Learn these ashwagandha benefits to know how the herb can help boost your thyroid and overall health.
In this article:
- Enhances Male Fertility and Sexual Function
- Helps Boost Muscle Strength
- Reduces Joint Pain
- Increases Endurance and Stamina
- Improves Immune Function and Reduces Inflammation
- Boosts Memory and Reduces Brain Cell Degeneration
- Fights Cancer
- Normalizes Blood Sugar Levels
- Improves Symptoms of Depression
- Combats Anxiety and Stress
- Relieves Adrenal Fatigue
- Enhances Underactive Thyroid Function
- Improves Heart Health
Ashwagandha Benefits to Strengthen Thyroid Health
Ashwagandha Definition: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb that has been used for medicinal purposes over 2,500 years. It is popular in Ayurvedic medicine because of its anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, neuroprotective, and thyroid-modulating properties.
1. Enhances Male Fertility and Sexual Function
Male fertility improvement is one of the known ashwagandha benefits. It aids in increasing the sperm count, semen volume, and sperm motility based on a study conducted among 46 male participants. Another study conducted in 50 healthy women who took ashwagandha dosage resulted in an improved sexual function, specifically in the areas of orgasm, lubrication, and arousal.
2. Helps Boost Muscle Strength
A 2015 study in 57 men ages 18 to 50 years revealed that the intake of ashwagandha root extract can significantly increase muscle strength and mass. The study showed that those who do resistance training experienced an increase in muscle mass in the chest and arm areas and reduced muscle damage.
3. Reduces Joint Pain
Clinical trials focused on joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis-related joint pain have found positive results with pain reduction. Researchers also found no side effects among the patients during the study.
4. Increases Endurance and Stamina
Ashwagandha can help boost endurance during physical activity by reducing body pain and sharpening brain function. It also helps lower stress hormones and has some calming and energizing effects that improve stamina, motivation, and concentration. In a 2015 study in India, researchers found improved cardiorespiratory endurance and enhanced quality of life among its participants.
5. Improves Immune Function and Reduces Inflammation
Among the list of ashwagandha benefits is its immune function boosting abilities. It increases immunoglobulin production which is known to destroy bacteria and viruses. It also helps in reducing inflammatory levels in your body by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines. The herb can be a potential natural treatment for various inflammatory disorders. A study showed that participants who took 250 mg of the herb daily decreased their C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, by 36%.
6. Boosts Memory and Reduces Brain Cell Degeneration
Ashwagandha has powerful antioxidants that provide healing effects for the brain and destroy free radicals. They work as a stress reliever that shields the brain from cell degeneration which, in turn, can lead to Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
A pilot study in 2017 revealed that the herb can boost immediate and general memory in those with mild cognitive impairment. Ashwagandha also helps improve information processing speed, attention, and other mental skills.
One controlled study in men found that the daily intake of the herb (500 mg) improved the participants’ task performance and reaction time. Another study showed that participants who took 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice a day had enhanced general memory and attention.
7. Fights Cancer
Ashwagandha has anti-tumor effects as well. Its extract aids in inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells, especially in the colon, stomach, lungs, and breasts. It has also been found that the herb lessens side effects from anti-cancer agents, such as weakened immunity.
8. Normalizes Blood Sugar Levels
Research showed that ashwagandha roots and leaf extracts help normalize or stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetic rats. The herb contains phenolic compounds like flavonoids that enhance regeneration of pancreatic beta cells and insulin release which both help fight diabetes.
9. Improves Symptoms of Depression
Ashwagandha helps improve people’s self-assessed quality of life and resistance towards stress. It works as an adaptogen, supporting the adrenal system to balance hormones that manage stress response. This results in some improvements in the symptoms of depression. One study revealed that those who took 600 mg of the herb daily self-reported a significant reduction in severe depression by 79%.
10. Combats Anxiety and Stress
One of the popular ashwagandha benefits is its ability to combat anxiety and stress. The herb has the same medicinal benefit as imipramine and lorazepam, drugs known to fight anxiety, without any ashwagandha side effects.
A study showed that participants who were given ashwagandha treatment decreased their anxiety scores to 55%. A significant increase in scores for overall quality of life, fatigue, vitality, social functioning, concentration, and mental health was also recorded.
11. Relieves Adrenal Fatigue
Mental, physical, and emotional stress can lead to adrenal fatigue, and because ashwagandha supports the adrenal system which is responsible for the production of adrenaline and cortisol (the hormones that react to stress), the herb can help people overcome this condition.
12. Enhances Underactive Thyroid Function
The herb may also be a potential alternative treatment for people with underactive thyroid problems.
A 2017 study found that ashwagandha enhanced thyroxine and serum thyroid-stimulating hormone levels in a treatment group that was administered with 600 mg of the herb’s root extract each day for 8 weeks.
Another study showed that ashwagandha contains thyroid-enhancing properties that help cognitive functioning. Results from the lab testing of the study revealed that patients experienced an increase in thyroxine levels.
13. Improves Heart Health
Ashwagandha also has the ability to improve heart health, as it may lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. One study in rats showed that the herb significantly reduces triglycerides by almost 45% and cholesterol levels by as much as 53%. Another study, in humans this time, revealed that the group of participants taking the highest amount of ashwagandha decreased bad LDL cholesterol by 17% and triglycerides by 11%.
Learn more about the benefits of ashwagandha for your thyroid in this video from Agnistoka:
Ashwagandha extract from the herb’s roots and leaves gives a lot of health benefits and has a variety of medical uses. These range from improved sexual function to enhanced cardiovascular health. It also helps provide a healthy balance in multiple bodily compounds and elements. But keep in mind that before taking this herb, it is still best to consult your physician for proper medical guidance on drug interactions and possible diet and lifestyle modifications.
What other ashwagandha benefits can you add to the list above? Have you taken it before? Which of the listed health benefits have you experienced so far? Let us talk about your experience in the comments section below.