Ashwagandha (Scientific name: Withania somnifera), is an herb whose roots and berry are used for medicinal purposes. This herb is commonly known as Indian ginseng and Indian winter cherry. In Sanskrit, ‘Ashva’ refers to ‘horse-like’ and ‘gandha’ means ‘stinking or smell’. Thus, the name of this herb depicts the fact that Ashwagandha roots have strong aroma.

Ashwagandha is used as fine powder- churna. Also, its fresh leaves can be used for preparing ointments and herbal blends. This herb consists of natural substances which boost brain functioning and memory. It is also effective to promote reproductive balance and health. Ashwagandha serve as effective adaptogen- a substance or tonic which enhances the body’s resilience to relieve emotional stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is recently been to spotlight due to its potential benefits as anti-tumor and anticancer herb for major cancers including ovarian cancer, breast cancer and others. Various scientific studies are underway to test and unearth the effectiveness of this ayurvedic herb.

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So, here in this article, we have enlisted some of amazing health benefits of Ashwagandha and what research says!!

Ashwagandha Supports Immune System Functioning

It’s well known that psychological stress and anxiety adversely impacts the normal body functioning including the immune system. Thus, Ashwagandha being effective tonic for relieving stress may also be effective for immune system.

Interestingly, Ashwagandha is even more effective as it directly stimulates the immune system as well. Studies affirm that this herb stimulates white blood cells (lymphocytes), platelets and macrophages. Moreover, it boosts up hemoglobin levels in red blood cells for better oxygenation and blood circulation.

In mice model, Ashwagandha extract was found to be effective to restore and boost up phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is the process of immune system by which it destroys infectious agents in body. In addition, Ashwagandha extract stimulate production of two important cytokines. Cytokines are the substances which are naturally produced in body. Cytokines such as interferon-gamma as well as interleukin-2 (IL-2) have significant role in immune functioning. [1]

Effective To Relieve Joint Inflammation And Arthritis

Being enriched with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, Ashwagandha is effective herbal remedy to relive joint pains, inflammation and arthritis.  Several studies support these anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha. In vitro trails demonstrate that Ashwagandha extract inhibits the inflammatory enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) by a whopping 65%. Consequently,   it relieves joint inflammation and related health issues. [2]

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Effective For Reducing Blood Sugar Level

Limited evidences are available which affirm that Ashwagandha can be effective for lowering the blood glucose levels through its impact on insulin secretion and cellular sensitivity.

In a 4-week study, subjects with schizophrenia were treated with Ashwagandha. The results revealed an average reduction in fasting blood sugar levels of 13.5 mg/dL in those who used Ashwagandha. The placebo groups had 4.5 mg/dL reduction in blood sugar level.

Another study affirms that roosts of ashwagnadha can serve as potential source of hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypo-cholesterolemic agents. This suggests that using Ashwagandha can reduce blood sugar levels, increase urine volume and significantly decrease the serum cholesterol respectively. [3]

Ashwagandha Can Support Sexual Function And Fertility

In addition to improving the overall body strength, Ashwagandha can positive effects on sexual performance, and fertility. This effectiveness attributes to antioxidant effects of this herb. Furthermore, using Ashwagandha can boost testosterone levels in male and enhances fertility. Not only men but women also have effectiveness Indian ginseng for improving sexual function and fertility.

In a randomized, placebo-controlled trail, undertaking subjects of men aged 18-50 years, the effectiveness of Ashwagandha was assessed. The subjects who took 300mg of ashwagandha root extract on regular basis, had better boost up in testosterone production, compared to placebo. Additionally, subjects had significant improvements in muscle size and strength, lesser exercise-induced cell damage and enhanced body fat percentage. [4]

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Ashwagandha Might Have Anticancer Properties

Various herbs and plants naturally possess anti-cancerous properties. Similarly, Ashwagandha is potentially one of these. Reactive oxygen species are produced as part of normal cellular metabolic byproducts. These Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) damage the cells. Antioxidants in medicinal plants and herbs such as Ashwagandha can reduce the reactive oxygen species in cells. Thus, medicinal plants and herbs such as Ashwagandha may have anticancer properties.

The anticancer potential of Ashwagandha attributes to its bioactive compound- withaferin. Withaferin in Ashwagandha is effective to induce apoptosis- the predetermined and programmed cell death. Besides, it impedes the formation of cancerous tumors by various mechanisms.

Interestingly, withaferin first promotes the development of reactive oxygen species (ROS) but inside cancer cells only. This disrupts the rapid growth of cancerous cells and as their function is disrupted.  Lab experiments on animals suggest that Ashwagandha can potentially treat quite a few types of cancer, including leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer, colon as well as ovarian cancer.

Another similar study revealed that treating cancerous tumors in mice with a combination of anticancer drugs and withafarine, reduces the tumor growth as much as 70–80% reduction in tumor growth. It also prevents the rapid spreading of cancerous tumor. However, a little research has been done on humans in this regard and this needs further research. [4]


Ashwagandha is a vital ayurvedic herb with plentiful health benefits. Using Ashwagandha rejuvenates and strengthens the body both at physical as well as mental level. Various studies affirm the effectiveness of Ashwagandha for healthy body and mind. However, further studies are required in this regard and to find out more of remedial potentials of this ayurvedic tonic. Ayurveda or the ayurvedic system does not refute the modern therapeutic. However, the belief is that a maintaining a delicate balance of body energies and using certain traditional herbs can effectively prevent and aid in treatment of disease by strengthening the body.

References To Research Articles


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