Ashwagandha (Root Extract) | Full Review & In-Depth Look

Ashwagandha literally means “Smell of horse” in Sanskrit which isn’t exactly the best choice of name from a PR point of view. It’s not ever going to be the name of a new Tommy Hilfiger aftershave is it! But as a supplement, Ashwagandha is potentially one of the most underrated on the market.

The herb is found in India, and parts of Africa, and is an important part of traditional medicine in both regions. There are many benefits that Ashwagandha offers, these can be mental, physical, and hormonal. In this article we will look at some of the most well researched and evidence based benefits that it provides, and examine whether this supplement is worth your time and money.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

One of the first uses for Ashwagandha is as a way to lower anxiety, a study in 2000 on people with diagnosed anxiety disorders found that two doses of 250mg per day significantly reduced both depression and anxiety symptoms [1]. The root extract has also been shown to reduce cortisol, this is the hormone that causes stress. Cortisol can also reduce testosterone production by attacking the testicles (where testosterone is produced).

A 2012 study by Chandrasekhar, Kapoor, & Anishetty found that 300mg of Ashwagandha extract reduced serum cortisol by 27.9% in people with chronic stress [2]. Reducing cortisol will not only reduce stress and prevent reduction in testosterone. It can also help improve sleep quality, help with weight loss, and allow you to build muscle whilst training. These are not direct benefits of Ashwagandha root extract, but are indirect.

Another benefit of Ashwagandha root extract is that it can reduce cholesterol. A 2012 study by Raut et al found that high doses led to a 9.3% reduction in cholesterol (almost exclusively LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol) [3]. Incidentally the study also found that the supplement led to a significant increase in strength (quadriceps and lower back) even though the participants performed no exercise.

Other benefits include increased power (in the gym) and improved anaerobic performance (sprinting, weight lifting, and other high intensity movements). It can also lower blood pressure and help fight fatigue.

But the reason why most men take Ashwagandha root is because it is supposed to increase testosterone production. Most of the studies have found that it only seems to increase testosterone in men who are infertile, or who have very low levels of testosterone. So Ashwagandha can increase testosterone but only from low levels to average – not from average to high. Considering most men over 30 suffer from low testosterone though, so this is a good ingredient to take and it would be a great benefit to find a premium testosterone supplement that contains Ashwagandha.

Remember when it comes to testosterone there are both direct and indirect ways to increase it. As we mentioned earlier, reducing cortisol can help protect testosterone, while reducing fatigue and increasing power in the gym can also increase it. Reducing anxiety can improve the quality of your sleep, which can then improve testosterone as well.

Final Thoughts

Traditional medicine is a very controversial subject in the West, with many people exaggerating its importance, and just as many being overly-sceptical about it. But supplements such as Ashwagandha can really help to change opinions. It is scientifically proven to have many very useful benefits to mental, physical, and hormonal health. A great choice.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21407960

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23125505

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