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8 Incredible Ashwagandha Benefits You Need To Know
Aug 28, 23
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

8 Incredible Ashwagandha Benefits You Need To Know

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 16 min read
8 Incredible Ashwagandha Benefits You Need To Know

If you're the tense or stressed-out kind, you've undoubtedly heard a mini-sermon on the benefits of ashwagandha. They've undoubtedly told you that it can do pretty much anything, including cooking dinner and putting the kids to bed.

But if you’re skeptical about herbal medicine, you are probably wondering what are the benefits of ashwagandha.

And if you haven't already looked into ashwagandha, that's OK too! We have done all the groundwork for you. Ashwagandha is an essential herb in Ayurvedic medicine, one of the world's oldest medical systems as well as one of India's healthcare systems.

In Ayurvedic medicine, the herb is classified as a Rasayana. This indicates that it helps preserve youth, both mentally and physically. In addition, some evidence suggests that ashwagandha benefits include neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.

Below, we explore the benefits of taking ashwagandha daily.

The Ashwagandha Herb And Its Origins

The Ashwagandha Herb And Its Origins

Ayurvedic practitioners use ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), often known as Indian ginseng. Its root has a horsey odor and is claimed to offer the power and virility of a horse. Ashva means "horse" in Sanskrit, and gandha means "smell."

The ashwagandha plant is a tiny shrub native to Southeast Asia and India with yellow flowers. Powder or extracts from the plant's roots or leaves treat various diseases, including anxiety and infertility.

Although the plant's many portions are used, the most popular supplemental form is an extract of its roots. Its use in the Ayurvedic system typically involves more than just the herb.

People have used the orange-red fruit and roots of ashwagandha for medical purposes for hundreds of years. The herb's other names include winter cherry. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, which is thought to improve the body's resistance to stress.

So, what does ashwagandha do? In the next section, we’ll delve into the benefits of ashwagandha root.

Benefits From Ashwagandha


Withania somnifera is best known for its anti-anxiety(1) and stress-relieving(2) properties. It also appears to lower cortisol levels. Furthermore, a growing body of research supports ashwagandha's efficacy in enhancing total sleep time and sleep quality in patients with and without insomnia.

Here are the most notable ashwagandha health benefits.

Stress And Anxiety Management

Stress And Anxiety Management

Stressors abound in modern life. Stress also adds to physical and mental disorders. Cortisol levels in your body rise under stress, causing the heart to beat rapidly and intensely. This causes an increase in your breathing rate, and your body amps up the production of glucose to provide a surge of energy. Your mind becomes hyper-aware of potential threats, and your body enters fight or flight mode.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been utilized in Ayurvedic therapy for over 2,500 years. It is among the most widely utilized and extensively investigated adaptogens due to its potent capacity to operate as a stress-relieving agent.

Withania somnifera, like all adaptogenic herbs, helps the body maintain homeostasis, particularly during physical or emotional stress. Compared to the sedative and anxiety medicine lorazepam, the plant may have a calming effect on anxiety symptoms.

The Science Behind Ashwagandha Supplement Benefits

The Science Behind Ashwagandha Supplement Benefits

In a 2019 human study(3), researchers discovered that consuming 240 milligrams (mg) of ashwagandha daily dramatically lowered stress levels compared to a placebo. This includes lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Another 2019 study(4) in humans found that ingesting 600 mg or 250 mg of ashwagandha per day resulted in lower self-reported stress and cortisol levels.

One study(5) found that the herb had a comparable anxiety-reducing impact as lorazepam, implying that ashwagandha may be just as effective. The researchers, however, did this investigation on mice rather than humans.

Withania somnifera may aid in regulating mediators such as cortisol, heat shock proteins (Hsp70), and the stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1). It also inhibits the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in the body, which governs your stress response.

Cognitive Function And Mental Clarity

Cognitive Function And Mental Clarity

The health benefits of ashwagandha extend beyond stress and anxiety relief. Preliminary research also reveals that ashwagandha may improve memory and mental clarity.

A meta-analysis(6) of five clinical studies discovered initial proof that ashwagandha may improve cognitive functioning in specific populations, including people with schizophrenia and older persons with mild cognitive impairment. It may help cognitive skills such as attention, cognitive task performance, executive functioning, and reaction time.

