Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
ASHWAGANDHA FOR NATURAL STRESS RELIEF AND BETTER SLEEP
Stress and lack of sleep can both take a toll on your health and well-being. Over time, stress and insomnia can rob you of your ability to concentrate, impact your mood and even interfere with the function of your immune system. Today, many people are turning to ashwagandha for sleep support and stress relief. Read on to learn more about possible ashwagandha benefits for men and women.
WHAT IS ASHWAGANDHA?
Ashwagandha is a flowering plant known by the scientific name Withania somnifera and by the nickname Indian ginseng. It grows wild in North Africa and India. For more than 5,000 years, the ashwagandha plant has been used as a part of the natural healing system Ayurveda. Science has begun to confirm some of the traditional beliefs regarding ashwagandha benefits for women and men. As a result, people now take supplements that contain ashwagandha extract for a variety of reasons.
ASHWAGANDHA HEALTH BENEFITS
What is ashwagandha good for? Scientists are still studying several potential ashwagandha benefits. At this time, there is not enough evidence to prove that the herb is beneficial for treating any condition or disease; however, results of early research suggest that ashwagandha may be beneficial for:
- Stress. Ashwagandha is generally considered an adaptogen, a substance that helps reduce the effects of stress on the body. It may do this by lowering levels of a hormone called cortisol or interfering with the hormone's actions. Cortisol is released during times of stress to help the body defend itself.
- Anxiety. One study found that 88 percent of people who took ashwagandha for six weeks reported feeling less anxious. This is likely due to the herb minimizing the impact of cortisol.
- Mood. Ashwagandha's adaptogen properties may help to improve mood and reduce mood swings. One study found that women who took an ashwagandha mood stabilizer supplement and B vitamins for four weeks reported improvements in mood.
- Diabetes. Small studies have revealed that ashwagandha may help reduce glucose levels in the bloodstream to help people with type 2 diabetes better control the condition.
- Fertility. Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used to promote fertility in men and women. There is some evidence to suggest that the herb can increase sperm count, motility, and overall quality.
- Athletes and bodybuilders. Adaptogens are frequently used by people who are hoping to increase their muscle mass through exercise. A few small studies have shown that ashwagandha, in particular, may help to enhance the benefits of workouts to build muscle size faster.
- Immune support. Early research indicates that ashwagandha may have the ability to reduce specific markers of inflammation in the human body and to help increase levels of important immune cells.
DOES ASHWAGANDHA HELP YOU SLEEP?
Ashwagandha is not a sedative. It won't make you drowsy or put you to sleep; however, the potential calming benefits of the herb can help you relax. This, in turn, may allow you to ease into sleep more naturally. In addition, ashwagandha's potential mood booster benefits may help you stay in a positive frame of mind throughout the day. When you turn in for the night, you may be less likely to focus on worries that keep you up at night.
HOW MUCH ASHWAGANDHA FOR SLEEP?
Studies exploring the connection between ashwagandha and sleep have used various doses. In one study, participants were given a 300-milligram ashwagandha dosage for sleep with positive results. Because there is no standard dosage, you should consult your medical provider for specific advice.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED ASHWAGANDHA DOSAGE FOR OTHER USES?
Because research into the benefits and effects of ashwagandha for mood, anxiety, stress, and other conditions is ongoing, there is no specific recommended dosage. People tend to use the dosages employed in scientific studies as a framework. Here are some clinical doses observed in studies:
- Ashwagandha for anxiety and stress. One study suggested that the optimal ashwagandha dosage for stress and anxiety is 500 to 600 milligrams per day.
- Ashwagandha for blood sugar regulation. Studies have employed doses from 250 milligrams to 3 grams.
- Ashwagandha for fertility. Most research into the effects of ashwagandha on fertility has involved men. Generally, studies incorporate a dose of around 5 grams.
- Ashwagandha for muscle development. Studies that have yielded positive results using ashwagandha to support muscle growth and strength gains have used doses of 500 to 1250 milligrams.
- Ashwagandha for inflammation. One study found that taking 200 to 500 milligrams of ashwagandha was beneficial for reducing inflammation.
CHOOSING AND USING AN ASHWAGANDHA SUPPLEMENT
Supplements are an excellent choice to supply ashwagandha to the body. Brands like Body Kitchen use patented and clinically-studied form of the herb, this means you’re guaranteed to obtain the best ingredients in the industry. Body Kitchen Stress Release uses KSM 66 which comes with a variety of studies that show very positive results. These supplements combine ashwagandha with vitamins, amino-acids, and other herbs that work synergistically to enhance and promote a stress-free state of mind.