In this article, we’ll discuss the many benefits of using ashwagandha supplements.
Ashwagandha is absolutely everywhere right now. It is probably one of the most searched-for supplements on the market, and it is now being added to every kind of stack you can think of, from testosterone boosters to sleep aids.
But many people still don’t know what ashwagandha is, how it works, or how it can help them. Let’s take a look!
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a plant in the nightshade family. It is also known as winter cherry, or more formally as Withania somnifera.
Ashwagandha has a long history of use in traditional Indian Auurverdic medicine, where it is used to treat everything from low libido to stress and general illness.
We don’t put much faith in what traditional medicine has to say about most substances, but with Ashwagandha, it’s a little different. Modern clinical trials have found that ashwagandha has several substantial benefits when used correctly.
Ashwagandha as a libido booster
It turns out that the people of India have been right all along – Ashwanagdha is a pretty powerful libido enhancer.
Ashwagandha significantly improves sexual desire. It does this primarily by increasing testosterone levels; because the increased libido from ashwagandha is a function of its testosterone-boosting abilities, we’ll discuss it in the next section.
Ashwagandha as a testosterone booster
Ashwagandha is an extremely powerful testosterone booster. Multiple clinical trials have found that ashwagandha supplementation is able to quickly increase free serum testosterone levels.
In most good quality clinical trials, researchers have given participants a large dose of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract per day for over 6 weeks. In the vast majority of studies, researchers find that ashwagandha supplementation increases free serum testosterone levels by 10-33%. The effect is prticularly pronounced in infertile men, or men with low testosterone.
Rather than being a testosterone booster, it is probably more accurate to refer to ashwagandha as a testosterone “restorer”; it seems to replenish free serum T in men who have unnaturally low levels of the hormone.
Ashwagandha for anxiety
Ashwagandha is also a potent anxiolytic (a substance whuch reduces stress and anxiety).
Studies have shown that daily ashwagandha supplementation is effective for reducing anxiety and eliminating the worst symptoms of stress.
It seems that the biggest effects are seen in people suffering with mild but clinically meaningful anxiety.For maximum effect, we recommend using at least 300mg of high quality KSM-66 Ashwagandha extract daily for a week or more. It is best to start pre-emptively using ashwagandha if you know that you have a stressful week coming up, as the anxiety-reducing effects are not necessariyl instant!
Ashwagandha for sleep
As ashwagandha is such a powerful stress and anxiety suppressant, it is no wonder that many people use ashwagandha as a sleep aid.
You may not realise this, but the reason for your poor sleep is statistically likely to be stress. This is particularly true of people with high-stress jobs or a history of anxiety problems. Anxiety is one of the leading causes of poor sleeping patterns. The worst thing about this is that it is a self-perpetuating cycle; poor sleep causes anxiety, which causes lack of sleep, and so on.
Ashwagandha is a proven anxiolytic. Supplementing with ashwagandha dramatically reduces the symptoms of stress and actually reduces anxiety itself. In doing so, it promotes deep, restful, unbroken sleep.
How does Ashwagandha work?
As you can see, there are many amazing benefits to using ashwagandha.
But where do all these ashwagandha benefits come from?
How does ashwagandha actually work?
Surprisingly, most of the benefits of ashwagandha come from a single mechanism of action – cortisol reduction.
Ashwagandha consumption directly reduces serum cortisol levels.
Cortisol is your main stress hormone; it is released in stressful situations to help you survive. Many call it the body’s “fight or flight hormone” because it is designed to streamline the body’s survival mechanisms – it increases blood pressure, heightens focus, increases heart rate, and turns of all non-essential bodily functions like healing and hormone production.
High cortisol levels almost always mean low testosterone levels.
By suppressing cortisol, ashwagandha allows your testosterone levels to steadily climb into their natural, healthy range. This is why we call ashwagandha a testosterone restoring agent rather than a testosterone booster. Ashwagandha doesn’t push your testosterone levels above natural levels; it just lets you actually reach your natural levels in the face of stress and anxiety.
Most of the benefits of ashwagandha come from a single mechanism: the reduction of cortisol. Because of this, there isn’t much variation in how much ashwagandha you should be using to achieve any particular benefit – so long as you use enough to suppress your cortisol levels, you’ll see benefits.
The recommended dose for reducing cortisol levels is around 300mg per day of high quality ashwagandha root extract. If you’re using a basic root powder, then much larger doses may be necessary. Some studies used as much as 5g of root powder per day, but much of this is useless plant fiber. Stick to a good quality root extract like KSM-66.
Ashwagandha side effects
Ashwagandha is not thought to cause any serious side effects, even after long-term frequent use.
None of the participants in robust ashwagandha trials reported notable side effects.
You should be fine using ashwagandha on a daily basis for a period of up to 12 weeks without worrying about side effects.
If you do experience ashwagandha side effects, stop using it and seek medical attention immediately. Always follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions on the label!
Should you use ashwagandha?
If you’re suffering from stress, sleeplessness, or low testosterone, then you might benefit massively from a daily ashwagandha supplement.