Ashwagandha, also called Indian ginseng, is a shrub with oval
leaves and yellow flowers. Although it is also called Indian ginseng,
ashwagandha and ginseng are not related. This herb has raisin-sized
red fruits. It is native to arid areas of India, North Africa, and
the Middle East but is now also found in the milder climates of the
In addition to improving memory and cognitive functions, ashwagandha was also used in ancient times to treat many other conditions. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is used to improve memory and cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment. Cognitive decline is often associated with aging processes. A recently published study found that Ashwagandha is a safe and effective herbal treatment that improves memory. With this, the traditional use of the plant has become scientifically sound.
In that study, 50 adults with mild cognitive impairment were recruited. Participants were given 300mg of ashwagandha root extract or placebo twice daily for eight weeks. The researchers then performed various memory and cognitive tests. The results showed that those who received ashwagandha extract experienced a significant improvement in both their short-term and general memory. It also showed improvements in executive functions, attention span and information processing speed.
Based on the results of the research, the researchers concluded that Ashwagandha is safe and effective in improving short-term and general memory, executive functions, and information processing speed in patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Health related benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha reduces anxiety
One study showed that Ashwagandha has a similar effect to anti-anxiety drugs such as lorazepam - with no nasty side effects. In this study, researchers observed that Ashwagandha was effective in reducing clinical brain markers of anxiety, making it a better alternative to medication.
It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
People living in stress are especially exposed to the negative effects of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Ashwagandha protects cells by preventing free radicals from damaging the cells.
Enhances immunity, supports the immune system
Too much stress can turn into physical symptoms such as extreme fatigue, common colds and flu. Research has shown that Ashwagandha increases the number of white blood cells which is the body’s first line of defense against intruders. It also relaxes the nervous system and helps build new nerves. Stress and cortisol contribute to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Ashwagandha has anti-stress and cortisol lowering properties.
Relieves symptoms of thyroid disease
People with hyperthyroidism may benefit from taking Ashwagandha. In this condition, the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone that regulates metabolism. This herb appears to increase the production of thyroid hormones and normalize it in thyroid patients.
Ashwagandha lowers blood sugar
The antidiabetic effects of Ashwagandha have been studied in several studies. This is possible because it contains phenolic compounds, including flavonoids. Research shows that flavonoids have hypoglycemic activity and a study in rodents concluded that Ashwagandha extracts helped normalize blood sugar levels in diabetic rats.
Animal experiments published by the Reports of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology showed that when fructose-fed rats were given Ashwagandha, it inhibited the increase in fructose-induced glucose, insulin resistance and inflammation.
Improves sexual function and fertility
In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is used as a natural aphrodisiac that can help in overcoming sexual disorders. It is also used to increase testosterone levels and improve male fertility. Researchers have already conducted several studies in this regard.