The Science-Backed Benefits of Ashwagandha

Here is another favorite supplement I take every day. It is also safe for your dog and cat.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The root and berries of the plant are used to make medicine. Ashwagandha is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” because of its traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine.

WS’s worldwide usage has increased because it is known to be an adaptogen. Researchers have looked into its biological effects more closely and think that it could potentially help with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldestmedical systems and focuses on using natural herbs to prevent and treat illness. Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 3000 years for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, stress, insomnia, and memory loss.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety* (1)

Ashwagandha has been shown to be an effective treatment for both stress and anxiety. In one study, subjects who took an ashwagandha supplement for 60 days reported a significant reduction in stress and anxiety levels compared to those who did not take the supplement. Another study found that ashwagandha was just as effective as the popular anti-anxiety medication lorazepam (Ativan) in reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Other studies have shown that ashwagandha can help to reduce stress and anxiety by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol ). Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. It plays an important role in the body, but high levels of cortisol can lead to negative health effects such as weight gain, sleep problems, and depression.

Improves Cognitive Function* (2)

Several studies have shown that ashwagandha can improve cognitive function and memory. One study found that subjects who took an ashwagandha supplement for eight weeks had significantly better working memory and improved reaction times compared to those who did not take the supplement (2) Another study found that ashwagandha supplementation improved task performance in a group of healthy adults.

Enhance cardiorespiratory endurance* (3)

Fifty healthy athletic adults were selected randomly and equally allocated to Ashwagandha and placebo groups. At the end of the study, a statistically significant improvement in VO2 max outcome was observed in the Ashwagandha group when compared to the placebo group.

The current study found that ashwagandha root extract may improve cardiorespiratory endurance and enhance the quality of life in healthy athletes. No adverse events were reported by any of the participants in this research. (3)

Boosts Testosterone Levels and fertility in Men* (4)

Ashwagandha has also been shown to be effective in boosting testosterone levels and improving fertility in men. One study found that subjects who took an ashwagandha supplement for three months had significantly higher levels of testosterone compared to those who did not take the supplement. Another study found that ashwagandha improved semen quality and increased fertility in infertile men. Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in male reproduction and also has several other benefits, such as bone and muscle health.

Sexual performance study in men (5)

In this study that lasted 8 weeks, we randomized the participants, gave some a placebo, and double-blinded the entire process to investigate if an ashwagandha root extract had any aphrodisiac properties in adult males. 50 participants with decreased sexual desire were given 300 mg ashwagandha root extract or a placebo capsule twice each day.

Ashwagandha was found to have a significant subjective sense of sexual well-being and helped to improve serum testosterone levels in the participants.

ashwagandha root with black pepper

This is the product I take and also give to my pets.

What I like about this is that it contains black pepper, which helps with much better absorption of the ashwagandha. 

 

 

Other benefits reported in preclinical studies (6)*

Withania somnifera contains a wide range of phytochemicals, which allow it to have numerous biological applications.

  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-tumor
  • Anti-stress
  • Neuroprotective
  • Cardioprotective
  • Anti-diabetic properties
  • Reduce reactive oxygen species
  • Modulate mitochondrial function
  • Regulate apoptosis
  • Reduce inflammation and enhance endothelial function

Given these pharmacologic properties, W. somnifera is a potential drug candidate to treat various clinical conditions, particularly related to the nervous system. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many well-established benefits of ashwagandha supplementation. If you are looking for a natural way to reduce stress, anxiety, or improve cognitive function,ashwagandha may be worth trying.

I believe our dogs and cats can benefit from Ashwagandha fro the same reasons it benefits humans.

Ashwagandha is available in both capsule and powder form at most health food stores. You can find it in our store here:

*The statements above have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical condition, please consult your healthcare provider. 

Citations

  1. Speers AB, Cabey KA, Soumyanath A, Wright KM. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on Stress and the Stress- Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2021;19(9):1468-1495. doi: 10.2174/1570159X19666210712151556. PMID: 34254920; PMCID: PMC8762185. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28471731/
  2. Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Bose S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. J Diet Suppl. 2017 Nov 2;14(6):599-612. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1284970. Epub 2017 Feb 21. PMID: 28471731. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28471731/
  3. Tiwari S, Gupta SK, Pathak AK. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera dunal.) root extract in improving cardiorespiratory endurance and recovery in healthy athletic adults. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 May 23;272:113929. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.113929. Epub 2021 Feb 15. PMID: 33600918. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33600918/
  4. Santos HO, Cadegiani FA, Forbes SC. Nonpharmacological Interventions for the Management of Testosterone and Sperm Parameters: A Scoping Review. Clin Ther. 2022 Aug;44(8):1129-1149. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2022.06.006. Epub 2022 Jul 7. PMID: 35810031. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35810031/
  5. Chauhan S, Srivastava MK, Pathak AK. Effect of standardized root extract of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on well-being and sexual performance in adult males: A randomized controlled trial. Health Sci Rep. 2022 Jul 20;5(4):e741. doi: 10.1002/hsr2.741. PMID: 35873404; PMCID: PMC9297375. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35873404/
  6. Dar NJ, Hamid A, Ahmad M. Pharmacologic overview of Withania somnifera, the Indian Ginseng. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2015 Dec;72(23):4445-60. doi: 10.1007/s00018-015-2012-1. Epub 2015 Aug 26. PMID: 26306935. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26306935/
Thomas Sandberg CSAN, CCNC, AADP

Thomas Sandberg CSAN, CCNC, AADP

Thomas Sandberg is a board certified animal naturopath and the founder of Long Living Pets Research Projects, a 30-year observational study into raw-fed dogs and cats. Thomas also consults in animal naturopathy, including the prevention of chronic diseases and longevity using all-natural modalities. With more than 20 years of experience with hundreds of cancer cases, he has a deep understanding of why so many dogs and cats get cancer today and how we can lower the risk significantly.

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