhu, J. S., Shah, B., Shenoy, S., Chauhan, S., Lavekar, G. S., & Padhi, M. M. (2010). Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. International journal of Ayurveda research, 1(3), 144–149. doi:10.4103/0974-7788.72485
11: Sehgal, N., Gupta, A., Valli, R. K., Joshi, S. D., Mills, J. T., Hamel, E., … Ravindranath, V. (2012). Withania somnifera reverses Alzheimer's disease pathology by enhancing low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein in liver. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(9), 3510–3515. doi:10.1073/pnas.1112209109
12: Prakash, J., Yadav, S.K., Chouhan, S. et al. Neuroprotective Role of Withania somnifera Root Extract in Maneb–Paraquat Induced Mouse Model of Parkinsonism. Neurochem Res 38, 972–980 (2013) doi:10.1007/s11064-013-1005-4
13: Dnyanraj Choudhary, Sauvik Bhattacharyya & Sekhar Bose (2017) Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions, Journal of Dietary Supplements, 14:6, 599-612,
14: ConsumerLab.com. (n.d). What are the side effects of ashwagandha supplements?. [online] Available at: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/side-effects-of-ashwagandha-supplements/ashwagandha-side-effects/ [Accessed 22 Dec. 2019]
15: Lipman, F. (n.d.). Adaptogens 101: What They Are + How They Can Help With Your Stress & Fatigue. [online] mindbodygreen. Available at: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10589/adaptogens-101-what-they-are-how-they-can-help-with-your-stress-fatigue.html [Accessed 22 Dec. 2019].
18: Kaushik, M. K., Kaul, S. C., Wadhwa, R., Yanagisawa, M., & Urade, Y. (2017). Triethylene glycol, an active component of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves, is responsible for sleep induction. PloS one, 12(2), e0172508. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172508
19: Mishra, L.C. & Singh, B.B. & Dagenais, Simon. (2000). Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review. Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic. 5. 334-46.
22: Agnihotri, A. P., Sontakke, S. D., Thawani, V. R., Saoji, A., & Goswami, V. S. (2013). Effects of Withania somnifera in patients of schizophrenia: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled pilot trial study. Indian journal of pharmacology, 45(4), 417–418. doi:10.4103/0253-7613.115012