Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb.
It’s classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help your body manage stress.
Ashwagandha also provides numerous other benefits for your body and brain.
For example, it can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Here are some benefits of ashwagandha that are supported by science.
1. Reduce blood sugar levels
In several studies, ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.
One test-tube study found that it increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells (2Trusted Source).
Additionally, in a 4-week study in people with schizophrenia, those treated with ashwagandha had an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL, compared with 4.5 mg/dL in those who received a placebo (5Trusted Source).
2. Can reduce cortisol levels
Cortisol is known as a stress hormone given that your adrenal glands release it in response to stress, as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low.
Unfortunately, in some cases, cortisol levels may become chronically elevated, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.
In one study, in chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared with the control group. Those taking the highest dose experienced a 30% reduction, on average (3).
3. Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress.
Researchers have reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system (16Trusted Source).
In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, on average, compared with 11% in the placebo group (14Trusted Source).
In another 6-week study, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo (18Trusted Source).
4. May reduce inflammation
It has also been shown to decrease markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). This marker is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
In one controlled study, the group who took 250 mg of standardized ashwagandha extract daily had a 36% decrease in CRP, on average, compared with a 6% decrease in the placebo group (3).
5. Improve brain function and memory
Test-tube and animal studies suggest that ashwagandha may mitigate memory and brain function problems caused by injury or disease (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Research has shown that it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.
In one study, rats with epilepsy that were treated with ashwagandha had nearly a complete reversal of spatial memory impairment. This was likely caused by a reduction in oxidative stress (32Trusted Source).
Although ashwagandha has traditionally been used to boost memory in Ayurvedic medicine, only a small amount of human research has been conducted in this area.
In one controlled study, healthy men who took 500 mg of standardized extract daily reported significant improvements in their reaction time and task performance, compared with men who received a placebo (33Trusted Source).
Another 8-week study in 50 adults showed that taking 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily significantly improved general memory, task performance, and attention (34Trusted Source).
There are many options on the market. We're loving the Arbonne InnerCalm Adaptogenic De-Stress Powder. This vegan natural health product is formulated with sustainably-sourced Ashwagandha (a powerful adaptogen) plus sustainably-sourced Saffron to help support mood balance. With a delicious Peach-Green Tea flavour, we love how this tastes.
Remember to have fun, be grateful and you'll be on your way to living your most optimal life!