We are only starting to understand the powers of herbs. Although past cultures have relied on herbs for healing, today’s world is only beginning to realize their healing properties. Ashwagandha is a prime example. Learn all about ashwagandha benefits for women and start harnessing the power of herbs.
What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb. For more than 3,000 years, people have been using the herb to live better lives. People have used the herb to increase energy, improve focus, and alleviate stress. However, it has many other benefits1.
The name “ashwagandha” comes from Sanskrit. After translation, it means “smell of the horse.” This refers to the scent of the herb, which many describe as horse sweat. However, the name also refers to the ability of the herb to increase your strength to horse-like levels.
You might also know of ashwagandha as Indian Ginseng or Indian Winter Cherry. If you’re a botanist, you refer to it as Withania somnifera. It’s a small shrub that has bright yellow flowers. Although it’s native to India and North Africa, you can find it in other areas.
Both the leaves and the roots of the plant can have healing properties. Typically, people use extracts from the plant or grind the roots into a powder.
Indians who practice Ayurvedic medical practices use the herb to treat a variety of ailments. After preparing the herb, they make it into a tonic that helps with a variety of issues. However, Western medicine never embraced the herb. Today, scientific research is finally supporting the use of ashwagandha to treat certain conditions.
Why Is It Effective?
Scientists don’t have all the answers. Although they can’t explain all of the healing powers of ashwagandha, they can explain some of its abilities.
One of the reasons for the herb’s effectiveness is its concentration of withanolides. Known to fight inflammation and tumors, withanolides are found in high concentrations in the herb1. In animals, Ashwagandha treats breast, ovarian, lung, and brain cancer.
Another reason for its effectiveness is its ability to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). Although this sounds complex, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. The ROS is toxic to cancer cells. However, it does not poison your normal cells.
Specific Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
Ashwagandha is Known as an adaptogen. As such, the herb helps you adapt to stress. It works by combatting the symptoms of stress, helping you deal with all of life’s challenges.However, there’s more to the herb than just its healing properties.
Curious about the other benefits of this ancient herb? Here are some of the ways in which ashwagandha can help you:
1. Fight Depression and Anxiety
In one study, researchers estimated that 6.2 million adults had one major depressive episode in 2016<1. Women were twice as likely to suffer from depression. Anxiety is also common, affecting about 18% of individuals each year.
With depression and anxiety being so common2, there are many individuals looking for help. One of the ashwagandha benefits for women is providing relief for depression and anxiety.
Research on rats showed that the herb regulated the signals of the nervous system. Many pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety and depression work in a similar way. After testing the herb on humans, researchers saw a decrease of the symptoms of anxiety and stress disorders.
Instead of relying on pharmaceuticals to treat your anxiety or depression, you can try a natural alternative. Unlike prescribed medications, ashwagandha does not have a long list of side effects or an addictive nature.
2. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
In several research studies, ashwagandha had an impact on blood sugar levels. The general effect was to lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, research also points to the herb as an agent for increasing the secretion of insulin.
About 37-38% of people in the US are prediabetic, according to one study. When you can keep your blood sugar levels low, you can prevent the onset of diabetes. Improving your insulin secretion also can help. Fortunately, ashwagandha checks both boxes. In diabetics and non-diabetics alike, the herb can keep your blood sugar in check.
Ashwagandha may be as effective as diabetes medication. One study tested the effects of ashwagandha for 30 days3. When compared to an oral diabetes medication, the herb was just as successful at decreasing levels of fasting blood sugar.
3. Keep Cancer at Bay
In the US, 250,000 women every year die from cancer. Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other cancers plague women. But ashwagandha could help.
In animal-based studies, the herb initiated the death of cancer cells. It also prevents new malignant cells from growing. In mice, ashwagandha reduced tumor growth by 70% to 80% and kept it from spreading.
There is a lack of human studies on the impact of the herb on cancer. However, the effects look promising. As more people turn to the herb for healing, more people have success in fighting cancer.
4. Prevents Weight Gain
When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol. Cortisol is bad news for your waistline. If your cortisol levels are too high for too long, your body stores more fat in your abdomen. Getting rid of that belly fat is no easy task.
If you want to prevent weight gain from stress, you can try ashwagandha. One of the ashwagandha benefits for women is its ability to lower cortisol levels. In one study, individuals taking the highest dose of the herb experienced a 30% reduction of cortisol4.
Rather than work hard to lose weight after you gain it, you can prevent the weight gain. The herb can do all of the work for you. It’s one of the ashwagandha benefits for women.
5. Lower Your Cholesterol
High cholesterol increases your chance of a heart attack and can lead to a stroke. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to combat high cholesterol. Some studies show that ashwagandha can reduce your levels of cholesterol.
In rats, cholesterol levels decreased by up to 53% after taking the herb. Although human studies were less impressive, they still reveal the herb to be helpful. One 60 day study on adults showed that the herb caused a 17% decrease in bad cholesterol5.
By trying ashwagandha, you can improve your health. Discover its healing properties first-hand.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/, An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda, July 3, 2011
2. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml, Major Depression, November 2017
3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2434682, Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the United States, 1988-2012, September 8, 2015
4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800, High cholesterol
5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lower-cholesterol, 10 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels, December 11, 2017