Ashwagandha is one of the best-known Ayurvedic herbs in the Western world and has been used as an adaptogen in Eastern traditional medicine for thousands of years. The word “ashwagandha” comes from Sanskrit and means “smell of the stallion” because its fresh roots are said to smell like a horse. Ancient Indian healers believed that when you take the herb, you would develop the vitality and strength of a horse as well.
Ashwagandha is commonly referred to as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry. Its scientific name is withania somnifera. According to several studies, ashwagandha may benefit several body systems, including the endocrine system, central nervous system, reproductive system, and immune system.
Ashwagandha is one of the key active ingredients in Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™, a one-of-a-kind nootropic with ingredients that synergistically work to support your brain health and improve overall well-being.* Powered by an innovative alkaline-enhancing formulation that drives nutrient absorption and organ health, Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ can help improve mental clarity, attention, accuracy, concentration, focus, memory, analytical reasoning, higher learning skills, creativity, and mood levels.*
The traditional method of taking this potent root extract is to mix ashwagandha powder with honey and ghee (clarified butter) or add it to tea. A more convenient method is, of course, taking it in pill form. The best ashwagandha supplements come in capsules that contain root extract.
Let's take a look at the many potential benefits of consuming ashwagandha regularly.
It has been reported that ashwagandha can boost endurance during physical activity by reducing bodily pain, reducing stress, and sharpening brain function.* Due to its energizing yet calming effects on the brain and its ability to lower stress hormones, ashwagandha may be able to improve stamina, motivation, and concentration.*
A 2015 randomized study evaluated the efficacy of ashwagandha extracts in enhancing cardio-respiratory endurance in 50 healthy adult athletes. The oxygen consumption of each participant’s peak physical exertion was measured during a 20-minute shuttle run test. The participants were also given a questionnaire about their physical and mental health, environmental factors, and social relationships to access changes in their quality of life after consuming ashwagandha.
Researchers found that ashwagandha extracts improved cardio-respiratory endurance at 8 and 12 weeks of the test period, and substantially improved the quality of life scores of the participants who took the herb daily.
Another study involving rodents found that ashwagandha was able to increase swimming performance during a physical endurance test. The rats that were given the adaptogen before the test swam for a mean time of 740 minutes, while the control group swam for a mean duration of 385 minutes. Ashwagandha consumption almost doubled the swimming time.
Scientists believe ashwagandha’s anti-stress properties may help to improve your stamina and similar results may be experienced by humans due to the herb’s ability to balance the adrenal hormones that are involved in physical activity.*
Physical, emotional, and chemical stress can all have damaging effects on the brain and nervous system. Recent research has proven that ashwagandha is more than a stress reliever; it can also protect the brain from cell degeneration, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.* One of the reasons why ashwagandha is so effective at healing the brain is because it contains powerful antioxidants that destroy the free radicals that cause aging.
Withaferin A and withanolide D are the two critical withanolides in ashwagandha that are responsible for improving cognitive function.* Withanolides are naturally-occurring steroids that are mostly present in plants of the nightshade family. When these steroids were injected into rodents to test their cognitive-improving abilities, researchers found that they helped to promote cell outgrowth, reverse plaque buildup and behavioral deficits, and reduce amyloid beta burden, which plays important role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements found that ashwagandha may effectively enhance both general and immediate memory in people with mild cognitive impairment. The herb may also be able to improve attention, mental skills, and information processing speed. The study involved 50 adults; half of them received 300 milligrams of ashwagandha powder while the other half were given a placebo for 8 weeks. It was concluded that ashwagandha treatment may be able to boost memory and other cognitive skills.*
Ashwagandha has been studied for its possible anti-diabetic effects, which are due to the presence of phenolic compounds, including flavonoids. Research shows that flavonoids have hypoglycemic properties and a study indicates that both ashwagandha leaf and root extracts can help to achieve normal blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.*
An animal study published in Reports of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology found that when fructose-fed rats were given ashwagandha, it inhibited the fructose-induced increases in insulin resistance, glucose, and inflammation. This data suggests that the herb’s extract may have anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve insulin sensitivity in humans.*
Many people have reported that ashwagandha improved their resistance to stress and thereby improved their self-assessed quality of life. Since stress often leads to depression, and hormonal imbalances in some cases, ashwagandha can possibly work as a natural remedy for depression.*
In an experimental study involving rats, the efficacy of ashwagandha was compared to the antidepressant medical imipramine. It was found that the herb exhibited antidepressant effects that were comparable to imipramine when rats were exposed to “learned helplessness” and “behavioral despair” tests. Researchers concluded that ashwagandha may be used as a mood stabilizer by people diagnosed with depression.*
One of the most often reported ashwagandha benefits is its ability to alleviate anxiety and chronic stress.* In a 2009 study published in PLOS One, researchers concluded that ashwagandha can be as effective as common pharmaceutical drugs imipramine and lorazepam, without the side effects.
