What are the health benefits of ashwagandha?

Published 23 Jul 2023 • By Candice Salomé

Little known in Europe, ashwagandha is a plant with a lot of health benefits. Native to India, it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

So what are the health benefits of ashwagandha? How should it be taken? What are the contraindications?

We tell you all about it in our article!

What are the health benefits of ashwagandha?

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family, whose scientific name is Withania somnifera. It is native to India, where it goes by many names, including "Indian ginseng" and "winter cherry".


Source: Wikipedia 

Ashwagandha is highly valued in Ayurvedic medicine (traditional Indian medicine) for its many health benefits.

Ashwagandha contains flavonoids, which are very powerful natural antioxidants. It also contains phenolic acids and fatty acids, alkaloids, catechins, steroidal lactones and kaempferol. Thanks to all these active ingredients, ashwagandha is one of the most powerful plants in the world

What are the health benefits of ashwagandha? 

Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in many Ayurvedic remedies.

Ashwagandha is one of the so-called adaptogenic plants. In other words, it helps the body adapt to stress. Recent studies have shown that the modes of action of these plants belong to a category of substances in their own right, in the same way as vitamins or antioxidants. This term has been validated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ashwagandha is now attracting widespread interest for its many health benefits.

Ashwagandha has neuroprotective effects

The components of ashwagandha include sitoindosides and withanolides, which are known to promote the production of antioxidant enzymes in the cerebral cortex. The role of these enzymes in the cerebral cortex is to reduce the effects of oxidative stress on the brain, thereby preserving the neurons.

What's more, these enzymes also play a preventive role against the appearance of lesions in the cerebral system. As a result, ashwagandha is capable of improving cognitive capacity when taken regularly. 

Ashwagandha reduces stress and anxiety

Ashwagandha can be used by anxiety sufferers. It acts on nerve impulses and regulates the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which are involved in the anxiety process. Ashwagandha is said to increase the feelings of calm and serenity.

Ashwagandha promotes good-quality sleep

By acting on stress and psychological well-being, ashwagandha also helps to improve sleep. In fact, thanks to its sleep-inducing properties and L-tryptophan content, it prevents you from waking up in the middle of the night and from having insomnia. Thanks to its ability to reduce cortisol levels in the body, ashwagandha helps you avoid fragmented sleep and increase REM sleep.

Ashwagandha has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties 

Ashwagandha helps to prevent and combat joint diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis. It helps reduce inflammatory pain.

What's more, thanks to its antioxidant properties, ashwagandha helps to eliminate free radicals in the body, thereby fighting cell ageing.

Ashwagandha can have an impact on sexuality and libido

If you are experiencing problems with libido or erectile dysfunction, ashwagandha will help you to quickly restore your physical energy and your sexual functions. For women, this plant helps to strengthen the reproductive and hormonal systems.

How can you use ashwagandha?

In Ayurvedic medicine, it is advisable to consume between 3 and 5 grams of ashwagandha powder per day in the beginning of a course of treatment.

A preventive course of ashwagandha lasts between 30 and 40 days, followed by a 10-day break before repeating the course if necessary. Be careful, however, not to take more than 4 cures a year. The active course is taken continuously for 3 months. 

It is advisable to start by taking small doses of ashwagandha and then gradually increase the dosage to a maximum of 10 grams a day.

Ashwagandha can be taken as a powder, root, capsule or tablet.

Are there any contraindications to using ashwagandha?

In some cases, ashwagandha can cause side effects. In high doses, it can cause intestinal problems such as diarrhoea or constipation.

High doses of ashwagandha can also have a hypnotic effect, so it is important to follow the recommended doses: start with low doses and then increase them over the weeks.

It is advisable to take ashwagandha in the evening, as high doses can have a sedative effect.

However, at low doses, ashwagandha presents no danger.

Ashwagandha is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women, as well as for people with intestinal problems, hyperthyroidism or haemochromatosis.

Finally, people taking antidepressants should seek their doctor's advice before starting a course of ashwagandha.

In all cases, talk to your doctor before starting ashwagandha or any other treatment.

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avatar Candice Salomé

Author: Candice Salomé, Health Writer

Candice is a content creator at Carenity and specialises in writing health articles. She has a particular interest in the fields of women's health, well-being and sport. 

Candice holds a master's degree in... >> Learn more

1 comment

lesmal • Ambassador
on 28/07/2023

Regret, I am an allergy sufferer and plants are a no no for me! Thank you for an interesting article.

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