We take a look at the common supplement ingredient Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha root extract comes from an evergreen shrub that is native to Asia and Africa, most commonly used for stress related disorders there's a reasonable amount of evidence to support it's use when tested against placebo groups with anxiety disorders.
The extract is being studied for a multitude of other uses, including as a testosterone booster, sleep quality and pretty much everything from rheumatoid arthritis through to immune system and cognitive impairment.
Ashwagandha does have quite a few health benefits, although some of the above listed are more hype than substance.
There are a lot of studies testing ashwagandha root extract in placebo controlled studies for its testosterone boosting effects, whilst even a couple of years ago it may not have seemed all too effective. However, with more research being done into traditional medicine it is starting to show that it's perhaps more effective than originally thought.
With double blind placebo controlled trials showing an 18% increase in testosterone levels  amongst participants.
Typically speaking ashwagandha makes it into most of the products on our best testosterone boosters list.
Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms and stress as mentioned in the introductory paragraph. In terms of reducing chronic stress ashwagandha root extract has also shown to be effective in small sample studies. It has also been shown to have some assistance in maintaining healthy sleep quality, which could explain it's effectiveness for stress as well as some of the testosterone level improvements.
Overall there is strong evidence to suggest it is effective at reducing anxiety, stress and improving sleep quality.
Ashwagandha is perhaps most well backed for it’s use in treating insomnia  having been shown in multiple trials to improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms in a good percentage of participants. It also has some studies that suggest it could potentially reduce anxiety, which could relate to improved sleep quality, however more evidence is needed to clear Ashwagandha extract for such uses.
Studies on ashwagandha suggest that it may be helpful for menopause symptoms. One study found that ashwagandha reduced hot flashes and urinary symptoms in menopausal women and increased estradiol and hormone levels. Another study showed that ashwagandha improved sexual function and quality of life in women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder. However, it is important to note that these studies had small sample sizes and more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of ashwagandha for menopause.
There has been some evidence to support Ashwagandha for chronic fatigue syndrome and due to its mild anti inflammatory properties for rheumatoid arthritis, although there is less research that currently supports this.
Ashwagandha may also lower blood pressure, this should be considered before combining Ashwagandha usage with other supplements or medications.
What Do You Need To Know About Ashwagandha?
Taking ashwagandha in too high doses will cause stomach upset, and in some very rare cases liver issues.
For sufferers of autoimmune conditions, ashwagandha is not recommended as it may stimulate the immune system increasing symptoms.
Do not take ashwagandha supplements with immunosuppressants. Ashwagandha increases immune activity.
Ashwagandha should not been taken in conjunction with Benzodiazepines as it can slow breathing.
Ashwagandha supplements increase thyroid activity as such it should not be used with thyroid medications.
Ashwagandha may lower blood pressure, as such should not be taken with blood pressure medication.
Sedative medications can also interact with ashwagandha as such it should not be taken with sedatives.
|1||Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study.||Ashwagandha has been found to have uses in reducing stress, improving sleep quality, managing anxiety, and maintaining testosterone levels.||This is the first study to offer insight into dose-response of a high concentration root extract and Ashwagandha root aqueous extract was beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety in stressed healthy adults.||Jaysing Salve, Sucheta Pate, Khokan Debnath, Deepak Langade||Journal Article||10.7759/CUREUS.6466||25/12/2019|
|2||An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract||Ashwagandha may have uses for reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, and potentially increasing testosterone levels.||In this article, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) extract is used to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing in healthy adults with self-reported high stress.||Adrian L. Lopresti, Stephen J. Smith, H. Malvi, R. Kodgule||01/01/2019|
|3||Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on Stress and the Stress- Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia.||Ashwagandha has been studied for its potential uses in reducing stress, anxiety, improving sleep, and as an adaptogen.||Withania somnifera (WS) extracts exhibited noteworthy anti-stress and anti-anxiety activity in animal and human studies, and improved symptoms of depression and insomnia as discussed by the authors.||Alex B Speers, Kadine A Cabey, Amala Soumyanath, Kirsten M. Wright||Journal Article||10.2174/1570159X19666210712151556||01/01/2021|
|4||Ashwagandha Modulates Stress, Sleep Dynamics, and Mental Clarity.||Ashwagandha has potential uses for stress management, sleep quality, and anxiety, but its effects on testosterone and oxidative stress are not mentioned in the provided information.||Zemel et al. as mentioned in this paper conducted a randomized controlled trial of the adaptogen ashwagandha, an herb with a long history of traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine, for effects on sleep hygiene, stress, and anxiety.||Michael B. Zemel, PhD||Journal Article||10.1089/jmf.2022.29009.editorial||01/12/2022|
