Ashwagandha: An Ancient Herb with Modern Potential for Stress, Arthritis, and Cognitive Well-being

There is a widespread use of ashwagandha in reducing stress, anxiety, and managing various chronic conditions. However, research findings regarding the effectiveness of ashwagandha for these purposes are inconclusive.

For centuries, the roots and orange-red fruit of ashwagandha have been utilized for medicinal reasons. This herb is alternatively referred to as Indian ginseng or winter cherry.

The term “ashwagandha” derives its name from the root’s distinct odor, which translates to “like a horse” in meaning. Essentially, the word “ashwa” signifies horse.

What are the common applications of ashwagandha among individuals?

Ashwagandha, an essential herb in Ayurvedic medicine, holds significant importance in the world’s oldest medical system and India’s healthcare system.

Within Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is classified as a Rasayana, aiding in the preservation of mental and physical youthfulness.

Existence of evidence indicates potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties associated with this herb. As inflammation plays a key role in various health conditions, the reduction of inflammation can serve as a safeguard against a range of ailments.

The popularity of this herb is increasing in Western countries, with ashwagandha capsules now available as a dietary supplement in the United States.

What are the potential health benefits of this herb?

Several scientific studies have indicated that ashwagandha may offer advantages for various conditions.

However, the way in which ashwagandha interacts with the human body is still not well understood by researchers. Most of the studies conducted so far have involved animals or cell models, making it uncertain whether the same outcomes would occur in humans.

Effects of stress and anxiety

According to research, Ashwagandha may exhibit therapeutic effects on stress and anxiety. In comparison to drug lorazepam, a sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety, Ashwagandha has been observed to provide a calming impact on anxiety symptoms.

According to a study conducted in 2019 with humans, it was discovered that the consumption of a daily dose of 240 mg of ashwagandha with turmeric powder capsules significantly reduced stress levels in comparison to a placebo. This reduction was observed in levels of cortisol, which is a hormone associated with stress.

In another 2019 study involving humans, it was found that taking either 250 mg or 600 mg of ashwagandha per day resulted in reduced self-reported stress levels and lower levels of cortisol.

While these findings are promising, it is important to note that further data needs to be collected by scientists before recommending the use of ashwagandha as a treatment for anxiety.

Dealing with Arthritis

Arthritis pain can potentially be alleviated by Ashwagandha, as it has the ability to inhibit the transmission of pain signals along the central nervous system. Additionally, it exhibits certain anti-inflammatory properties.

Consequently, research has indicated its effectiveness in treating various forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

A 2015 study conducted on 125 individuals suffering from joint pain revealed that this herb holds promising potential as a treatment option for rheumatoid arthritis.

Alzheimer’s treatment

Based on a review from 2011Trusted Source, numerous studies have investigated the potential of ashwagandha to minimize or inhibit the decline of cognitive abilities in individuals with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

As these conditions advance, specific areas of the brain and their interconnected pathways suffer damage, resulting in memory loss and impaired functionality. The aforementioned review proposes that providing ashwagandha to mice and rats in the initial stages of the diseases may potentially safeguard their cognitive function.

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