Nutrition

Ashwagandha Benefits for Sleep and Anxiety

Is ashwagandha the stress remedy your body needs? This adaptogen helps ease anxiety and insomnia. Also, ashwagandha benefits brain function, and it can help boost testosterone levels.

SUMMARY

Adaptogens are plants that support your health in powerful ways, and ashwagandha root is one of the most potent of the bunch. What is ashwagandha all about when it comes to wellness? Ashwagandha benefits cognition and brain function. And studies indicate that an ashwagandha supplement may help lower high blood sugar and relieve anxiety.  

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Adaptogens have the power to seriously upshift your health in a number of areas. 

Ashwagandha is one of the most effective adaptogens in existence. This medicinal herb dates back to ancient times. Ashwagandha benefits chronic stress and improves brain function. And an ashwagandha supplement can help you get a good night’s sleep.

So, what is ashwagandha good for in your overall health evolution? Let’s tackle the issue. 

In this article, we will:

  • Explain what ashwagandha is
  • Discuss how adaptogens such as ashwagandha impact the body
  • Offer guidance on how to take ashwagandha
  • Share insight regarding ashwagandha KSM-66
  • List key ashwagandha benefits, including notable ashwagandha benefits for men and women
  • Find out if there are ashwagandha side effects
  • Offer guidance regarding an optimal ashwagandha dose

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub or herb, and it’s native to the Middle East, India and parts of Africa. In certain parts of the world, it’s been used in traditional medicine for centuries. 

This healing herb is also known as winter ginseng, Indian ginseng or Indian cherry. Its botanical name is Withania somnifera

If you want to get a sense of the many ways in which ashwagandha benefits wellness, look to ayurveda. Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine that’s practiced in India; it dates back to 6000 BC. 

Within ayurvedic medicine, the ashwagandha plant is classified as a rasayana. So, what is ashwagandha good for in its role as an ayurvedic rasayana? A rasayana is an ayurvedic herb or treatment that promotes youthfulness, happiness and health, both physically and mentally. 

Rasayana remedies are given to children as tonics, and they’re also given to those who are middle-aged and elderly to help promote longevity. Ashwagandha has been hailed as one of the most potent and revered rasayana remedies. 

As a healing remedy, ashwagandha benefits health via the properties of its root. Ashwagandha root is prized for its capabilities as a wellness tonic. However, this plant also bears an orange-red fruit that fosters wellness. And extract or powder from the herb’s leaves are also used to support good health. 

How do adaptogens such as ashwagandha impact the body?

As we’ve mentioned, ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen. What is ashwagandha capable of doing in this role?

An adaptogen is a plant that has special healing properties. These plants have the ability to help the body deal with stress in a healthier way. The list of adaptogens includes chaga mushroom, cordyceps, reishi mushroom, rhodiola and maca.

Stress can take a toll on the body. It can impact these glands:

  • Adrenal gland
  • Pituitary gland
  • Hypothalamic gland 

Adaptogens such as ashwagandha provide vital assistance to these glands as you deal with stress. Ashwagandha benefits your health by mitigating the body’s stress response.  

Ashwagandha’s role in the body’s stress response

We’ve all had firsthand experience with stress, and we know how damaging it can be. So, what are the ways in which ashwagandha benefits the body’s stress response?

There are three stages of stress: 

  • Alarm phase
  • Resistance phase
  • Exhaustion phase

During the initial alarm phase, stress hormones are released. Adrenaline is one such stress hormone. Another is cortisol. At this point, it’s common for the body to exhibit a high cortisol level. 

The next stage is the resistance phase. During this phase, you may notice certain positive effects. You may feel more clear-headed and energetic, and you may observe improved muscle performance. If you get rid of the stressor during this stage of the stress response, the body will return to normal. 

The final stage of the stress response is the exhaustion phase. This occurs if the body suffers from stress over long periods of time. If your body’s stress response enters the exhaustion phase, the symptoms may include anxiety, fatigue and depression. 

With all this in mind, what is ashwagandha good for when supporting your body’s stress response? Adaptogens such as ashwagandha root or ashwagandha powder extend the resistance phase of your body’s response to stress. 

As we’ve mentioned, the resistance phase of the stress response may bring upgrades in brain function and muscle performance. By facilitating these upgrades, ashwagandha benefits wellness and gives your body the resources it needs to cope with stress in a capable and efficient way. 

How to take ashwagandha

You have many different choices to consider if you want to add ashwagandha to your health routine. 

For example, you could take an ashwagandha supplement. There are many different types of ashwagandha supplements on the market. They range from ashwagandha root powder to ashwagandha gummies. 

You could also use ashwagandha root to make tea. Ashwagandha tea is known for its healing properties. 

Here are some options regarding ashwagandha consumption:

  • Supplement with ashwagandha gummies
  • Stir ashwagandha powder into your morning smoothie
  • Add ashwagandha pills to your daily routine
  • Take an ashwagandha capsule with your cup of orange juice each morning

What is ashwagandha KSM-66?

If you’re interested in learning more about how ashwagandha benefits health, you’ll want to gather some insight regarding ashwagandha KSM-66. 

Ashwagandha KSM-66 is also known as KSM-66 ashwagandha root extract. This product is a branded, full-spectrum ashwagandha extract. Extraction occurs via a proprietary process. 

With this extraction process, only ashwagandha root is used; the leaves are never included. This protocol is followed because the researchers behind this approach believe that ashwagandha root has more potent health benefits than the plant’s leaves. 