In the 12-week controlled study, 75 people who suffered from anxiety were divided into two groups: one received standardized psychotherapy care, and the other received a naturopathic intervention. The psychotherapy intervention group received placebo pills twice a day in addition to deep breathing relaxation techniques, among other psychotherapy approaches.
The naturopathic group received deep breathing relaxation techniques, dietary counseling, and 300 milligrams of ashwagandha twice a day. When anxiety levels were measured after 12 weeks, the anxiety scores were decreased in the ashwagandha-taking group by 56.5%, while the psychotherapy group’s scores were reduced by 30.5%.
Significant differences between the two groups were also found in vitality, social functioning, concentration, mental health, fatigue, and overall quality of life – with the ashwagandha group showing greater clinical results. A major benefit is that there are little to no adverse reactions when taking ashwagandha, compared to anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications that may cause insomnia, drowsiness, increased appetite, and loss of sexual desire, among other side effects.
Your adrenals are endocrine glands that are responsible for releasing hormones, specifically adrenaline and cortisol, in response to stress. If your adrenals are overworking due to too much mental, physical, or emotional stress, you may experience adrenal fatigue. This can end up disrupting other hormones in your body, including progesterone, which in turn can lead to infertility and lower levels of DHEA, a hormone that’s tied to maintaining a strong body.
Research shows that ashwagandha may be useful in supporting adrenal function and helping you to overcome adrenal fatigue.*
If you are struggling with thyroid problems, ashwagandha may serve as the solution to your issues. It has been shown to support a sluggish thyroid for people diagnosed with underactive thyroid or Hashimoto’s disease.*
A pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2017 showed that ashwagandha benefited patients who had subclinical hypothyroidism. The 50 participants were diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, however, they did not display the obvious symptoms of thyroid hormone deficiency. During an 8-week period, the treatment group was given 600 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract daily, while the control group was given starch as the placebo.
Researchers found that in people who took ashwagandha, the levels of serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4) were improved significantly compared to those who took a placebo. It was concluded that consuming ashwagandha may help normalize thyroid levels in patients with hypothyroidism.*
The active compounds in ashwagandha are withanolides, which are a type of triterpene lactones. The plant is considered a good source of iron, but the extract used for medicinal purposes is usually isolated from the iron source of the plant. Unfortunately, ashwagandha does not grow in the wild everywhere. It prefers the dry climates of the Middle East, Africa, India, and Australia. This means the most convenient way to take it elsewhere is through supplements.
If you’re buying an ashwagandha supplement or a brain health supplement containing ashwagandha, look for brands that list the standardized percent content of withanolides. The best supplements will have anywhere from 2.5% to 5% withanolides. Also, make sure the supplement is made in a certified FDA facility that adheres to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) standards.
The main body system that ashwagandha seems to be able to heal and restore is not the lungs, heart, or liver; it’s actually the brain.* As you probably know, your brain is key to your overall well-being and its health is really important to the proper function of not only other vital organs but also your mental and emotional health. Ashwagandha can help regulate specific chemicals and hormones that are vital to a happy, healthy state.*
Ashwagandha is one of the main ingredients in the powerful Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ formula – a research-based nootropic that is rigorously quality-controlled to provide consistent results. We use only premium quality ingredients and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes in a facility based in the United States.
Brain Performance Plus™ contains 150 mg of ashwagandha root extract with 2.5% withanolides. With other powerful ingredients like Alpha-GPC, phosphatidylserine, l-theanine, beetroot powder, lion’s mane mushroom, and bacopa plant extract, Brain Performance Plus™ is the most advanced brain health supplement on the market. It has a unique alkalizing formula to ensure your body absorbs it effectively.
Whether you are an active senior, a busy working professional, a student preparing for exams, an athlete in training, or someone fighting the first signs of aging, Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ can make a difference. Try it for 90 days and discover the following potential benefits for yourself*: