Ashwagandha is one of the most well-known and widely used Ayurvedic herbs. And for good reason! It is great for so many functions in the body—from sleep, energy, and stress, to rejuvenation, muscle strength, and joint health.1Ashwagandha is a wonderfully versatile herb that is gaining more and more popularity amongst mainstream America and herbalists from all backgrounds (naturopaths, Chinese medicine, and Western herbalists included). Researchers love studying this herb, and they are finding many benefits.
5 Ashwagandha Studies
In a small double-blind, placebo-controlled study, healthy participants receiving a standardized root extract of ashwagandha for eight weeks showed an increase in speed and muscular strength by nearly 10% in tested physical activity.2
Focus and Concentration
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, twenty healthy males were given 500 mg of ashwagandha root extract for fourteen days. Significant cognitive improvements were seen in reaction-time tests, discrimination tests, and in card sorting tests, among many others. These results show ashwagandha’s ability to support attention, memory, focus, concentration, and responsiveness and coordination between the mind and motor functions.3
Stress and Food Consumption
In a study with fifty-two healthy subjects experiencing stress for a long period of time, ashwagandha (300 mg twice daily) not only decreased stress (as measured by the perceived stress scale), but also food cravings and overall body weights. This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that lasted eight weeks.4
In a clinical trial with healthy male volunteers aged fifty to sixty-nine, purified ashwagandha powder, given as 3 grams per day for one year, showed increases in blood counts, improved posture, and increased hair melanin (pigmentation of the hair). In another study, healthy children who were given 2 grams of powdered ashwagandha in milk, experienced improvements in blood counts, body weight, and hand strength.5
Sleep and Emotional Health
In a survey study of 218 healthy participants taking the same ashwagandha herb, sourced and provided by Banyan Botanicals (1200 mg two times a day), for one month, participants noted a 66.9% improvement in sleep quality. This is likely because it decreased stress levels in the participants. The herb also showed the positive effect of enhancing people’s emotional health by 42%. The positive effects on emotional health translated to the participants’ social life and social activities becoming improved by nearly 45.8%. The participants were better able to participate in activities like visiting friends and relatives and enjoying social activities and hobbies.
As always, it is very important to make sure that the quality of the ashwagandha that you take is superb. Banyan Botanicals’ organic ashwagandha contains withanolide A and withaferin A (the main active constituents of ashwagandha) in levels that exceed the British Pharmacopoeia requirements by three to five times! Further, Banyan Botanicals is committed to providing herbs that are fairly traded, sustainably sourced, and organic so you can rest assured that your body is getting only the highest quality herbs and supplements.
1 Sebastian Pole, Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice (London: Churchill Livingston, 2006), pp. 133-134.
2 Sandhu Jaspal, et al. “Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance n healthy young adults.” Int J Ayurveda Res. 1, no 3 (July-Sept 2010):144-149.
3 U Pingali, et al. “Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human subjects.” Pharmacognosy Res. 6, no 1 (January 2014):12-8.
4 D Choudhary, et al. “Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment with Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. April 6, 2016.
5 Lakshmi-Chandra Mishra, Betsy Singh, and Simon Dagenais. “Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review.” Alternative Medicine Review. 5, no 4 (2000):334-346.