|5||Does Ashwagandha supplementation have a beneficial effect on the management of anxiety and stress? A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials||Ashwagandha supplementation has been found to have a beneficial effect on reducing anxiety and stress levels.||In this paper , a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials of Ashwagandha supplements revealed a beneficial effect in both stress and anxiety in both 25 and 48 years.||Camellia Akhgarjand, Farzaneh Asoudeh, Amir Hooshang Bagheri, Zahra Kalantar, Zahra Vahabi, Sakineh Shab-Bidar, Hamid Rezvani, Kurosh Djafarian||Journal Article||10.1002/ptr.7598||25/08/2022|
|6||An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.||Ashwagandha has potential uses for reducing stress, anxiety, and oxidative stress, as well as improving sleep and increasing testosterone levels.||These findings suggest that ashwagandha's stress-relieving effects may occur via its moderating effect on the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, and further investigation utilizing larger sample sizes, diverse clinical and cultural populations, and varying treatment dosages are needed to substantiate these findings.||Adrian L. Lopresti, Stephen J. Smith, Hakeemudin Malvi, Rahul Kodgule||Journal Article||10.1097/MD.0000000000017186||01/09/2019|
|7||Effects of Four-Week Supplementation of Ashwagandha and B-Vitamins on Mood and Stress Relief||Ashwagandha may be used to reduce stress, improve sleep, and alleviate anxiety, but its effects on testosterone and oxidative stress are not mentioned in the study.||It is suggested that daily supplementation of ashwagandha and B-vitamins could be a plausible intervention for improved mood and stress levels in women and longer-term, placebo-controlled trials are needed to confirm these findings.||Sheau C. Chai, Irene Li, Carly R. Pacanowski, Benjamin Brewer||Journal Article||10.1093/CDN/NZAA057_011||01/06/2020|
|8||Phytochemicals targeting oxidative stress, interconnected neuroinflammatory and neuroapoptotic pathways following radiation.||Ashwagandha has been studied for its potential uses in reducing stress, anxiety, improving sleep, and targeting oxidative stress.||Withania somnifera (WS) extracts exhibited noteworthy anti-stress and anti-anxiety activity in animal and human studies and improved symptoms of depression and insomnia, though fewer studies investigated these applications.||Sajad Fakhri, Sana Piri, Seyed Zachariah Moradi, Haroon Khan||Journal Article||10.2174/1570159X19666210809103346||08/08/2021|
|9||Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (Ashwagandha): A comprehensive review on ethnopharmacology, pharmacotherapeutics, biomedicinal and toxicological aspects.||Ashwagandha has traditional uses for stress, sleep, anxiety, and oxidative stress. It may also have potential benefits for testosterone levels.||In this article, a comprehensive summary of the geographical distribution, traditional use, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities of W. somnifera and its active constituents are presented.||Subhabrata Paul, Shreya Chakraborty, Uttpal Anand, Swarnali Dey, Samapika Nandy, Mimosa Ghorai, Suchismita Chatterjee Saha, Manoj Patil, Ramesh Kandimalla, Jarosław Proćków, Abhijit Dey||Journal Article||10.1016/J.BIOPHA.2021.112175||27/09/2021|
|10||Neuromodulatory Role of Withania somnifera||Ashwagandha has been used for the treatment of stress, anxiety, and oxidative stress. It may also have potential benefits for testosterone levels and sleep.||W. somnifera can be incorporated as an important dietary supplement for management of anxiety and associated cognitive and functional impairments and its active phytochemicals alone or in combination as potential therapeutic agents.||Gurcharan Kaur, Taranjeet Kaur, Muskan Gupta, Shaffi Manchanda||Book Chapter||10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_20||01/01/2017|
|11||Supporting Adrenal Function with Adaptogenic Herbs||Ashwagandha has been used for stress, sleep, anxiety, and oxidative stress. It may also have a positive effect on testosterone levels.||Overall, adaptogenic herbs are safe and no known drug interactions exist with the exception of a few cases of accidental misidentification of the herb, and their broad range of beneficial effects supports their development as valuable agents for the treatment of a variety of conditions.||Jill Stansbury, Paul Saunders, David Winston||Journal Article||10.14200/JRM.2012.1.1007||01/09/2012|
|12||Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract on Cognitive Functions in Healthy, Stressed Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.||Ashwagandha has potential uses for reducing stress, improving sleep, and reducing anxiety, but its effects on testosterone and oxidative stress are unclear.||Ashwagandha root extract sustained-release capsule 300 mg (Prolanza) was used in this article for 90 consecutive days to improve cognitive functions, stress levels, sleep quality, overall well-being and safety in stressed subjects.||Kumarpillai Gopukumar, Shefali Thanawala, Venkateswarlu Somepalli, T. S. Sathyanaryana Rao, Vijaya Bhaskar Thamatam, Sanjaya Chauhan||Journal Article||10.1155/2021/8254344||30/11/2021|
1 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6979308/ - Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study
2 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30854916/ - A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha ( Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males
3 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/ - A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults
4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6827862/ - Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study
5- Cheah KL, Norhayati MN, Husniati Yaacob L, Abdul Rahman R. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One 2021;16(9):e0257843.