If you’re keeping an eye on the new healthy things out there you probably heard about Ashwagandha. I don’t expect you to know what it is, I just hope that that word fell onto your radar at some point in the last year or so.
If you’re sitting here all like- Ashwa who? Do not worry, I’m gonna tell you what it is and most importantly why it should be added to your shopping list due to all of the amazing benefits that it has.

Withania somnifera more commonly known as Ashwagandha is a herb that can be found in the Indian system of medicine. It can be used in a tonic to increase longevity and it has inti-stress agents.
Ashwagandha is commonly available as a churna, a fine sieved powder that can be mixed with water, ghee (clarified butter) or honey. It enhances the function of the brain and nervous system and has been shown to improve memory. It can help to improve the function of the reproductive system promoting a healthy sexual and reproductive balance. Being a powerful adaptogen, it enhances the body’s resilience to stress. Ashwagandha improves the body’s defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity. It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.

There are so many benefits to Ashwagandha – it’s amazing!

It is a medicine herb.
It has been used in medicine practices for a long time. It’s one of the most popular herbs used for relieving stress as well as increasing energy and helping with concentration.
Helps to lowers blood sugar
There has been some evidence that Ashwagandha increases insulin secretion and can also improve insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells. There also have been studies that suggest that Ashwagandha can help lower the blood sugar in both healthy people as well as people with diabetes.
Possesses anticancer effects
Even though most of the studies suggesting that have come from animal trials, there’s a compound in ashwagandha called withaferin that helps induce apoptosis, which in its place helps kill the cancer cells. Withaferin also promotes the formation of reactive oxygen species inside cancer cells and disrupts their function. Throughout the animal studies it’s been shown to help treat multiple types of cancer such as breast, lung, brain and ovarian cancers.
There’s still no research on humans, however the current research on animals is promising.
Reduction in cortisol levels
Cortisone is a stress hormone and if the levels of this hormone are high it can have multiple negative effects on your health. There are multiple studies that show that Ahwagandha can help reduce the cortisol levels. There’s one study that shows up to 30% reduction in cortisol levels for chronically stressed adults.
Reduction of stress and anxiety
The stress and anxiety reduction is probably the most benefit that people notice from Ashwagandha. There has been a lot of human studies and the results have been very indicative of the benefits.
In one study that lasted 60 days with 64 people who were chronically stressed, those in the group taking Ashwagandha supplements saw a 69% decrease in anxiety as well as insomnia, compared to 11% decrease in the placebo group. Another 6 week study had 88% reduction in anxiety in the ashwagandha group versus 50% reduction in the placebo group.
Point here is that it’s worth trying it out if you are constantly stressed and looking for a way to lower your stress and anxiety levels.
Reduction of symptoms of depression
Even though there hasn’t been too much research done on the matter on depression, there are a few studies that suggest that Ashwagandha can help relieve the symptoms of depression. In the 60 day study with 64 participants, ones in the group taking 600mg concentrated ashwagandha extract showed a 79% reduction in the depression when the placebo group had an increase of 10%.
Could help increase muscle mass and strength
Even though the research on this one is still new, studies have shown that taking ashwagandha can benefit body composition.
One study showed gain in strength after taking 750–1,250 mg of pulverized ashwagandha and another study showed gain in strength and muscle mass as well as decrease of body fat amounts. These studies have been performed on men.
Reduces inflammation
Based, yet again, on animal studies, decrease in inflammation has been found. In human studies however activity of natural killer cells has been detected. Those cells promote general well being and help fight off infections. There also have been reductions in some markers of inflammation that are connected to heart disease.
In the controlled study, the group that took 250mg of ashwagandha per day had a 36% decrease in CPR (inflammation marker C-reactive protein) compared to 6% decrease in the placebo group.
Could help lower cholesterol and triglycerides
There’s some research that suggests Ashwagandha has cholesterol and triglycerides lowering abilities. Studies on animals have reported very good results with the reduction of up to 53% and 45% of cholesterol and triglycerides respectively. Human studies, though haven’t shown that drastic decrease, still came with a 17% decrease in cholesterol levels and 11% decrease in triglycerides based on the 60 day study.
May improve brain function
While most studies have been conducted on animals there are a few human studies that show the improvements in memory and attention due to regular supplementation of Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha promotes antioxidant activity in the body that fights free radicals. In the two studies participants took 500 mg and 300 mg twice a day and both groups reported improvement in the reaction time as well as task performance, memory and attention span.

The point is, there really aren’t many scenarios where the Ashwagandha usage is not recommended (ex.-for pregnant women) and it’s generally good for you, so there really isn’t anything stopping you from giving it a go. The benefits speak for themselves and if you don’t like it after a month or two, don’t take it. If you’re not sure if you should be taking it please consult with your doctor to be completely sure as I am not a medical professional and the advice in this post is based on the research that’s been conducted.

By Co-Author (Primary): Karina Movsesova

Editor: Amanda (Meixner) Rocchio