This herb has also been demonstrated in trials to have neuroprotective effects(7). This is because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ashwagandha inhibits oxidative stress producers in the brain, including lipid peroxidation (LPO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and non-enzymatic antioxidants like glutathione (GSH).

Energy And Vitality

Energy And Vitality

Ashwagandha is an ancient medication that has long been used to boost and regulate energy levels. This potent composition is exceptionally beneficial to the body's overall stamina and energy levels. The active compounds in ashwagandha and other herbs included in this composition alleviate weariness and weakness while increasing vitality.

Ashwagandha has also been demonstrated in studies to have energy-boosting properties. These benefits linked to ashwagandha may improve athletic performance and make it a desirable supplement for athletes.

One study(8) demonstrated that consuming ashwagandha significantly increased maximum oxygen consumption (VO2 max) in healthy persons and athletes. The highest amount of oxygen a person can consume during strenuous exertion is known as VO2 max. It tests the fitness level of the heart and the lungs.

Another study(9) comprised 12 patients taking ashwagandha doses ranging from 120 to 1,250 mg daily. The results of the study suggest that the herb may improve physical performance, such as oxygen utilization during exercise and strength.

Furthermore, ashwagandha(10) may aid in muscle strength. In yet another study, male volunteers who took 600 mg of  Withania somnifera per day and did resistance training for 8 weeks gained considerably more muscle strength and growth than a placebo group.

Immune System Support

Immune System Support

Ashwagandha tea benefits include the ability to boost the immune system's reaction. Our immune system has significantly benefited from the herb's immunity-boosting properties.  A clinical trial found that daily treatment with a root and leaf ashwagandha extract may boost immune health markers in healthy persons.

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine(11), a low dose (60 mg) of ashwagandha extract may regulate healthy persons' innate and adaptive immune systems, dramatically improving their immunological profile.

This study's findings show that Ashwagandha, with its immune-stimulatory properties, is an excellent complement to immunity-boosting herbal medicines. These effects affect both innate and adaptive immunity, which may explain why it was traditionally used as a Rasayana or revitalizing herb with anti-stress characteristics.

The research trial comprised 24 healthy men and women aged 45 to 72 who were randomly assigned to either 60 mg of ashwagandha extract or a placebo for 30 days.

The initial 30-day study found that ashwagandha extract increased both the adaptive immune system and innate immune systems (as measured by cytokines, T-cells, B-cells, and NK cells), as evidenced by the impact on various immunoglobulins (antibodies) such as IgGs, IgA, and IgM.

A low-dose, high-potency ashwagandha extract can boost the body's innate and adaptive immune systems. Because our immune systems are linked to various biochemical and cellular processes in the body, this research has implications for overall health and wellness.

Hormonal Balance

Hormonal Balance

Ashwagandha can potentially increase testosterone levels in men, enhancing fertility. According to one study, males who use ashwagandha powder(12) may have higher testosterone levels and increased sperm count and motility. Another small study is particularly encouraging for infertile men. The effects of ashwagandha powder increased both stress and sperm quality. By the end of the trial(13), 14% of the men's partners had been pregnant.

Furthermore, ashwagandha may raise thyroid hormone levels, which is good news for hypothyroid patients. Recent research shows potential results.

An 8-week study(14) of 50 patients with low thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) found that daily ingestion of 600 mg of extracts of ashwagandha root resulted in significant improvements in thyroid levels compared to a placebo. The ashwagandha group showed a 41.5%  increase in triiodothyronine (T3)  and a 19.6% increase in thyroxine (T4) levels. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels were also decreased by 17.5%.

Managing Inflammation

Managing Inflammation

Ashwagandha contains chemicals, such as withaferin A (WA), that may help reduce inflammation in the body. According to animal experiments(15), WA may also help reduce inflammatory protein levels such as interleukin-10 (IL-10). There is also some evidence that ashwagandha may help reduce human inflammatory markers.

In a 2021 study(16), researchers administered an Ayurvedic medication containing 0.5 grams of ashwagandha and other herbs twice daily for 7 days to people with COVID-19. Compared to a placebo, this reduced individuals' inflammatory markers IL-6, CRP, and TNF-α levels.

As a result, some study has suggested that it is helpful in treating many types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. A small 2015 research of 125 people with joint discomfort discovered that the herb could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis(17).

The plant has traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory. Ayurvedic practitioners would mash the root into a paste and apply it to ulcers for pain relief(18) and in the joints for inflammation relief.

