Here are a few science-backed benefits of Ashwagandha.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its stress-relieving properties. Several studies highlight this advantage, observing Ashwagandha’s ability to decrease participants’ stress and anxiety levels significantly
One particular study indicated that Ashwagandha can benefit sleep quality as well—researchers confirmed participants slept much better with doses of the herb compared to placebo doses.
Lowers Blood Sugar and Fat
A couple of small clinical studies found Ashwagandha to be helpful in reducing blood and glucose levels and triglycerides (the most common type of fat in the blood). One study likened Ashwagandha’s blood sugar-lowering effects to those of medications prescribed for Type 2 Diabetes.
Increases Muscle and Strength
Researchers continue to study Ashwagandha’s efficacy in improving strength and muscle size. One study found participants experienced increased speed and strength. Another study observed an increase in muscle power, alongside a lower body fat percentage and reduced cholesterol levels when Ashwagandha was consumed. Some participants also experienced better sleep, but this study did not compare Ashwagandha consumption against a placebo.
Ashwagandha treatments produced positive results in another study conducted solely with male participants. Compared to the placebo group, men who received Ashwagandha saw significant gains in muscle strength (measured using bench press and leg extension exercises) and muscle size in their arms and chest, as well as a significant reduction in body fat percentage and post-workout muscle damage.
Improves Sexual Function in Women
At least one clinical study indicates Ashwagandha can benefit women experiencing sexual dysfunction. The administration of Ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in arousal, lubrication, orgasm and satisfaction, as self-reported by the participants. It also significantly improved the number of successful sexual encounters and improved metrics of distress around their sex lives and sexuality.
Boosts Fertility and Testosterone Levels in Men
Ashwagandha may also provide reproductive benefits for men. Administering Ashwagandha to infertile men has shown to improve sperm quality significantly by rebalancing reproductive hormone levels. After one study, 14% of the male patients’ partners became pregnant.
Studies found that Ashwagandha has a significant effect on the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) produced in the pituitary gland. LH is a key factor responsible for triggering testosterone production and thus brings in various reproductive benefits in men. Higher levels of Luteinizing Hormone leads to more testosterone production which is important for men
Sharpens Focus and Memory
Ashwagandha may help improve cognition, memory and the ability to perform motor responses after instruction. Small studies have found that, compared to a placebo, Ashwagandha significantly improved participants’ reaction times during cognition and psychomotor tests (which measure the ability to respond to instructions and perform an indicated action).
One study even found that Ashwagandha significantly improved participants’ attention spans, as well as their immediate and general memory across a variety of tests.
Supports Heart Health
At least two studies have shown that Ashwagandha can increase VO2 max levels, which is the maximum amount of oxygen you take in while physically exerting yourself. These levels are used in measuring cardiorespiratory endurance—how well the heart and lungs deliver oxygen to muscles during physical activity. Thus, higher VO2 max levels can indicate a healthy heart that performs well under those circumstances.