10 Science-Backed Benefits of Ashwagandha - A Boon From Nature’s Lap

by Somya Agrawal

The name Ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit, where “ashva” means horse and “gandha” means smell, as the root has a strong odor reminiscent of horse sweat. Through this article let’s explore the potent health benefits of ashwagandha and it’s possible side effects.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, scientific name Withania somnifera, is an ancient herb commonly used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is also known as winter cherry or Indian ginseng. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps the body resist stress. It is believed to promote a sense of calm and relaxation while also boosting energy and vitality. Ashwagandha has been is use for centuries to promote health and overall  well-being.

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha, a traditional herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, has been found to possess numerous health benefits. Some of these benefits include:

Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Ashwagandha has adaptogenic properties, meaning it helps the body effectively respond to stress. It can reduce cortisol levels in the body, thus promoting a sense of calmness and relaxation.

Improves Mood and Mental Well-Being: Ashwagandha has been found to have antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects, potentially helping individuals with mood disorders. It may also enhance cognitive function and memory.

Enhances Immune Function: Ashwagandha has immunomodulatory properties, which means it can support a healthy immune system. It may increase the activity of immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages, thereby improving overall immunity.

Reduces Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is linked to various health conditions. Ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body, potentially benefiting individuals with conditions like arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Improves Male Fertility:  Ashwagandha has positive effects on reproductive health. For example, it has been found to potentially increase testosterone levels,  increase sperm count, and improve sperm quality and motility in men, which can be beneficial for fertility. Additionally, it may help balance hormones and reduce anxiety, which can affect fertility in men.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels: Ashwagandha may help regulate blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity. It may promote better glucose metabolism, which can be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Supports Weight Management: Ashwagandha may help regulate cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone. By reducing cortisol levels, it shows a positive impact on weight management and reduces the risk of conditions associated with high cortisol levels, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Increases Muscle Strength and Exercise Performance: Some studies suggest that ashwagandha supplementation may improve muscle strength, endurance, and exercise performance. It may also promote muscle recovery and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage.

Boost Collagen Production: Ashwagandha contains compounds that can stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen is essential for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness, leading to a more youthful and radiant complexion.

Stimulates Thyroid Gland: Ashwagandha can activate the thyroid gland in people with hypothyroidism. The root extract, if taken daily, can naturally boost the secretion of thyroid hormones (according to a 2011 study on the thyroid gland that was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology).

Possible Side Effects of Ashwagandha?

Possible side effects of ashwagandha can be a result of over-intake of ashwagandha or allergy to ashwagandha. This can lead to diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, headache, vaginal bleeding, and allergic reactions such as rash or itching. Additionally, ashwagandha may immensely lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels, so individuals with diabetes or low blood pressure should use caution when taking it. It may also interact with medications like sedatives, immunosuppressants, and thyroid hormone medications. Hence, It is advisable to speak with a healthcare professional before taking ashwagandha to determine if it is safe and appropriate for your specific situation.

How Much Ashwagandha is Considered Safe for Consumption?

The safe and effective dosage of ashwagandha can vary depending on factors such as age, overall health, and specific health conditions. Generally, a typical recommended dosage for adults is around 300-500 milligrams of ashwagandha extract taken two to three times a day. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional or follow the dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Is it Safe to Take Ashwagandha During Periods?

There are anecdotal reports suggesting that ashwagandha may help with menstrual issues, such as reducing pain and regulating periods, Some studies have also shown that ashwagandha may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which could potentially help reduce menstrual pain. Additionally, it may have adaptogenic effects, which could help regulate hormonal balance. Hence, it is safe to consume ashwagandha during periods.

Can Ashwagandha Lower High Blood Pressure?

Yes, ashwagandha extract can lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels, reducing heart rate, and decreasing overall cardiovascular activity.

5 Lesser-Known Therapeutic Facts About Ashwagandha

1) Ashwagandha contains a compound called withanolides, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

2) It has also been found to have potential anti-cancer properties, with studies showing it can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

3) Research suggests that ashwagandha may help alleviate symptoms of depression by balancing neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine.

4) It has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the body, potentially benefiting conditions such as arthritis.

5) Pregnant and breastfeeding women are generally advised to avoid ashwagandha due to limited research on its safety. 


Ashwagandha is loaded with health-promising benefits. Research studies suggest that the intake of ashwagandha can boost both male and female fertility, reduce anxiety and stress, control blood sugar parameters, and lower blood pressure. Additionally, regular intake of ashwagandha can improve memory, attention, and cognitive performance. However, over-intake of ashwagandha can lead to health concerns like bloating, gas, constipation, etc. Hence, it’s best to consult a dietician before starting with ashwagandha supplementation.