A small study found that when taken with another Ayurvedic arthritis medication called Sidh Makardhwaj, ashwagandha powder(19) relieved swollen and aching joints in people with RA.

Sleep Quality

Sleep Quality

Many people use ashwagandha to promote a night of restful sleep. There is some evidence that it may help with sleep problems. One review of five studies(20), for example, discovered that ashwagandha had a tiny but substantial favorable effect on overall sleep quality, reduced anxiety levels, and helped participants feel more alert when they woke up.

People experiencing difficulty falling asleep and those taking more than 600 mg every day for 8 weeks or more saw the best results. Furthermore, a 12-week trial(21) of 50 persons aged 65 to 80 found that consuming 600 mg of ashwagandha root per day dramatically enhanced sleep quality and mental alertness compared to placebo treatment.

In one study(22), 29 participants suffering from insomnia were given 300 mg of ashwagandha two times a day. Compared to a placebo group of 19 participants, the test group fell asleep sooner, spent more time in bed, and had better sleep quality.

In another trial(23), 40 patients with anxiety who took 600 or 300 mg of ashwagandha daily reported better sleep than the placebo group after four and eight weeks, respectively.

How To Incorporate Ashwagandha

How To Incorporate Ashwagandha

The dosage of ashwagandha and how it is used depend on the medical condition being treated. Based on modern clinical studies, there is no standard dosage.

Different dosages have been utilized in various investigations. Certain studies show that ingesting 250-600 mg daily can help lower stress. In other investigations, much greater doses were used.

Ashwagandha capsule dosages are typically between 250 to 1500 mg. The herb is available in liquid extracts, powders, and capsules.

High doses can have adverse side effects in some circumstances. Before beginning any new herbal supplement, including ashwagandha, consult a healthcare expert about safety and dosage.

FAQs About Ashwagandha Benefits

How Long Do Ashwagandha Results Take?

The time it takes for ashwagandha to begin working varies from person to person, but most people notice benefits after a few weeks of consistent use. However, taking the ashwagandha supplement regularly for at least 6-8 weeks is recommended for optimum outcomes.

Who Should Avoid Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha should be avoided by pregnant women, those with stomach ulcers, and people with liver illnesses. Because the herb can raise thyroid hormone levels, it should be used cautiously or completely avoided if you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or take thyroid hormone drugs.

How Does Ashwagandha Make You Feel?

Ashwagandha supplements could help relieve stress and anxiety. It may cause tiredness and slowed breathing in specific individuals.

Key Takeaways

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb used for hundreds of years that may provide various health benefits. According to research findings, ashwagandha benefits include lowering anxiety and stress, promoting restful sleep, and increasing cognitive functioning in specific populations.

In the short term, the herb is probably harmless for most people. However, it may not suit everyone, so consult your doctor before incorporating ashwagandha into your regimen.

We Would Love To Here Your Comments Leave A Comment


  1. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), (1) 
  2. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis, (2) 
  3. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract, (3) 
  4. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study, (4) 
  5. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study, (5) 
  6. A systematic review of the clinical use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to ameliorate cognitive dysfunction, (6) 
  7. Editorial: Investigating the molecular targets and therapeutic potential of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) in various pathophysiological conditions, (7) 
  8. Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on VO2max: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, (8) 
  9. Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on Physical Performance: Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis, (9) 
  10. Examining the effect ofWithania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial, (10) 
  11. Immunomodulatory Effect ofWithania somnifera (Ashwagandha) Extract—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Trial with an Open Label Extension on Healthy Participants, (11) 
  12. Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males, (12) 
  13. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility, (13) 
  14. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial, (14) 
  15. Tackling Chronic Inflammation with Withanolide Phytochemicals—A Withaferin A Perspective, (15) 
  16. Randomized placebo-controlled pilot clinical trial on the efficacy of ayurvedic treatment regime on COVID-19 positive patients, (16) 
  17. Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder &Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study, (17) 
  18. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda, (18) 
  19. Efficacy & safety evaluation of Ayurvedic treatment (Ashwagandha powder & Sidh Makardhwaj) in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a pilot prospective study, (19) 
  20. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis, (20) 
  21. Efficacy and Tolerability of Ashwagandha Root Extract in the Elderly for Improvement of General Well-being and Sleep: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study, (21) 
  22. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study, (22)
  23. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study, (23)

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