Ashwagandha is a popular herbal adaptogen from the Ayurvedic traditional medicine of India. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body respond to stress better, both physically and mentally. Ashwagandha is a common addition to beverages and is easily found in health food stores.
Many people who take Ashwagandha take it for its adaptogenic properties, but there are more benefits related to Ashwagandha that aren’t as well known.
Ashwagandha Boosts Mood
Ashwagandha can promote a healthy mood. It is partially understood that it boosts mood by increasing serotonin receptor signaling and may enhance signals also through GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for calming excitability in the nervous system. Low levels of GABA may cause an anxious mood.
Ashwagandha Can Enhance Cardiovascular Exercise Performance
Ashwagandha can benefit your workout in two ways. The first way it benefits your exercise routine is that in improves cardiorespiratory fitness. Ashwagandha supplementation increases the maximum oxygen co
nsumption (VO2) and strengthens muscles. The second way Ashwagandha works for exercise performance is by helping muscles recover after resistance training. Ashwagandha keeps the levels of creatine kinase (the serum indicator induced after exercise that is a marker of muscle damage after exercise) lower which means the muscle tissue repairs itself faster and recovers faster.
Ashwagandha Supports Sexual Health in Men and Women
There are also benefits for sexual health in men and women who take Ashwagandha.
In men, Ashwagandha can improve sperm count and increase testosterone. Supplementing with Ashwagandha also increased the blood serum levels of luteinizing hormone which is an important component of sperm production.
In women, Ashwagandha improves sexual desire and improves self-reported markers on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Women have improved in areas of desire, arousal, and orgasm. The current belief is that Ashwagandha relieves stress which improves women’s FSFI, and it also increases testosterone. Changes in testosterone can have an effect on sexual health. Some women who have sexual dysfunction have androgen deficiency syndrome, and they may see positive benefits from supplementing with Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb which has many modern-day applications. It is a simple solution to many ailments. Ashwagandha’s main constituents are called withanolides, and it is important to make sure that you are taking a supplement with a standardized amount of the withanolides. Purchasing a standardized extract of the Ashwagandha root is the best way to ensure that you are getting as many of the active ingredients as possible.