What Is Ashwagandha Good For?

Updated on February 9, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Exploring the health benefits of Ashwagandha in a creative visual form.

What is Ashwagandha really good for?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a powerful herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Packed with a wide range of potential health benefits, Ashwagandha is becoming increasingly popular in the wellness world.

With this increase in usage, many are wondering what Ashwagandha supplements are so good for.

From reducing stress and anxiety to improving cognitive function and boosting fertility, this adaptogenic herb has a lot to offer.

In this article, we will explore the many benefits of Ashwagandha and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine for optimal health and well-being.

Understanding Ashwagandha and Its Benefits

Ashwagandha, a powerful adaptogen, has numerous benefits. It is renowned for its potential to soothe the mind, decrease inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and modulate the immune system. Its primary use is to help the body withstand various forms of stress, both physical and mental, enhancing overall well-being and resilience.

Ashwagandha is native to the dry regions of India, North Africa, and the Middle East. Its name is derived from the Sanskrit words “ashva,” meaning horse, and “gandha,” meaning smell, which refers to the strong odor of its roots.

Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a Rasayana, which is a rejuvenating tonic. It is known for its ability to help the body cope with stress and promote general well-being.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha has been used for various purposes.

It is primarily known as a nervine tonic, used to support the nervous system and promote mental and emotional well-being. Additionally, it has been used to treat conditions such as rheumatism, insomnia, and infertility.

Additionally, Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body adapt and cope with stress. It has been clinically shown to regulate cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, and reduce the negative effects of stress on the body.

Overall, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a highly revered herb with a long history of use.

The herb is safe and non-toxic, making it an attractive choice for those seeking natural ways to manage stress and improve overall health.

Also referred to as Indian Ginseng, this adaptogenic herb has gained attention and popularity for its numerous health benefits.

5 Surprising Benefits of Ashwagandha Supplements

Ashwagandha supplements have gained popularity in recent years due to their potential benefits for stress and anxiety, sleep, male infertility, and athletic performance.

These supplements typically contain extracts from the root, leaf, or a combination of both parts of the Ashwagandha plant. This makes Ashwagandha one of the most versatile and powerful nootropic herbs in the world of wellness!

To better understand the remarkable impact of adding premium Ashwagandha supplements to your routine, we have compiled a list of the top 5 health benefits of Ashwagandha:

  1. Improved Athletic Performance: Research has shown that Ashwagandha may have beneficial effects on athletic performance. In a study involving 12 individuals who took Ashwagandha doses between 120mg and 1250mg per day, the results suggested that this herb may enhance physical performance.(1) So, if you’re an athlete looking for a natural way to boost your performance, ashwagandha could be a worthwhile supplement to consider.
  2. Better Sleep: If you struggle with sleep issues, Ashwagandha might help. Some research suggests that this herb has sleep-enhancing properties.(2) So, if you find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, incorporating Ashwagandha into your routine could potentially improve your sleep quality.
  3. Managing Anxiety and Depression: Ashwagandha may offer potential benefits for those dealing with conditions like anxiety and depression. A study found that participants who took 1000mg of Ashwagandha extract daily for 12 weeks experienced greater reductions in depression and anxiety compared to those who took a placebo.(3) This suggests that Ashwagandha could be a natural way to support mental well-being.
  4. Cognitive Health: Research has shown that certain compounds found in ashwagandha have antioxidant effects on the brain, which may benefit cognitive health. However, more research is needed to draw strong conclusions. Some studies have indicated that Ashwagandha supplements may improve memory, reaction time, and the ability to perform tasks in certain populations.(4) So, if you’re looking to support your brain health, Ashwagandha supplements could be worth exploring.
  5. Hormone Balance: Ashwagandha supplements have shown promise in improving hormone levels. In a study involving 43 males aged 40-70 with overweight and mild fatigue, those who took Ashwagandha extract tablets daily for 8 weeks experienced an 18% greater increase in DHEA-S, a sex hormone involved in testosterone, compared to those who took a placebo.(5) This suggests that Ashwagandha could potentially support hormone balance in certain populations.

The Safety of Ashwagandha

While Ashwagandha has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic properties, there have been limited studies specifically investigating its safety and tolerability in humans.

However, the available research suggests that the Ashwagandha root extract is safe for short-term use.

Long-term safety and the effects of varying dosage ranges are still not well understood. Therefore, caution should be exercised when considering prolonged or high-dose usage of Ashwagandha, as the long-term effects have not been established.

Potential Side Effects of Ashwagandha

While it is well-tolerated by most people, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects and take necessary precautions, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have autoimmune diseases, or thyroid conditions.

Here are some important points to consider:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider before starting any herbal supplements, including Ashwagandha. It is generally considered unsafe to use Ashwagandha during pregnancy due to evidence suggesting that it may increase the risk of miscarriages. There is not enough reliable information on the safety of Ashwagandha while breastfeeding. To err on the safe side, it is recommended to avoid its use during this period.
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Ashwagandha may cause the immune system to become more active, which could potentially worsen the symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). If you have any autoimmune conditions, it is advisable to exercise caution and avoid using Ashwagandha to prevent exacerbating the symptoms.
  • Thyroid Conditions: Ashwagandha may influence thyroid hormone levels and function. While some studies suggest it might aid in balancing thyroid function, others caution against its use in people with thyroid conditions. If you have a thyroid condition, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before taking ashwagandha to determine whether it is suitable for your specific situation.
  • Central Nervous System and Surgery: Ashwagandha may have a sedating effect on the central nervous system. This is important to consider if you are scheduled for surgery or undergoing anesthesia, as it might potentiate the sedative effects of medications given during and after the procedure. It is recommended to stop taking Ashwagandha at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery to minimize any potential interactions or complications.
  • Other Potential Side Effects: Like any supplement, some individuals may experience side effects when taking Ashwagandha. These can include gastrointestinal issues like constipation and changes in appetite, respiratory symptoms such as rhinitis and congestion, and increased libido.

Conclusion: What Does Ashwagandha Do for Your Body?

There are numerous scientific studies and research have shown that Ashwagandha is truly a remarkable herb with multiple benefits for the body. 

From its ability to relieve anxiety and improve sleep, to its positive effects on strength gains and heart health, Ashwagandha has proven to be a powerful nootropic treatment. Its natural and non-toxic properties make it an appealing option for those looking to improve their mental and physical well-being.

With its ability to promote healthy metabolic, endocrine, and immune function, as well as improve mood and mental performance, Ashwagandha supplements are a must-try for anyone seeking a natural remedy for stress and anxiety.

Don’t miss out on this incredible herb and its many incredible benefits for your body.

Give Ashwagandha a try and experience the remarkable effects yourself!

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Bonilla, Diego A et al. “Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on Physical Performance: Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis.” Journal of functional morphology and kinesiology vol. 6,1 20. 11 Feb. 2021, doi:10.3390/jfmk6010020 ↩
  2. Cheah, Kae Ling et al. “Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” PloS one vol. 16,9 e0257843. 24 Sep. 2021, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0257843 ↩
  3. Lopresti, Adrian L et al. “An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Medicine vol. 98,37 (2019): e17186. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017186 ↩
  4. Xing, Dante et al. “Effects of Acute Ashwagandha Ingestion on Cognitive Function.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 19,19 11852. 20 Sep. 2022, doi:10.3390/ijerph191911852 ↩
  5. Lopresti, Adrian L et al. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males.” American journal of men’s health vol. 13,2 (2019): 1557988319835985. doi:10.1177/1557988319835985 ↩