Ashwagandha KSM-66 is extracted based on “Green Chemistry” principles. This means that extraction occurs without the use of alcohol or any other chemical solvent. 

Some researchers believe that ashwagandha KSM-66 is more bioavailable and effective than versions of this herb that have been extracted via other methods. KSM-66 ashwagandha root extract is often used in clinical trials. Overall, it’s one of the most heavily studied ashwagandha extracts in existence. 

Is ashwagandha KSM-66 vegan? 

Vegans choose to avoid foods that contain animal products. As far as vegans go, what is ashwagandha KSM-66 all about? Is it suitable for those who follow a vegan lifestyle? 

In some cases, the ashwagandha root is pre-treated with milk during KSM-66 extraction. This pretreatment process is consistent with ancient ayurvedic practices. 

However, there is also a version of KSM-66 extraction in which the milk pretreatment process is skipped. Since it contains no animal products, this milk-free version of ashwagandha KSM-66 is suitable for vegans. Products that contain this type of ashwagandha KSM-66 are usually listed as being vegan-friendly on the label. 

Ashwagandha benefits

An ashwagandha supplement can serve as a potent tonic. 

What is ashwagandha capable of when it comes to overall health support? Here are some ways in which ashwagandha benefits your health:   

Ashwagandha benefit #1: Lowers blood sugar to healthy levels

High blood sugar can have fatal health outcomes. It’s been linked with deadly ailments such as diabetes. 

Research shows ashwagandha benefits wellness by helping to lower your blood sugar level to a healthy range. In a 2000 study, ashwagandha supplementation caused a decrease in blood sugar that was comparable to that caused by an oral hypoglycemic drug.   

Ashwagandha benefit #2: Improves sleep quality

Many people struggle with insomnia. Research shows ashwagandha benefits sleep quality and can help alleviate insomnia.

2019 study looked at the impact of ashwagandha root extract on participants with insomnia. The study showed that ashwagandha supplementation improved sleep quality at a dose of 300 mg, taken twice daily. 

Ashwagandha benefit #3: May help prevent cancer

Cancer is a disease that is often debilitating and deadly. Research shows ashwagandha benefits health by helping to prevent cancer. 

With ashwagandha, benefits for women include the ability to help prevent ovarian cancer and breast cancer

But the list doesn’t end there. Various animal studies show that ashwagandha may also be effective at preventing these types of cancer in men and women:

Ashwagandha benefit #4: Eases stress and anxiety

Chronic stress and anxiety are common in our modern world. These conditions can make your life less joyful and less productive. 

Research indicates that ashwagandha benefits chronic stress and anxiety. It can help ease stress by reducing cortisol levels

A 2012 study looked at ashwagandha’s effect on adults under stress. Those who were given a high-concentration full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract experienced a reduction in cortisol level and improved resistance toward stress. 

Ashwagandha benefit #5: May improve brain function

When it comes to brain health, what is ashwagandha capable of?

Efficient cognition is important if we want to lead lives that are happy and productive, and ashwagandha can help. Research shows that ashwagandha benefits brain function in key ways. 

In a 2012 study, ashwagandha extract was used to treat memory impairment in epileptic rats. Ashwagandha supplementation brought about an almost complete reversal of memory impairment symptoms. 

And a 2017 study looked at ashwagandha’s impact on cognition. Participants who took a 300-mg dose of ashwagandha extract twice daily experienced improvements in memory, task performance and attention. 

Ashwagandha benefit #6: May boost strength and muscle mass

Many of us want to get stronger and enhance the size of our muscles. Research shows that ashwagandha benefits strength and muscle mass. 

In a 2012 study, participants who took 750-1,250 mg of ashwagandha root showed notable improvements in muscle strength. 

And in a 2015 study, participants who supplemented with 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily showed significant improvements in strength and muscle mass. 

Ashwagandha benefit #7: May boost testosterone levels and improve fertility in men

What is ashwagandha good for when it comes to male reproductive health?

With ashwagandha, benefits for men include the ability to boost testosterone level and improve fertility. 

In a 2009 study, ashwagandha supplements helped men realize notable gains in their fertility. 

And in a 2010 study, ashwagandha supplementation improved semen quality in infertile subjects; it also reduced oxidative stress. Furthermore, ashwagandha treatment also led to significant improvement in testosterone levels. 

Ashwagandha side effects

Current research indicates that ashwagandha is a safe supplement with no notable side effects. 

However, there are certain people who should avoid this adaptogen. Ashwagandha can cause harm to pregnant or breastfeeding women. And if you have an autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, consult a healthcare provider before taking an ashwagandha supplement. 

Ashwagandha dose

It’s common for a dose of 450-500 mg of ashwagandha extract to be taken once or twice daily.

In research studies that measured strength, cognition and sleep quality, significant benefits were obtained with a 300-mg dose of ashwagandha taken twice daily. 

Next steps

What is ashwagandha capable of doing to support you on your journey toward improved health and fitness? To see if this medicinal plant and dietary supplement is a good match for your needs, give it a try. You can find a wide range of ashwagandha supplements online or at your local health food store. 

Supplements such as ashwagandha are helpful, but they need to be supported by a nourishing diet. Get the healthy food your body needs by subscribing to Fresh N Lean. Our meal plans range from vegan to keto, and we deliver to your home or office.